The UK-based Bisexual Index has been claiming for a while that bisexuality doesn't insist there's only 2 genders.
I'm really, truly sorry to have to do this, as I truly like the group, and I think they're doing great work, and, frankly, and I'm glad that Britain has a seemingly greater bisexual movement than what I've seen in North America, but I call bullshit.
Until the prefix "bi" no longer means 2, the word "bisexual" still implies there's only 2 genders, regardless of individual knowledge. Notice I said the WORD "bisexual". This doesn't mean that every bisexual person (by identity or behavior) is transphobic or trans-unaware. This doesn't mean the bisexual movement as a whole is transphobic. And, frankly, stating this fact about the word itself is NOT biphobia. (As you all know, "bisexual" has been a part of my identity for years, I've bemoaned bisexual invisibility in the GLBT community at large, and I've proudly flown our colors and marched under them on many occasions.) But you simply can't deny that the word itself does, indeed, imply the number 2. And until bisexual organizations stop trying to deny this fact, they've lost a degree of respect in my eyes.
I think the best way to approach this isn't to say that "bisexual doesn't imply 2", but rather to say, "This word started at a time when our knowledge and understanding of gender wasn't where it was today. The prefix 'bi' implies 2, because at the time we (that is, the bisexual movement) adopted this word, we thought there were only men and women. Nowadays, we know that gender is far more complex than that, and many, perhaps even most, people who identify as bisexual aren't truly BIsexual, but rather are non-monosexual... that is, they love and/or are attracted to more than one gender. These people may also identify with the word pansexual, omnisexual, multisexual, or a number of other words. We keep the word "bisexual" for a number of reasons, including the gains we've made under this word historically & the movement we've created therein, but wish to make it known that we recognize and celebrate the breadth and diversity of gender as we know it today."
(On an aside, if you're reading this on LiveJournal and you'd like to comment, PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT ON LIVEJOURNAL. I'm trying to phase that journal out. Come over to my Dreamwidth entry on it, sign in using your LiveJournal credentials [using OpenID], and comment there. Thank you!)
EDIT: Thinking about this more, I'm realizing that the word actually doesn't imply there are 2 genders, but rather states that the person is sexual for 2 genders. It doesn't say WHICH 2... it could be any of them. Hmm...
This entry was originally posted at http://c4bl3fl4m3.dreamwidth.org/6085.html. Please comment there using OpenID.