|| Sent to The Guardian: Use of the word "gay" for bisexuals is insulting
||Jan. 27th, 2006 09:54 am|
I write to take issue with Friday's Leader in the politics section
Mr Hughes is not "a gay politician". He, like myself, and many of my friends, is bisexual. You, together with many UK journalists, may consider it "convenient" to include the term "bisexual" under the umbrella term "gay", but I, and many in the LGBT community find this trivialisation of our sexual identity extremely insulting. I am bisexual; I am not "gay". I am not "recovering" from homosexuality or in denial about it; I am confident in this identity and would expect the media to recognise me as such.
As it happens, while I am a member of the Liberal Democrats I bear no great affection for Simon Hughes or his politics, but I feel that he, the party and the LGBT community deserve appropriate recognition. Mr Hughes did not lie when he stated that he was not gay; if the journalist interviewing him was too lax to ask the obvious follow-up question then it is not Mr Hughes' integrity that should be in doubt.
Of course, I am also appalled that a person's sexuality should be seen to have any relevance to his or her political capabilities, but that is a larger and separate issue.
The only people I've ever known use the term "gay" as a catch-all, are not gay or bisexual themselves (or at least won't admit it anyway), and close-minded people that hink that sexuality makes a difference to what kind of person they must be.
Using gay to include bisexuality not only denies bisexuals a separate identity, but gay men and women as well. None of the people I know in any of the groups (and I know a lot of them) would be anything other than offended at the term "gay" being used in that way.
Well *I* wouldn't be offended if gay was used in that way, because I think it's *useful* to have a term for not-straight and queer rings a bit too many of the wrong bells for me. Gay doesn't really work either, I agree - at least partly for the reasons you give, but while I wouldn't use it myself that way I can see why some do.
I do find the fact the news completely ignored the word bisexual for most of yesterday rather baffling though. But as someone suggested perhaps they prefer to only use it for people who use it of themselves. Some people *do* still identify as gay or straight despite having had some experiences which would seem to contradict that, and I think that's fair enough.
Don't forget that the media caters to the lowest common denominator, many of whom couldn't cope with the term 'bisexual'. Given the conservative nature of some of our media, I'm just thankful they've moved on from 'deviant'.
The media doesn't just cater to the LCD, it programs it.
If the only thing the interviewer cared about was whether or not he was heterosexual vs 'anything else', then they should have asked "Are you heterosexual?", not "Are you gay?". That would have (a) removed any chance of ambiguity, and (b) made explicit the rather bigoted mindset behind the question.