Title: Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out
Author Name & Publisher: Lani Ka’ahumanu & Loraine Hutchins (Riverdale Avenue Books)
Publication Date & Length: September 23, 2015 – 436 pgs
“I am part of the generation that came of age when Bi Any Other Name was already in print. This groundbreaking anthology gave me the language, courage and sense of community I needed as a young queer woman.” —Daisy Hernández, A Cup of Water Under My Bed
The 25th Anniversary Edition
Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out first debuted in 1991. This groundbreaking book helped catalyze a national movement for bisexual identity, justice and equality. Often dubbed “the bisexual bible,” Bi Any Other Name was on Lambda Book Review’s Top 100 GLBT Books of the 20th century and became a beloved reference text in many classrooms, doctors’ offices, libraries, and pulpits. A 2007 Mandarin translation was published in Taiwan. The new 2015 introduction of this book updates readers to the enormous changes the past quarter century has brought – for bi people, the larger society and the sexual rights and liberation movement of which we are a part.
When did you know? How did you come out? What was your experience? The coming out stories in this book speak to the many ways bisexuals embrace realities outside rigid either/or categories throughout the passage of our lives. Everyday stories of women, men, transgender bisexuals, teenagers to octogenarians, from many different cultures and family arrangements. The fierce truth of these lives made visible puts a check on bisexual erasure, exposing the binary constructions of gay/straight and male/female as oversimplifications that reduce spectrums to mere opposites.
Caught between the mainstream culture’s persistent discounting of bisexuality, the sensationalizing characterizations presented in media, and the sexual liberation movement’s continual disregard of bisexuality as a serious identity, bisexual people are often not seen or heard when they speak out. There is a vital need for these earnest voices to be heard in the new century. Enormous cultural changes have occurred in the past 25 years, yes, but understanding bisexualities has just begun.
One of the things that struck me is that as a person who has only recently connected with the community, I still found so many way in which the stories resonated. While the world has changed–and new ways of looking at sex and love have emerged–a lot of things have remained the same.
The book is divided into sections, each addressing a different aspect of bi life. These are deeply personal stories about relationships and love and navigating the world. Most people will be able to find something in here to relate to.
Some readers may be surprised both by places where gender-inclusive language is used to describe attractions and by places where it is not. Be aware going in that there is a wide range of perspectives represented, and no one experience should be used to measure an entire vast community of people. Nor should any one story be used as “proof” of what the bisexual community is or is not.
I am simply blown away by the time, effort, and care given to putting this collection together. What a fitting way to celebrate twenty years! Many thanks to all the people who devoted themselves to this project, particularly Lani and Loraine.
5 stars (and I fervent wish that I could give it more)