BiWatch: April 2004

It’s been quite a busy month for references to bisexuality in the media this month, not just because of all the publicity about the bisexuality of the lady (Wild! Bisexual! party girl!!! – if publicity is to be believed) who apparently briefly wooed Beckham from his Victoria.

I’ve had to just pick a few, so if you want to know more, join the UK Bi media yahoo group at http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/bimedia/join where most of this article is shamelessly grabbed from.  But enough blatant email group promoting, on with the roundup:

An article in The Guardian on Saturday March 20, 2004 about Helen Walsh’s first novel, Brass, which features the protagonist sleeping with both men and women, has the following quote about Helen:

Still less does she tessellate neatly with gay circles, since she rejects the term in the first place. “I never really identified with being either straight or gay, and I hate the word bisexual. I’m not going to call myself anything that restricts what I can and can’t do. This is volatile territory, but I have so many friends who’ve started off bisexual, gone into a relationship with a woman, come down on the lesbian side and had to have a massive shift in their lifestyle of what they could do, and where they could go, and what they could say. And if they have latent impulses to sleep with men, they can’t do it, it goes against protocol.”

Something that many people within the bi community may have empathy with.  Now onto a survey described by The Sun on march the 8th:

A whopping 84 per cent told the survey – for radio station Newstalk 106 – they were heterosexual. But one in ten described themselves as “bi-curious”. Only
five per cent admitted they were gay or bisexual.

Seems like the old double standard is still alive and healthy, at least in rapper 50 percent’s mind:

“I don’t like gay people around me, because I’m not comfortable with their thoughts… But women who like women, that’s cool. I could get into that, having a woman who likes women, too.” – Scottish Daily Record Mar-11 on hip-hop star 50 CENT “who says his late mother was bisexual”

Robert Carlyle stirred up a lot of media coverage with his recent portrayal of King James I:

“He was a very dark character. And there is certainly a lot of evidence to suggest he was bisexual. Playing him was a lot like playing Hitler. It wasn’t a nice place to be.” Robert Carlyle in Scottish Sunday Mail 7-Mar on playing King James I.  Meanwhile The Evening Standard 10-Mar reports on writer Jimmy McGovern’s “Gunpowder, Treason and Plot” – “James I was bisexual, and had offered tolerance in exchange for sexual favours from Catholic Thomas Percy, who
then tried to take revenge… I’m probably wrong about the oral sex. But dramatically it gives a major character tremendous motivation.”

The Scotsman Mar-11 says “Historians may roll their eyes at the portrayal of the “Wisest fool in Christendom” as a rampantly bisexual conniver, obsessed with power and his twisted appearance, and forcing sexual favours in return for the cessation of the persecution of Catholics”

The Sunday Times Mar-14 calls the character “a bisexual, limping paranoic.”

The Mail on Sunday Mar-14 says “the terrorist plot is largely down to the King’s bisexuality” and The Times Mar-20 has him as “disfigured, raging, psychotic, cowardly, vain and drunken bisexual”

Sex psychologist Dr Petra Boynton of University College, London is quoted in The Mirror on the 16th giving advice in agony aunt style, with an appreciation of the validity of bisexuality:

It is not uncommon for a woman to have sexual fantasies about another woman – and it doesn’t mean to say you’re a lesbian if you do, says sex psychologist Dr Petra Boynton, of University College, London.

 

”Most of us like to fantasise,” she says. “Heterosexual men fantasise about men as well as women.

 

”I believe we each have different sexual identities and being bisexual does not mean we’re confused about our sexual preferences – it’s just another identity, as much as being straight or gay is. If you want to experiment with your sexuality it should be OK if you have an open relationship with your partner where you can tell him or her what you are feeling and what you want to do about it.”

Just because it is a valid lifestyle, it doesn’t mean you can’t apparently give it up, according to Mary Riddell’s interview of “musician, lecturer, art expert, writer and bon viveur” George Melly in The Daily Mail Mar-20:

His other preoccupation, sex, has always been attributed – by him, at least – to growing up in a progressive household, in which his parents were happy for him to see them naked. His mother, Maudie, apparently longed for him to be just like Noel Coward, which seems an odd aspiration for even a very bohemian, postwar Liverpudlian housewife. George duly became bisexual. ‘But I gave it up,’ he says, as if renouncing chocolate for Lent. “Oh, it took no conscious thought. There were so many girls around by then. I don’t think I was 100 per cent gay, even when I was 100 per cent gay, if you see what I mean. It was all to do with my mother’s choices.”

Looking to the future, the following was found on digitalspy.co.uk:

00:18 GMT, Thursday 25th March 2004 — by Neil Wilkes

Straight dating shows, gay dating shows and transgendered dating shows are all now commonplace in the TV schedules, so it should come as no surprise that a new dating show is being planned – this time featuring bisexuals.

Called Bi Choice, the show will follow a single bisexual person who “wants to get married, but who as yet is unsure whether to go for a man or a woman.”

The series will be unveiled at this year’s MipTV festival this weekend, where broadcasters from countries around the world gather to purchase new formats.

And finally, in case you need some pointers for group sex, Dr Catherine Hood, agony aunt for the Sunday Mirror, has the following advice (4/4/04):
“For group sex to work all those involved must do so willingly and condoms should always be used. Most couples into threesomes will try and find a third party who is bisexual so nobody loses out.”

Always the guest star, never the bride?

Press Complaints Commission
It is worth being aware that, if you ever feel stirred by an article that mentions bisexuality in a way you think unfair, the Press Complaints Commission’s Code may be relevant.  Clause 13 (Discrimination) of the Code states that:

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person’s race, colour, religion, sex or sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

 

ii) It must avoid publishing details of a person’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability unless these are directly relevant to the story.

You may want to bookmark this – it’s available online at http://www.pcc.org.uk/docs/discrimination.doc

Lanei

And finally… Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) recently launched an Internet-based smoking treatment study for LGBT smokers.

Their publicity says this study comes on the heels of research showing high rates of smoking in the LGBT community.  Apparently, in some parts of the queer communities, smoking rates can be “as much as 50% higher” than among their heterosexual peers.  Who’d have thought it, eh?

The study will compare two Internet-based smoking treatments: one that provides general information that has been helpful in a variety of smoking treatment programs, another that includes the general information plus information and support designed especially for an LGBT audience. To be eligible for the study, individuals must be 18 years of age or older and identify as LGBT.

For more information about this study, visit the iQuit website at
http://iquit.medschool.ucsf.edu.

 

Read more about bis on TV, film and in the papers in our bimediawatch section.