Sunday, 18 March 2018

Women Who Write: The Bisexual Edition

Women Who Write: The Bisexual Edition

Hey Dolls,
As I write this, March is on the horizon, and with it "The Beast From the East". Which is, in fact, a snow storm from Russia covering Europe, not a beauty and the beast adaptation as I initially hoped.
Aside from the snow, March brings with it International Women's Day. A day I have struggled with for years. Primarily because I am consumed with a bitterness that such a day exists. It is a reminder of how far we have had to come and how far we have yet to go. It feels like stopping in the middle of a long journey and realising that you are not there yet.
But this year, I am intent on celebrating women. I spent most of last year reading novels by women and I have honestly met some spectacular human beings as a result. I also became more and more public about my sexuality, wearing it on my sleeve as opposed to hiding it deep within me, a decision I am very happy with, despite how terrified it made me! 
So in celebration of all things women and all things bisexual, I have decided to show you my top Five Bisexual Women Who Write. This is by no means the only bisexual women, but it is a wonderful collection. All of these women have written fantastic novels, poems, non-fiction and have helped tease my inner bisexual out of her shell. 

Julia Ember

Bio: Julia Ember is a bisexual American author, living in Scotland. She has multiple cats named after Harry Potter characters and strives to write diverse stories. After her MA in Medieval Literature, she published The Seafarers Kiss, a glorious adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Honestly, its perfect for anyone needing a bit of LGBTQ+ in their life.

    Nationality: American
    Notable Works: The Seafarers Kiss, Unicorn Tracks and The Tiger's Watch
    Why? So for the past few months, I have desperately been trying to read as many mermaid books as possible. Only very recently did I discover Ms Ember and thus her adaptation. Without spoilers, the story is The Little Mermaid but instead of a Prince, it is a human woman our mermaid falls for. It is a really lovely story and one I highly recommend for all mermaid lovers. But why should you read Ember's work? Because firstly, Bisexuality is always mistaken for gay or straight. It is never given the representation or space to explore as it should. Whilst I am eternally happy that we are finally getting some decent LGBTQ+ fiction, more should be done to promote bisexuality within literature, especially as an aspect of a character's personality that is not synonymous with "confused"! 
    It's especially important that we are able to read LGBTQ+ adaptations of Fairy Tales as these stories are the first we hear as children. They are the first films we watch, characters we meet and ultimately, lessons we learn. We are in the 21st Century, it is about bloody time our fairy tales began to reflect the diverse and intersectional world that we aspire to be! 

    Roxane Gay

      Roxane gay 9134940.JPG
        Bio: Roxane Gay is a bisexual woman of many, many talents. A Professor, a novelist, a short story-ist, a critic, an editor, a commentator, a journalist and has even gone into script writing. She is extraordinary. Her writing is very straight to the point, there is no waffle, only meaning. She frequently writes on feminism, race, and class, confronting these issues head-on. Her work is very accessible and suitable for all.
      Nationality: Haitian American
      Notable Works: Bad Feminist, An Untamed State, and Difficult Women
      Why? So as you can tell, I am a big Gay fan. But it wasn't until very recently I discovered she was bisexual, and like many bisexual women, I was delighted to share this identity with such an idol. Like many of her fellow feminists, she discusses intersectional feminism in her work and racism with our society, yet she also discusses her sexuality. It is refreshing to read a feminist text that is inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. An issue with feminism that I think we can all agree on is how for a while it was a very white, middle class, straight woman fight, that didn't look to the LGBTQ+ community or to people of colour. Roxane tackles this issue and sets to break its glass ceiling. So from one bisexual woman to another, I recommend some Gay.

