Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner

  Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution  by Shiri Eisner ~ Completed May 6, 2015 (originally read in 2013)

Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner ~ Completed May 6, 2015 (originally read in 2013)

This was a re-read for me, of a book that is easily one of the top five most important books I've ever read. Being bisexual is a huge part of my identity as a person (I've blogged about it before here), and this book helped me truly come to accept and understand myself over the course of my 20s.

Early on in the book Eisner discusses various definitions of the term "bisexual" (and how the standard one, that a person is attracted to "both men and women," is sometimes said to be transphobic). I read the following quote for the first time and remember catching my breath at its simplicity in explaining what I had struggled to articulate before:

If homosexuality is understood to mean attraction to people of genders similar to one’s own, and heterosexuality is understood to mean attraction to people of genders different from one’s own, then bisexuality can just as well mean attraction to people of genders similar to and different from one’s own. What I love about this definition is how it invokes the topic of gender, but without limiting its options - pertaining to two categories, but leaving their contents open.
— Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner - Chapter 1 - What is Bisexuality? (taken from the e-book)

Eisner goes on to discuss biphobia and monosexism; privilege and passing; the intersections of bisexuality, feminism, men, and women; bi and trans* identities; bisexuality and racialization, and the interactions between bisexuality and the mainstream gay and lesbian movement. I kept getting more and more out of it the second time I read it, and was able to reflect on parts of it that resonated differently with me at this different time in my life from when I first read it.

This is a hugely formative book for me and helps carve a place for bisexuality at the queer table, as an agent for change and destabilization.

Appeal

Story (60%): Similarly to Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, this book is a story-element heavy call to arms that had me devouring it from start to finish. Eisner's argument is that bisexuality is not a halfway point identity, stuck in the middle between the end points of heterosexuality and homosexuality. It is its own identity, in its own right, that has the potential to be a much-needed agent for change among queer communities. I continue to be inspired by Eisner's vision of bisexuality.

Character (40%): This is another book in which I see myself strongly, making character a large source of appeal for me in this work. Like being childfree, my identity as a bisexual woman has been very important to me as I've carved out my place in the world. This book allowed me to reflect on the character of "myself" and how this identity has played out for me and can do so in the future.

There is no particular setting or language appeal elements that form part of the work's appeal to me.