Coming into an all day Bi+ Institute, where seconds before people in the room had been talking about how the Bi+ community, how the terms, bi,bisexual, and biromantic had at times ‘’saved their’’ lives, and then raising your hand to state that you feel that those very labels, should be abolished in favour of a different term, like pansexual is violence.
At the time I personally was too gobsmacked say anything. I personally take this moment, this utterance, as the trigger that sent me into a dissociative episode that lasted not just the whole rest of the day, but had extreme mental health consequences weeks afterwards.
I felt hurt, so much pain and hurt. I’ll never forget the looks on people’s faces. The sheer pain. But also the sheer, unbridled rage. I at the time failed everyone miserably in not calling that statement out for what it was as a presenter/moderator. Thankfully a few participants had the clear sight and courage I lacked and called out the perpetrator, educated them and did what needed done. For these people I am ever grateful and can only hope to someday have even 1/10th of the courage, clear headedness and awesome.
I failed as a leader then. But I need to grow from it and those people’s amazing example so I’m doing this now.
What happened was absolutely NOT ok. A cis pansexual called for an end to the use of the terms bi, bisexual, and biromantic. Entering into a group’s safe space, waiting for people to be vulnerable and then telling them, essentially that what kept them alive, what gave them hope, community and power is in fact wrong, backwards, transphobic, and must be done away with/destroyed for the betterment of the “movement “ is absolutely unacceptable and a violent, cruel and callous act.
If you do not like a label, fine don’t use it. Don’t want your precious “pure” label associated with us “nasty dirty etc” bi’s? Fine, go talk to the task force and get your own day long pansexual purity institute set up and you can all clap yourselves on the back about how great you are to not be bisexual.
Do not come into bi spaces, use our scarce resources (time, air, emotional labor, physical labor, stickers and colouring books) and then call for the destruction of the label, the community that created that space that you are consuming. I don’t care how enlightened and better you think your alternative label is, especially if you are a cis person telling us bi is transphobic and how important trans issues are to you.
CIS PEOPLE NEVER EVER GET TO DECIDE WHAT IS AND ISN’T TRANSPHOBIC.
Doing so was an act of violence, transphobia, cissexism and silencing the trans people in that room.
I now need to address the overarching pansexual movement, because honestly, I’ve encountered this the most from pansexuals. If you identify as anything else, including polysexual, gay or even bi and feel this type of behaviour is ok I’m talking to you too:
Educate yourselves. Read this. Now re read this: ‘’If you do not want to be a part of bi spaces, community, activism, institutes and workshops fine. Get the heck out. Go make your own. Stop traumatising us, using us and abusing us because you don’t have enough fortitude, credentials, experience, or just plain old god damned guts to go on your own and attempt to build up your own independent movement.’’
Stop trying to tear ours down so you can use the rubble to build yours. Do not stand on our corpses and shout about your doctrinal, ideological and label purity.
Burn that into your brain. Send it to your friends. Write it on the mirror so you see it every morning. Set it as your background if you need too.
Aud Traher is a Bisexual-Trans Activist, local LGBT organizer, blogger, local craftperson and board member of BiNet USA living in working in a rural community in Western Central Pennsylvania.