The Fence
 A new place of power for bisexual women

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A taste of issue 8... 

 Have you ever? (or: 20 questions for bisexual women)
By Cheryl Dobinson

  1. Have you ever felt self-conscious about being bisexual?
  2. Have you ever let someone assume you’re a lesbian because it’s easier?
  3. Have you ever felt guilty about having any semblance of heterosexual privilege?
  4. Have you ever wondered if life would be easier if only you could ‘choose’?
  5. If you’re polyamorous, have you ever worried that you’re perpetuating bisexual stereotypes?
  6. Have you ever wondered if you should be polyamorous to spite the people who think being bisexual and polyamorous is a BAD thing?
  7. If you’re monogamous, have you ever wondered if you really should call yourself bisexual anymore?
  8. Have you ever wondered if you should be monogamous to spite the people who say bis can’t be monogamous?
  9. Have you ever sat up late at night, panicking about the possibility that you might actually end up liking only women or men, and then feel obliged to give up the identity “bisexual” and therefore fit the stereotype of bisexuality being a phase? 
  10. Have you ever wished that the lesbians who say “I don’t date bisexuals” and “Bisexual women always end up with men anyway” could put 2+2 together and take some responsibility for the limited options bisexual women are left with in the dating world? 
  11. Have you ever felt the profound isolation of being the only out bisexual in a group of queer women?
  12. Have you ever marched in Pride, come out at work or school, signed letters and petitions with your real name, and still been told that bisexuals aren’t as political or as out as gay men and lesbians?
  13. Have you ever tired of hearing people justify their biphobia by saying that a bisexual was mean to them once?
  14. Have you ever played the pronoun game to avoid  revealing the gender of your other-sex partner in queer circles?
  15. Have you ever made a conscious effort to bring up your relationships with women to try to get other queer people to take you seriously?
  16. Have you ever avoided coming out as bisexual until the lesbian or gay man you’re talking to gets a chance to know you better so they (hopefully) won’t judge you?
  17. Have you ever wondering why bisexuals in particular get attacked for supposedly enforcing the gender binary, as if being gay, lesbian or straight are somehow more inclusive and trans-friendly identities?
  18. Have you ever said, or even thought about saying, that you don’t really identify as bisexual because just about any other identity or lack thereof gets you more acceptance from the queer community?
  19. Have you ever been even a tiny bit grateful for bisexual invisibility because it gives you a break from having to explain yourself?
  20. Have you ever wished that you didn’t have to ask yourself any of these things and could just live your life, loving who you love, with only the usual array of inevitable neuroses that people of any sexual identity are unable to escape? 

I have, have you?


-Marie Martin

This kind of shit makes a gal strong,
according to Erica, whoever she is.
She advised the princess to become unglued;
part of me pretended I was the princess.

I was waiting for permission
to drown my self for myself,
to suffocate vanity with beauty.
It finally hearkened from a frank heart.

And now I don't intend to commit
to drinking from that shallow-ass glass,
wasting my time pinky sipping,
opting for flavor instead of nourishment.

I want to down a boot.
I want a 5-gallon bucket to go.
I found my appetite mid-flight,
and I'm craving substance.

A rich, sweet, thick gulp of love
requires a deep dive.
I've inhaled deeply,
and have one foot off the plank.

Equal Marriage
Massachusetts, 2004
by Julie Ebin

Just because you wear a man’s skin –
five o’clock shadow,
bulgy lump
in your throat –
when we met
we could easily dream: happily-ever-after rings and ceremonies.
There was no need to pause to think Oh! We'll get government benefits!

Four years back when I met Molly,
I had murkier visions:
What will my mother…?
A ceremony with two dresses or a dress and a tux?
If I get hit by a bus, will the hospital bar her from my room?
Will I always notice who sees us on the subway?

With you, when I kiss you on the street, in the park,
we might get stares from voyeurs
or puritan discomfort,
but we’ve never felt fearful of others’ reactions.
How unlike it was with Molly
who shook loose my hand
one balmy May night
on the street in Chinatown , saying
It’s not safe here.

If we broke up,
if you died,
I might find another wonderful love –
one whose anatomy might mirror mine.
Although in committing to share our households and lives,
we could be blessed by family, friends,
even our faith,
we would get no automatic earthly protection
from this country's laws.

So at the statehouse you and I rally
to protect each of us as much as others.
A bisexual married friend
opts out with a sign saying “Straight Ally,”
showing up in support, but invisible behind his safe façade.

Holding your hand I wonder,
as the protesters’ spit lands
on my cheek, on your shoe,
whether the glob was hawked up for me as a “faggot-lover”
or if they can see beyond our different genders,
if they know I too am queer.
And does our side? Do they know
why being here matters to me?

The next morning I see a sticker
on a pickup truck parked down the street:
“God Says: 1 Man + 1 Woman = Marriage.”
And even though you are 1 man
and I am 1 woman
I still
feel afraid.