Bisexual people are still too rarely mentioned.. so I'm not going to?

According to Dazed, Shon Faye is a writer, presenter and comedian who describes herself as "a modern career transsexual" who mostly writes "for attention". Today, she's got a piece in the Guardian and my attention was drawn to the link to it on their front page:

Guardian story: 'Divisions among trans people, gay men and lesbians..'

"The Big Brother house – an unlikely source for an LGBT history lesson: Divisions among trans people, gay men and lesbians have been exposed by the TV show, says the writer and standup Shon Faye".

Hmm, can you spot what's missing from that?

And that erasure is continued when you click through to the actual story:

Guardian story: more text, still no 'bisexual'

Another sentence was added to the subheading: "But ultimately far more unites us than sets us apart".. but there's still no room for the b-word.

The article starts by asking "Who could have predicted that in 2018 it would be Celebrity Big Brother that opened up the national conversation on gender and sexual politics?"

The obvious answer to that is 'anyone who remembers that the fucking waste of electrons that is Celebrity (sic) Big Brother was last in the news for Christopher Biggins' biphobia back in the mists of 2016'.

As well as bi media like Bi Community News and Biscuit, that got coverage – using the word 'biphobia' – in places like the Sun, the Express, and the Daily Star that are normally only of use to bi people when we're looking to line a cat litter tray.

It also got an excellent piece on biphobia in the Telegraph and even the Guardian got Ruth Hunt to do one condemning it. There was also coverage from the Mirror via National Student and the Evening Standard to the LGGG press.

Did Shon miss all of that?

She does get that something is rotten in the state of media reporting on LGBT issues, because in an aside she says

(bisexual people are still too rarely mentioned)

but fails to look at her own piece.

In (rightly) being critical about Amanda Barrie's "breezy and uncritical friendship with Ann Widdecombe" on the show because of the latter's appalling record of bigotry, Shon neglects to say – in a piece that otherwise rarely fails to list the sexual orientation of the latest name to be dropped – that Amanda Barrie is out as bisexual. Her current marriage (not civil partnership, as Shon has it) is mentioned, but not her previous one to a man.

And if we get out the Ian Ticksheet, I make it..

[] LGBT – twelve uses
[] LGB – two uses, including one 'gay, bi and lesbian friends' not included elsewhere
[] Queer – three uses
[] Lesbian(s) – eleven uses
[] Gay – thirteen uses, including seven 'gay men' and one 'gay women'
[] Homosexuality – one use
[] Trans* – twenty uses
[] Drag queen(s) – four uses
[] bisexual – one use.

Yes, that "(bisexual people are still too rarely mentioned)" is literally the only use of the word 'bisexual' in the entire piece. I hope your irony meters have strong overload protection.

Other lowlights within that list include "It was lesbians, too, who cared for gay men and trans women through the worst of the Aids crisis." Did Aids not affect bi men? Trans men? I may have missed that memo. I certainly miss the ones I knew who died.

The final irony is saying that trans people have often been seen as an addendum, a less important and optional add-on, "antithetical to the politics of the LGB collective – different, antagonistic, maybe even a threat" to the rest of the queer community, when it was the bisexual community that embraced trans people years before the vast majority of the rest of the acronym did.

So Shon does recognise that Stonewall used to fail trans people, but doesn't seem to know that Stonewall was fucking appalling when it came to bisexuality.*

"This is why I am a strong believer in the LGBT collective" says Shon, but apart from that single aside, it's looking awfully like an LG_T one. A bit like most of LGBT history month that she points people towards to learn more…

This is what erasure looks like.

* How bad was it? When this site was first imagined, it was going to have just two categories of things bisexuals were furious about: Stonewall and a smaller one for everything else. Unless they get their fingers out over the promises made two years ago, it may still do that…

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