Links of Great Interest: Still getting caught up

The connections between abortion and poverty

A child is reprimanded for challenging gender

A big FU to feminist comics fans.

Signal Boost: Stand with the Garifuna people!

How heterosexual privilege stigmatizes bisexuality

Racism affects the brain.

99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.

OnĀ Predator

Why you should care about this affair

What the Bible says about rape

Demonic Nannies

Surely we can be better than this.

Mama Hawa is a heroine.



  1. says

    Love the article on how bisexuals don’t have heterosexual privilege. That’s a nasty piece of biphobia and I’m glad to see it challenged so publicly.

    I also loved the kid who challenged gender roles. How inappropriate of the teacher to dictate who is “allowed” to play with what; at the same time, glad the teacher actually wrote it down and sent it home so it would be easy to prove, rather than speaking verbally to the class.

    Mama Hawa is amazing. I hope she gets that Nobel because she certainly deserves it.

  2. Red says


    I wanna know how this woman does it. Cause damn it all, that is AWESOME!

    Between Malala and Dr. Hawa, this is gonna be a tough choice for the Peace Prize.

  3. Ara says

    As far as bisexuals and privilege goes, I’ve often observed that the GLBT movement doesn’t really want me because I’m currently in a heterosexual relationship and don’t have any kind of painful coming out story about being bi– I’ve been in a grand total of *one* serious relationship in my life and I wasn’t even aware of having any sexuality until I was in college so it doesn’t really come up that much. But every time I wind up in any kind of GLBT group someone eventually makes it clear that I’m an ally, not really one of them. Actually, even before I was in a relationship I was observing they didn’t want me because I didn’t have a coming out story and my sexuality had never caused me pain.

  4. Danathan says

    I think the question of whether or not bisexuals can possess heterosexual privilege is complicated by the fact that “heterosexual privilege” isn’t really a single thing, but rather a collection of different privileges, some of which bisexuals can take advantage of, and some of which we can’t.

    I’m a bisexual man, but all of my serious relationships (including my current one) have been with women*, and I can’t really deny that I do have the advantage over gay men in being able to “pass”. All of my close friends and family are aware of my sexuality, but I do have to admit that I do not take pains to mention my sexuality to acquaintances. I mean, it just doesn’t come up. If anybody ever asks me directly, or if it comes up naturally in conversation, I am quite open about my sexuality, but if I’m honest, that rarely actually happens, and I am very conscious of the fact that that does provide me with a lot of the same advantages enjoyed by heterosexuals.

    The most pressing example is that I work in a Pupil Referral Unit, teaching maths to underprivileged children who, for whatever reason, have found themselves to be not a good fit for mainstream schooling. Many of these children have been excluded from mainstream schooling for behavioural issues, and it is true that homophobia is rife there. There is no doubt in my mind that, were any of them to find out that I am not strictly heterosexual, I would suffer a great deal of abuse, and my authority over them would be reduced in their eyes. If any of them actually were to directly ask me, I wouldn’t feel able to lie, as I would see it as a betrayal of my nature, but so far the default assumption is that I am heterosexual, and I have no intention of going out of my way to correct that assumption. The fact that I have a girlfriend means that that assumption is never really questioned. If, on the other hand, I were to be in a relationship with another man, the issue of my sexuality would be much more likely to arise (especially as my partner works in the same unit).

    Of course, this is not to say that that was in any way a consideration of mine in deciding who I became involved with, and it is certainly ludicrous to suggest that bisexuals are any more likely to stray from same-sex relationships than those who are exclusively homosexual would be, but I cannot deny that I possess advantages from being in an opposite-sex relationship that I wouldn’t possess if I were in a same-sex relationship.

    * Interestingly, if irrelevantly, all bisexual women

  5. says

    Ara and Danathan, without distracting from the point of the article, which was simply that “passing” is not the same thing as actually possessing all the privileges of the preferred group, I think you both make some very interesting points about defining the LGBT movement, who it’s for and what it’s about.

    There are a number of “deviant” sexualities that are left out of the LGBT movement. Hell, L, B and T used to be left out of the group as well. If you are, for example, into BDSM, or you’re asexual or aromantic, you don’t have a sex life you can tell people about over cocktails for a laugh. You, too, have to make the decision about whether to stay in the closet or at least let people continue to assume you’re “normal”, or come out. I don’t know how likely any of these groups are to get beaten up if they publicly acknowledge their sexuality – maybe not at all. But there is a tendency for people – including law enforcement – to assume BDSM people like *actually* torturing or being tortured, and that’s worrying. And people who state they are just not having sex even though they’re old enough, or try to explain they’re just not attracted to the lovely person who’s attracted to them, often get the “Are you gay? It’s okay, you can tell me” treatment. These people are in danger of losing their hetero “passing” privilege and being suspected of either criminality or homosexuality, if they are honest about their sexuality. Does this open them up to unfair incarceration, or to beatdowns? I’m not sure. I know some kinky people have been persecuted by police when they did nothing wrong. I know some asexuals have been intimidated into consenting to sex they did not want at all because the pressure from family or friends was so intense. And this includes Christian evangelical families, LOL, because they are extremely weirded out by someone just not being interested in sex at all. Strange behavior for a bunch of people who worship a man they believe to have died a virgin, but there you go.

    Personally, I think the LGBT movement would be wise to open itself to all groups who are shunned or persecuted for their sexuality, to any degree that actually produces anxiety. I understand the movement’s desire to not get so muddied that people who think Brad Pitt isn’t cute are joining up because their friends made fun of them (a position I have indeed taken shit for, LOL). But I think there are some left-out groups that experience real anxiety over their sex lives, for no reason other than society’s conformist bullshit.

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