It’s Bi Visibility/ Celebration Day.

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not.

A selfie of a smiling white-skinned woman with brown hair and glasses. She is wearing silver headphones, purple earrings, a grey jumper and purple scarf. A pink, purple and blue rainbow is painted on her face, from the middle of her forehead down to her left cheek. She is wearing a badge in the shape of a piece of cake with the bi flag colours (pink, purple, blue) on it.
At the “Big Bi Bonanza” event last year

I’ve mentioned it off-hand a few times since last year, but I wanted to take the chance today to properly come out and explore it a little.

I’m bi. Usually this is short for bisexual, or bi-romantic. I like to use the shorthand rather than either of the longer terms. I feel that describes me best, given the way I understand and experience the different types of attraction.

The definition of bi(sexuality) that I like to use comes from the Melbourne Bisexual Network: “Bisexuality is romantic or sexual attraction to the gender the same as your own, and to other genders. Some people use it to mean attraction to two or more genders. It is not attraction to only men and women. The understanding of ‘bisexual’ as being supportive of gender binary is one that is from outside the bisexual community.”

I’ve highlighted the part of the definition that I usually like to use, as it sounds less clunky to me than the first sentence. Both of these definitions are true. In a plural form, “bisexualities” or “bi plus” it can also be used as an umbrella term for various types of multi-gender attraction (e.g. pansexual, polysexual), though each of those exist in their own right too.

Let’s bust some myths, shall we?

  • Bisexuality does not equal promiscuous.
  • Bisexuality does not mean “more likely to cheat”.
  • Bisexuality does not mean “confused”.
  • Bisexuality is not “a phase”.
  • A person does not need to have had relationships with more than one gender to call themselves bisexual.
  • A person does not stop being bisexual if they’re in a so-called “opposite sex” relationship.
  • A person coming out as bisexual is not jumping on a trend.

All being bi means is the definition above – being attracted to two or more/ your own and other genders. I am bi. I have only had relationships with (cis) men, though I have kissed a couple of women and gender diverse people outside of that. Even if I hadn’t, I would still be bi. I’ve also been in the same relationship, with a cis man, for the past four years, and we are very happy together. I hope it continues for good. This (again) does not negate my bisexuality, and the very idea that some would think my sexuality means I’m more likely to cheat on him is offensive to me.

But, how do I know I’m bi? Well, firstly, that’s a very intrusive question – please don’t ask it. Only exception being is if you’re extremely close with the person and they’re inviting questions. It should never be used as a “gotcha” or an “I know better than you” moment.

In the spirit of the day, I’ll answer. I know I’m bi because I find particular women, men and gender diverse people attractive, and I’ve enjoyed kissing people of all genders. It’s that simple.

I did not decide to identify as bi on a whim, but after a lot of questioning. Being bi is the best descriptor that fits me. I know my own identity.

Happy bi visibility/ celebration day!

A photo of a white woman standing under a marquee. Her brown hair is pulled into pigtails, she's wearing blue earrings and blue brooch on a white jumper and purple skirt. She is smiling and holding a bi flag - of pink, purple and blue horizontal stripes.
At my first Bi Pride event a few years ago.

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

Expect to see a lot of these coming up. I’ve finally attached myself to the local library in my new area (only took me eight months haha whoops) so I now have access to books. Including many on hold that I’m picking up, right after I write this post (the book’s due back today).

When Breath Becomes Air is a beautiful bittersweet book. It is a biography of Paul Kalanithi. On the cusp of graduating to being a neurosurgeon, he was diagnosed with cancer. It had already metastasized. Yet he wasn’t done living yet – he had a wife and they’d been making future plans. So he has to decide how to live, in the amount of time he has left.

It shows how he does this by going back to the beginning, from his childhood, through early university and his attempts at discerning what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go – ultimately, who he wanted to be.

The book is very interesting on one level because Dr Kalanithi shared an interest of mine: neurology and how the happenings within the nervous system (especially the brain) affect people. After all, he was a neurosurgeon. I recognise the terminology and the sense of stories.

The prose in the book is brilliant. Dr Kalanithi’s way of describing situations makes them crystal clear and also gives them the right sort of grace and gravity. For example:

“When there’s no place for the scalpel, words are the surgeon’s only tool.” (p.87)

“I had met her in a space where she was a person, instead of a problem to be solved.” (p.90)

“Being with patients in these moments certainly had its emotional cost, but it also had its rewards.” (p.97, emphasis in-text)

“If the weight of mortality does not grow lighter, does it at least get more familiar?” (p.138)

“Doctors, it turns out, need hope, too.” (p.194)

He talks about humanity and how it’s revealed in different forms. Death and life and illness. The book is, at its heart, an examination of relationship. The details of people, at the crossroads of what was and what will be. It is also about identity – losing what used to be yourself and having to find and create a new sense of it.

My favourite prose in the book is the last paragraph Dr Kalanithi wrote. It is a marvellous book, despite and because of its subject matter. I’m glad I read it.


WT&TT: Jo Talks Books: Should There Be Sex Scenes in YA? (reblogged)

Interesting. I’d agree – the key is balance. It shouldn’t be avoided but neither should it be unnecessarily pushed. As the comments discuss, I think an important theme surrounding sex in YA (and all fiction) should be consent, even more than the question of sex scenes. Teens should feel able to explore their own sexualities, relationships and identities in a comfortable manner. They should also be able to talk about these things with adults in a non-judgemental way. I’d love it if more YA explored those things.

Some authors do tackle these topics – for example, Tamora Pierce. Check her out.

THey everyone! I hope you’ve been having a good week, mine has been relatively quiet, just settling back into Uni for my Spring Semester, enjoying the calm before the inevitable storm of assig…

Source: Jo Talks Books: Should There Be Sex Scenes in YA?

Always Was, Always Will Be

Today is a day of celebration officially for many in Australia. But for many others, the First Nations peoples of Australia, it is a day of mourning. It is Invasion Day or Survival Day.

There are many reasons to celebrate Australia and many things to defend about Australia. Buttoday is the wrong date to do so, because by celebrating today we discount the experiences of First Nations’ peoples.

See here for a map of Australian First Nations’ language/cultural groupings.

Below is a statement I adapted from a website which is encouraging people to use their social media to support First Nations’ peoples on this day. (I couldn’t post it to Facebook through their link because my additions made it longer than 420 characters.)

Today, on January 26th, I acknowledge the Aboriginal peoples who are the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which I live and study, the Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri peoples. I pay my respects to their elders past, present and future, and acknowledge Aboriginal peoples are hurting and mourning on this day. I also acknowledge that Aboriginal peoples have a strong spirit of survival, having survived for over 60,000 years. Their sovereignty has never been ceded. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

Add your acknowledgements here: