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Developed by Martino Mangano, GWSL Student Employee
University of Wisconsin-Madison
This bibliography is number 104 in the series “Bibliographies in Gender and Women’s Studies,” published by the University of Wisconsin System Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian. Many thanks to UW-Madison’s Gender and Sexuality Campus Center and LGBTQ Archive for their assistance with this guide.
Not gay, not straight. Going both ways. Alternative to the alternatives. Greedy, promiscuous, and unfaithful.
Although this may not be the language that we use to describe this identity today, bisexuality has historically been at odds with, and therefore demonized by, socially-constructed binaries. These binaries, interwoven with Western ideas of hierarchy, established heterosexual, monosexual, and cisgender identities as the default, acceptable behaviors, thoughts, and identities, both in Europe and in the lands that it colonized. Before colonization, the diverse sexual and gendered behaviors, thoughts, and identities that existed in Wisconsin and the United States were celebrated. Now, identities that do not conform to a simple set of facts, but rupture basic truths that we hold about the world, are deemed as threatening, be it overtly or covertly.
Even as the LGBT+ community has gained significant social freedoms in the past few decades, bisexual people face significant negative markers in their health and well-being, which are often greater than those of gay and lesbian people. Bisexual representation lags behind that of gay and lesbian representation in all aspects of life. Whether it be in film, literature, government, academia, or industry, there is a silent, degrading invisibility of bisexual identity. In order for our world to be transformed into one that uplifts and cares for any individual regardless of any aspect of their personhood, we need to acknowledge and work forward towards healing the gap in our affective societal landscape where bisexual people should be.
This bibliography explores a wide range of topics, including bisexual media in a variety of forms, bisexual history and activism, bisexual health, bisexual identity, bisexual organizations, and bisexual Wisconsin. For those unfamiliar with bisexuality and/or want introductory resources on it, please see the Introductory Materials section.
Do note that 1) many sources overlap multiple categories, so if you are looking for a resource that entertains multiple categories in this bibliography, check both sections, and 2) bisexual representation is often very flawed! Sources listed in the “bi media” section oftentimes include characters or stories that do not explicitly label themselves as bisexual and are more often thought of as sexually-fluid or plurisexual in general. Regardless, all “bi media” sources included in this bibliography generally are regarded by bisexual organizations and communities as being authentic, positive representations of bisexuality, whether it is explicit or implicit!
The goal of this bibliography is to inspire and educate. We welcome suggestions for additions or changes at any time.