Topic: Bisexuality

The videos above highlight conversations around the identity of bisexuality and discuss some of the stereotypes that exist.

The University of Illinois at Chicago also published a webpage of Common Myths of Bisexuality, which addresses and debunks myths that surround the identity. The myths covered are:

  • There is no such thing as bisexual. You’re either gay/lesbian or straight, no in between
  • Bisexuals are confused about their sexuality. They can’t have it both ways… they have to make a choice
  • Everybody is bisexual
  • To be bisexual, you have to love both genders equally
  • You can’t be bisexual and be faithful to one person
  • Bisexuals are much more likely to carry sexually transmitted diseases/infections
  • Bisexuals are more accepted by straight society
Then, there is the Bisexual Resource Center, which as far as I understand, is located in Boston, MA. The center was originally started in 1985 and now is one of the largest national bisexual organizations.
There are plenty of online resources if you aren’t in the Boston area that are really great to look into. One link within their media section is actually for the Bi Magazine, which highlights news and different forms of media surrounding the bisexual community.
Now it is time for a farewell but be sure to know that this is just one post of what I’m sure will be many on bisexuality. Consider this just an introduction to the identity, especially with the debate of bi versus pan.

Wage theft

On February 17th, I had the chance to lobby state officials on the issue of combating wage theft. While I didn’t get the chance to meet with legislators (and thus met with staff/aides), it was still a really great experience overall.

Wage theft occurs when employers pay workers less than the minimum wage, don’t pay time-and-a-half for overtime hours, cheat on the number of hours worked, steal tips or don’t pay workers at all. Workers who are victims of wage theft may fear reprisal from their employers should they seek redress for their stolen wages, and many may not know how to obtain help in recovering losses. (Oregon Center for Public Policy, Fact Sheet)

Wage theft is hard to quantify but is an issue that needs to be addressed. There is so much that intersects with wage theft that makes the issue incredibly important. Immigration, language barriers, and documentation play into wage theft, as all three have the possibility of adding the vulnerability of a worker and increase the likelihood of limited resources for retribution.

Food security also plays into wage theft. During the summer, I worked at a food pantry as an intern and this was my first experience dealing with the issue of food security. The food pantry that I worked in served low income families and individuals, meaning that most of the people that I not only served but also worked with in the pantry had other jobs or were retired. Not getting paid at all or only a portion means that being able to keep up with bills, rent, food, etc is incredibly difficult. There were so many clients that came into the food pantry as a supplement to working and food stamps.

In my personal life, wage theft probably won’t be a big issue when I work. I am college educated, white, middle class, native English speaker, US citizen. I have access to resources and can act as my own advocate. So why would I care? Why should any one care? One reason is that by working to end wage theft, we raise the standard of work and business ethics, which will influence my work experiences because it helps to ensure that any job that I take in the future has a higher probability of being relatively decent wage.

By ensuring that wage theft legislation is strongly enforced (meaning that there are repercussions for employers guilty of theft, etc), more money can also go into the local economy. And at the same time, enforcement of wage theft could help to bring individuals and families out of poverty. The Washington Post has an article about how economists agree that raising the minimum wage reduces poverty but the minimum wage (while related) is another topic entirely. There would be massive impacts of bringing people out of poverty.

Ultimately, there is a lot that goes into wage theft that makes it a very pressing issue for many. For more information about wage theft, here are some resources that I have found helpful:

Interfaith Worker Justice – Wage Theft

Oregon Coalition to Stop Wage Theft

Northwest Workers Justice Project

Our Wage Theft Epidemic – Spencer Woodman


Microaggression: common verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile or negative slights to marginalized groups. Perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such interactions when they interact with minorities. (Fordham University)

Microaggressions are an incredibly important aspect of privilege and oppression that need to be addressed. Microaggressions focus more on the impact of the words or actions than the intent behind them, meaning that you could be very well intended but still be microaggressive.

The Microagressions Project is a website dedicated to collecting stories on this issue. I highly recommend reading it because the stories bring to light the different ways in which one might perpetuate oppression and privilege. There are plenty of ways in the US that are microaggressive that if you’re in a position of power/privilege or not a social critic might not seem like they perpetuate issues.