      Audre Lorde

      Audre Lorde.jpg

      Bio: Audre Lorde was a feminist, poet, and civil rights activist during the 20th Century. Her work largely reflects her journey with the growing civil rights movement in America with relation to being a black woman and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. She identified as both a lesbian and a bisexual woman on multiple occasions, I have included her in this list as she was an outstanding member of the community and we share birthdays so we are basically spirit sisters.
      Nationality: American/Caribbean
      Notable Works: Zami, Your Silence Will Not Protect You and Sister Outsider.
      Why? So Lorde was a phenomenal woman. As someone who hates poetry and associates it with everything John Clare, even I can find enjoyment and empowerment through her words. But her poetry aside, I've become increasingly aware of how white my bookshelves are and how I am guilty of white feminism. So I have been looking to authors such as Lorde to help educate myself on matters I have previously been ignorant to. As weird as it sounds, sharing my sexual identity with Lorde has really helped me to engage with her work. So if you're like me and find your shelves are very bland, reach out to some Lorde.

      Alice Walker

      Alice Walker.jpg

      Bio: Alice Walker is a bisexual American writer and activist. She is most well known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Colour Purple, but she is also the co-founder of Wild Tree Press, a feminist publishing company in America. Outside of her writing career, she is a strident feminist and campaigner of equal rights. She has enjoyed relationships with both men and women and remains bisexual out of curiosity.
      Nationality: American
      Notable Works: The Colour Purple, In Search of our Mothers' Gardens: Women's Prose, and Meridian.
      Why? Most of us discovered Alice Walker in our GCSE English classrooms. As with all books we are forced to study at a young age, we don't tend to enjoy them. The Colour Purple is a book that my teachers frequently made me read and study throughout my education; I could quote it word for word, but I didn't know the story. But this year I decided to actually sit down and read it from the perspective of my sexuality, rather than a student. And to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. It goes without saying that this is a truly harrowing read, especially at the beginning when young Celie is praying to God and experiencing things she can barely name let alone understand. But as she grows older and learns the lessons of love and self, it becomes a story that all young women should read and take inspiration from. 
      So in summary, give Alice Walker a go, if you are still haunted by studying The Colour Purple at school, try one of her other novels or collections, she is a wonderful writer and once again, reading the work of someone who you share your sexual identity with is such a heartwarming experience. She just gets you. 

      Kate Millet

      Bio: Kate Millet was a bisexual writer, teacher, artist and activist. She was the first woman to be awarded a first class honours degree at Oxford University and a key influence in second wave feminism. 
      Nationality: American
      Notable WorksSexual Politics, Flying, and The Loony Bin Trip
      Why? Kate Millett was my feminist awakening. I read Sexual Politics when studying my English Literature A-Level and Angela Carter, so reading Millett's work caused an epiphany to say the least. Somehow, it wasn't until recently that I discovered Millett identified as a bisexual woman, and somehow knowing that gave me a whole new wave of respect for her. Millett initially told the world she was gay, but later announced she was, in fact, bisexual, but felt that her true orientation would be misunderstood. Her autobiography, Flying, focuses on the evolution of her sexuality. I think I speak for the majority of all bisexual women when I say that I have often felt very lost and confused about my sexuality. Reading an autobiography of a woman such as Millett who has experienced that confusion and inner conflict has really helped me to just take a breath.

      If there is one lesson I have taken away from reading the works of these women it is this: Its okay to be bisexual. 
      Even now, I have moments where I feel I should be one over the other, I have days where I have such passion for men, and others where women are my every thought. But the fluidity of my preferences do not define me, and they do not define you.
      So, bisexuals, grab yourself a book that you can love like Adam and Eve.


      HRH xox 

      All pictures were taken from Wikipedia or the author's website.

      Instagram: @thelastredhead_
      Twitter: @hrhportman
      Wordpress: @thelastredhead

      H. R. H Portman, aka The Last Red Head, is a strident bisexual, intersectional feminist who doesn't hate men and likes to wear lipstick and lingerie for herself. As her name suggests, she is one of the few natural redheads in the world and since Prince Harry's engagement, her namesake will no doubt be put in the next Census statistics.
      As a result of graduating in the wrong century, She has been negotiating the perilous seas of millennial life. From writing about the graduate lifestyle to mental health to feminism and of course, books. (She needs to use her very expensive Combined honours in Creative Writing and English Literature somehow).
      She is from the Shire but currently resides in North London in a desperate bid to shake her Norfolk accent.

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