If there is anything the dominant culture likes, it is putting people into static categories based on their gender or sexual preferences. Even as the larger population has grown more comfortable with the idea that people exist that are attracted to their own gender, there is still a lot of pushback against those who attempt to break out of the binary of desire. In this context, Kate Leth’s “Bisexuality Comics” series is a much-needed primer. In the first comic Leth covers the basics of bisexuality and discusses the confusion it elicits from people who are new to the concept. In this second installment, she discusses the different reactions male and female bisexuals receive.
(Of course, just because Katy Perry married a dude doesn’t mean she isn’t bi, but you can still see where Leth is going with this “bizarrely trendy” idea.)
The first panel of the third row is by far my favorite, contrasting the dominant culture’s reaction to two forms of sexual attraction. From private conversations I’ve had with gay men in the past I know that some of them believe that this is evidence that same sex attraction is easier for women than men, but both reactions are harmful and disgusting. In the second, the sight or idea of two men being affectionate (or even sitting “unnaturally close to each other, effeminately rubbing elbows and exchanging doe-eyes”) makes the viewer repulsed, angry, uncomfortable, or violent and leads to immediate policing by word or action. But in the first, a personal act of affection is being extruded through another person’s fetish and commodified for that person’s pleasure and consumption. Having a narrative forced onto your love life isn’t fun or easy for anyone. Additionally, the same man declaring two women kissing is hot can become violent very quickly if his advances are met with anything less than enthusiasm.
In the latest installation Leth discusses the misconception that bisexuals cannot or do not enter into monogamous relationships and she does so without erasing polyamorous bisexuals or those in open relationships. I’m hoping the series continues, and I hope it educates a lot of people about what bisexuality is and isn’t.