Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Long Bi Bye?

by Craig Burke

I am less about labels than most anyone I know. Now that is not necessarily such a noble thing – it might just be that I am that simplistic, but at any rate I try not to compartmentalize people. I attempt to not think of one as my black friend, or my lesbian friend or my tall, skinny friend but rather as just a friend. But with that said, I admit that when it comes to the issue of sexual orientation, I am bisexual. Now while one might consider me to be a bisexual, I consider myself to be a person attracted to given males and/or females.

The quibble over definitions notwithstanding, proclaiming to either be bisexual, or to be bisexually oriented often does present problems. In the 'heterosexual world' (there's one of those nasty ole labels there) at worst a bisexual is thought of as being perverted, an abomination, and all the other things certain religious evangelicals reserve for those different than themselves, and at best the bisexual is thought of as someone whom is experimenting, attempting to decide what to be when 'grown up'. (By the way 'grown up' is a concept which may be beyond my grasp.) Meanwhile in the 'gay world' (sounds like a wonderful section of an enlightened Disney theme park) those of us who will admit to being bisexually oriented are often looked on with just as much scorn as being someone who is either afraid or ashamed to commit all the way and admit they are truly gay.

Being a fan of irony, I find it fascinating that some of those gays who for so long in our history have been the target of prejudice and misconception would turn around and apply the same judgments and convoluted reasoning to the bisexuals as had been applied to them for so many years. I can't tell you how many times I have heard a gay person state in some form or other that the true bisexual does not even exist! (This while they look you in the eye.) Apparently a bisexual is just afraid somehow (in this day and age of some enlightenment?) to admit to being gay. Maybe some gays are frustrated that they can not 'out' bisexuals as bisexuals are already half out anyway. But is a gay person telling a bisexual that they do not truly know what they think or feel any different than a heterosexual person telling a gay they are not really gay – they just merely haven't learned yet to deal with an individual of another gender.

And perhaps bisexuals are thought to be obtuse and therefore not able to make a choice as we (there I go identifying myself with a label again) are often thought to be shallow. How many times have I heard, “How can a bisexual ever be trusted?” Now I am giving the benefit of a doubt and assuming that means in the context of a relationship and not just a general concept that bisexuals are not to be trusted in any area or endeavor. Lots of heterosexuals cheat in a relationship and lots of gays cheat in a relationship, and yes, lots of bisexuals do as well, but to state that bisexuals are somehow more likely to be unfaithful is patently ridiculous. Some state that if a bisexual man (for example) is in a relationship with a woman he is going to be 'tempted' by attractive men. Well yes and he can as equally be 'tempted' by attractive women can't he? Some will go on to state that that is precisely the point – that a bisexual has the whole playing field by which to be 'enticed'. While this is true, it only takes one enticement or temptation for a straight, gay or bisexual to be unfaithful.

Which brings me to the point of being (admittedly) bisexual and (allegedly) a writer. So am I a bisexual writer? Well in the sense that I have just stated that I am both it does, but it most surely does not identify me as a writer of bisexual fiction (however see below). There are countless labels that can be placed on me. For example, I am male, tall and skinny, blond, and Scots-Irish to name a few. So should I be known as 'that writer who writes masculine, tall and skinny, blond Scots-Irish books?' I think not! I am a writer who writes about people, plain and simple. Some of them are straight and some of them are gay and some of them are even (horrors!) bisexual.

However, this all does bring me to the point that there is a dearth of good, positive bisexual fiction. I believe there is a market for fiction portraying bisexual characters and that that market has a lot of growth potential. I am excited and humbled that I have been asked by the very far-sighted and broad-minded publisher of Loveyoudivine Alterotica to help create and to anchor a bisexual line called The Best of Both Worlds. I am currently busy writing what is planned as the first of a trilogy of westerns set in the 1880s in the Texas panhandle. This trilogy will be the saga of three characters – a beautiful young woman who inherits a ranch when her brother is murdered, an older sheriff who is intent on seing justice done and a very young cowboy who is there for both of them. The first novel is tentatively titled Palo Duro, (which is Spanish for hard stick, which was used to describe the mesquite trees that were plentiful). While the tone of it will be appropriately 'hot' it is definitely story driven, dealing not only with all the standard western plot lines of good versus evil, but also dealing with the complications of three people whom all genuinely come to care deeply for one another and how their choices can be difficult and can carry long term consequences. While it may not be a happily-ever-after story it is nevertheless about people caring and finding what happiness they can – in other words kind of like real life. 


Jaime Samms said...

Thank you. I sympathise with your ambivalence toward labels. But how to define yourself in a world that depends on them? I also happen to have an attraction to both genders, even though I happen to be married to a wonderful man who is the father of my kids (another rarity, these days, I know), and a writer of stories about people who fall in love with each other regardless of gender. I'm excited to hear about this line from loveyoudevine, and congrats on inaugurating it. I look forward to seeing more stories where the relationship is more important than the gender of the people in it. Kinda hope one day I'll be considered good enough to be invited to write one for loveyoudevine myself. In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes open for your stories and be happy I'm not the only one who wants to see some positive representation.


Jeanne said...

Hi Craig,
I definitely agree with what you said.
It's funny how a person finds out about different "labels".
I'm a Tyrone Power fan; have been for a very long time and found out quite a while back that he was bisexual in an era when to be "different" in Hollywood could kill your career. It was one of those non-secrets, but becaue of his personality - everyone who knew him, not only in a biblical sense :~D - loved him.
In "A Perfect Symmetry", my upcoming sequel to a novel with Liquid Silver Books, two of my characters are bisexual. The title refers to menages in the story - two perfect, one imperfect. Casey and Mach, who are bisexual, are in one of the perfect menages.
Mach guides Casey into facing his duality in his nature.
Being an "old lady", I've known many different people of all genders, races, religions, etc.
People are people. That's why G-d created a rainbow.
Best of luck with your work. The stories sound fascinating!

Adriana said...

Wonderful blog, I just now found it after reading AJ's above. I'm thrilled LYD is starting a Bi line, and congratulations to you for inaugurating it! I write erotic romance with mostly Bi heroines and often happy endings with more than two characters in a committed relationship. I'll keep an eager eye out for the LYD releases!