If someone from a marginalized community points out a microaggression that you say or do, the important thing is to not get defensive but instead focus on how to change your words and actions. The focus isn’t on you but instead on how others around you feel. The easy way out is to throw the issue back at the person bringing light to the issue.

Barbara Diamond, a lawyer in Portland, OR, created a film called Reveal Moments, which deals with racial microaggressions that have occurred to individuals. The trailer is the video above but her website will direct you to the ways in which to access the entire film. It’s not a particularly long film and is incredibly powerful in showing how what is said and done to others really matters.

With this all in mind, it’s very important to consider the way in which you speak and interact with others. While you might not see how something is offensive, it’s important to keep in mind that you are probably shielded by your privilege and position in the world. There are plenty of ways to carry out microaggressions (being “colorblind” is a big one) and instead of getting defensive when people point out your own privilege and microaggressions, learn from what you’re doing wrong.

Quote: Bisexuality

“My favorite definition for bisexuality so far is the one popularized by (the wonderful) bisexual activist Robyn Ochs. Ochs says,

“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted—romantically and/or sexually—to people of more than one sex, and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

This is by far the broadest and most enabling definition of bisexuality that I’ve found to date. Its strength is in the way it enables anyone who wants to identify as bisexual to do so. (In other words, it reassures people.) In a world in which bisexuality is usually very narrowly defined, many people who experience bisexual desire, and want to identify as bi, often feel afraid to start (or keep) identifying as such, as they feel as though they “don’t qualify.” The role that an enabling definition for bisexuality can fulfill to counter these feelings of internalized biphobia is invaluable—and I feel that Ochs’s definition does just that. It reassures people that they are “allowed” to identify as bisexual if they wish to do so.”

Shiri Eisner, from her 2013 Book “Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution” (p. 21-22)

Mexico’s Third Gender

The video above highlights the muxe population in the city of Juchitan, Oaxaca in Mexico and also highlights an annual celebration in November called the Vigil of the Authentic Intrepid Searchers of Danger, which is a grand ball and where a queen is selected and crowned by the mayor.

The New York Times published an article called “A Lifestyle Distinct: the Muxe of Mexico”in 2008 that highlights the muxe culture, starting off with the fact that Mexico as a whole is not known for being open about homosexuality.

In the city of Juchitan, there are men, women, and muxes. Muxes are male assigned at birth, raised a women, and live as women all their lives. Muxes are the third gender in the city and the acceptance in the area can be traced back to pre-Colombian Mexico. There are accounts of Aztec priest crossdressing and Mayan gods who were male and female at the same time. However, this was relatively squashed out when the Spanish came in the 1500s and forced conversion to Catholicism. The traditions of muxes remained, as the area around Juchitan remains fairly traditional still.

Each muxe can identify and express differently. Some will dress as women and take hormones, while others will still wear male clothes. However, most will take on traditional female roles and will sell in the market, embroider, and cook at home. There are some that will become sex workers.

Quote: Feminism

“The feminist movement likes to think of itself as being anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia. And I do think that most feminists believe in these ideas in theory; unfortunately, many of them have a harder time putting these concepts into practice. There’s a tendency to ignore or even silence queer women, trans* women and women of colour, and while I don’t think that this silencing is intentional, exactly, I do think that many people, even those working within the feminist movement, don’t want to address this problem or even acknowledge that it happens.
Here’s the thing: when someone from an oppressed group speaks up, you listen. You shut your mouth and you listen. You don’t tell them that we’re all women, here, and the issues that we’re working to resolve are issues that affect all women. You don’t discount their lived experiences by countering with your own examples of being oppressed as a white woman. And finally, you most fucking do not pretend that sexism experienced by women of colour or queer women or trans women is exactly the same as what you’ve experienced. Because it’s not; it’s worse. Get off your high horse, acknowledge your privilege, and let someone else have the microphone for a while. Feminism isn’t an egalitarian movement if it’s only promoting the rights of white, educated, middle-class women.”

From: 10 Signs that Feminism May Not Be For You | The Outlier Collective