The #StillBisexual campaign

BCN 129 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 129, February 2015

We caught up with Nicole Kristal, the force behind online campaign #StillBisexual, and asked her what it’s all about…

#StillBisexual is a confessional-style video campaign aimed at dispelling the misconception that bisexuals don’t stay bisexual. Many bisexuals are seen as no longer being bi once they are in committed relationships because bisexuality is seen as a purely transitional identity. This campaign aims to discount that notion. Many of us, myself included, have been out bisexuals for decades, and we’re tired of being asked whether we are still bisexual. I came up with the idea about a year ago. It just took me awhile to actually do it.

So you’ve been out as bi for a while..?
I have been an out bisexual activist since 1997. I came out in a college magazine article I wrote called “Bi Ourselves.” At the time, I felt pretty alienated. I didn’t know more than a few bisexuals, and there wasn’t much literature on bisexuality that I was aware of. I went and saw Lani Ka’ahumanu read from her book, Bi Any Other Name, and it changed my life. Then I started buying issues of Anything that Moves and realized there actually was a community.  I was about 20 at the time.

Anyway, once I moved to Los Angeles in 2000, I connected with the bi community here and got to know Mike Szymanski. A few years later, he had a book deal with Alyson Books to write a bisexual humor book but they wanted him to write it with a woman. I wasvery blessed that he asked me to be that woman. I was only 25 at the time. It took three years to write and tons of research. We were extremely proud when it won the first-even Lambda Literary Award for Best Bisexual Book in 2006.

nicole400One of your early tweets posited that ‘If you “used to be bisexual,” you never were in the first place’.  That’s a bit of a controversial statement: what about people whose sexuality honestly changes over time?
That tweet was meant to address the gays and lesbians who know in their hearts that they are gay but come out as bisexual because they think it will be less alienating and more accepted (little do they know!). Some people do come out as bi when they are genuinely confused about being gay or lesbian, and that’s the label they use until they figure it out. But that confusion hurts our community immensely. Because so many genuinely gay and lesbian people come out as bi first, it has created a massive misconception that bisexuality is just a gateway drug into being gay or lesbian.

In reality, many (if not most) bisexuals stay bisexual, and they are just pressured into silence once they settle down with a member of the opposite or same sex because it is too much trouble to keep coming out. Why? Because people just don’t get it—how can you still be bisexual when you look straight/gay now? You’ve chosen. But it’s an orientation. It doesn’t just go away. It just goes into hiding. And that’s something this campaign addresses—it pulls people out of hiding.

nicole2I’m not discounting the fluidity of sexuality. Sometimes we are more into women and other times we are more into men. But after a certain number of years observing your own fluid desires, it becomes pretty clear your life has a bisexual pattern. That’s what I hope this campaign will show and help people embrace.

How do BCN readers join in?
Anyone can join. All you need is a computer with a built-in camera, or even just a camera with video capacity. But before you make your title cards, just sit down and write out in brief phrases and sentences your bisexual story— namely, your dating and relationship history. Start with the year you came out as bisexual or when you came out as gay or lesbian, because many bisexuals come out that way at first. If you started out straight, then start with your first heterosexual love. Then write about when you realized you were queer.

The hardest thing is staying brief. Don’t write a whole paragraph on the card or you will have to hold it up for a super long time for people to read it. I learned that the hard way in my first video, and I had to scrap it and start over again because it was over five minutes long. Try to keep your video under two minutes because people are impatient and you want them to view the whole thing.

I filmed my video in iMovie and found it to be a very frustrating software to use. My co-author Mike came over and had to show me a few things. He’s much better at the tech stuff than me. I encourage anyone who is not tech savvy to call a friend over for assistance.

I also learned that it’s best to sit on a pillow because otherwise your head will be cut off by the cards and it will be hard to get the whole thing in frame.

The main thing people need to remember is that YouTube will know (I don’t know how) if you use licensed music. My first video got flagged because I had used a Django Reinhart song, so I had to switch it. You don’t want to risk YouTube taking your video down. So use some stock music that you find on Google or songs from your friend’s band. I used a song I had written and recorded along with my friend Aniela Perry who plays cello.

Once you make your video – then what?
Post it on the Still Bisexual facebook page, tweet it to @StillBisexual with the hashtag #StillBisexual. Email me a link on [email protected] and I will add it to the campaign’s website

Include in it any brief description about the video or yourself that you want to include.

Thanks Nicole!  Good luck!