Biphobia and Bi Erasure

What do these two terms mean?

Male_and_female_sign.svgBiphobia is to bisexuals as homophobia is to homosexuals. Except people who identify as bisexual can also face homophobia. And homosexuals can be biphobic. Bisexual people face scrutiny from all ends of the spectrum of sexuality. Why? In many cases it’s because people believe that bisexuality doesn’t exist. Too often are bisexuals told that they’re being indecisive or that they’re going through a phase. This is considered bi erasure, a manifestation of biphobia. Homosexuals are just as likely to be guilty of bi erasure, and are sometimes more likely to be biphobic to reaffirm their own monosexual relationships. Bisexuals are often seen as promiscuous, tarnishing the gay and lesbian attempt to achieve heteronormative unions.

Even if this were the case, participation in polyamory should not be a reason to ex-communicate a group of people who have undergone similar oppression on the basis of their sexual orientation. More importantly, the myth that bisexual people are unable to love or commit in the same ways a homosexual or heterosexual can needs to be eliminated. Some bisexual people commit to long term monogamous relationships, some bisexual people enjoy short term sexual relations — the same happens for all sexual orientations and should not be a factor in determining the validity of one’s sexual identity. Bisexual people exist. It’s time to get over it.

March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is Mental Health. Don’t forget to let the bisexual people in your life know that you care — that you acknowledge and validate their identity. The fact of the matter is bisexual people are more likely to suffer from depression, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide than both homosexuals and heterosexuals. We need to let bisexual people know that they are a part of the greater LGBT community.

Bisexual PoliticsStop by the LGBT Library to check out some of our resources.

Free counseling is also available. Contact to schedule an appointment.

For more information on bisexual health, check out:

In the Beginning, There was a March

imageOn Oct. 11, 1987, half a million people participated in the second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.  It is often referred to as “The Great March” and involved protests in front of the Internal Revenue Services Court, along with the unveiling of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.  The demonstration results in the founding of a number of LGBT organizations, including the National Latino/a Gay & Lesbian Organization.  Rob Eichberg, founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O’Leary, then head of National Gay Rights Advocates came up with the idea of a national day to celebrate coming out and chose the anniversary of that The Great March to mark it.  National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was born. Logo_ncod_lg

This Saturday marks the 26th Anniversary of National Coming Out Day.  NCOD serves as a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out.  According to Human Rights Campaign, one out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian, and for transgender people, that number is only one in ten.

Every person who speaks up changes more hearts and minds, creating new advocates for equality.  I’ve gathered some materials and resources to celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or as an ally.

1. Check out some of our favorite coming out books and movies, including:

Boys Like Us: Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories
Testimonies by Karen Barber
Testimonies by Karen Barber







2. The Human Rights Campaign celebrates National Coming Out Day on this YouTube video.

3. Check out R U Coming Out, a site dedicated to inspire, support, and unite those who are living their lives either completely, or partially in the closet.  The main focus of the site is the stories: people from all over their world share their own personal accounts of Coming Out.  The purpose of this site is not to encourage people to Come Out before they are ready or to make them feel under any pressure to do things in a particular way; it is simply a source of first hand accounts from people who have already been through, and are still going through, the process themselves.

4. Check out coming out guides and other resources provided by the Human Rights Campaign.

5. If you’re a straight ally, check out Coming Out as a Straight Supporter.

6. And finally, check out some of the more creative ways to come out of the closet courtesy of BuzzFeed: 24 Awesomely Creative Way to Come Out of the Closet. and 41 Awesome Ways to Come Out to Your Friends and Family

Back to College

With the new semester starting up next week, now is a good time to take a look at some books on LGBT college life.  Whether you’re a freshman just starting off or a more experienced Indiana University Student, below are some resources that may be of use to you. Stop by the GLBT Student Services Office to see these items and more on display!

 Straight and Gay Talk from IU Students: A 23 minute long DVD recording of a student panel discussion on GLBT – Straight relations and concerns, responding to street interviews with IU students

[DOC STRA 2008]


 The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life 

by John Baez, Jennifer Howd, Rachel Pepper and the Staff of the Princeton Review         [5.340 PRIga 2008]



By Harlen Cohen     [5.540 COHna 2009]



directed by Jeremy Simmons     [DOC TRAN 2005]

An eight episode DVD documentary focusing on the lives of four transgender college students.


edited by Shane L. Windmeyer and Pamela W. Freeman    

[5.546 WINse 2000]


edited by Shane L. Windmeyer     [5.544 WINbr 2005]



If you’re new to IU, a listing of LGBT related campus groups and offices is available at the GLBT Office’s IU Community page.  For keeping up with the latest happenings, the IUB GLBT News and Events page is a great place to start.

Some more helpful websites are listed below.

  • CAMPUS PRIDE: news and info on LGBT college life and leadership
  • LAMBDA 10: a variety of articles and resources for the LGBTA Greek community

Our New Online Catalog

In case you haven’t already noticed, one of the biggest recent changes at the library is that our catalog is now available online through LibraryThing.  If you’re new to LibraryThing or if you want to learn more, take a look at our guide to using LibraryThing. You can easily search for books or browse the collection using tags.  Below are some extra tips for your hunt!

  • If you get too many results using title keywords, try adding on the year the book was published. (example: the search  gay life gets 102 results, but gay life 2007 gets only 2 results)
  • Like Google, LibraryThing will search all words together as a phrase if you add quotation marks.  (example: gay life = search for books with gay and life in the title, “gay life” = search for term  gay life) Check out LibraryThing’s wiki for more in depth search tips.

Unfortunately call numbers can’t be represented with ease in this new system.  Call numbers are now represented in the tags assigned to each book.  Just click on the tags tab to view.

(example: 2 History means that 2 is the first number of the item’s call number,  9.65 Horror indicates that the first three numbers of the items call number.)

The call numbers for DVDs work a bit differently.  Once you locate the item you want in the catalog, write down the first four letters of the title and the year the item was published. The word “the” is ignored.  This gives you the call number for feature films. (example: Orlando=ORLA 1999, The Rocky Horror Picture Show=ROCK 1998)

Add DOC to the beginning of all this and you’ve got the call number for a DVD documentary. (example: Tongues Untied=DOC TONG 1991)

For television series, add TV. (example: Angels in America=TV ANGE 2004)

As always, if you have trouble locating something feel free to ask for assistance!

Magazines for all

Magazines are a great way to keep up with recent news and trends. The LGBT community is quite a diverse group and luckily there is a wide variety of magazines out there that cater to many of the community’s interests.  Wikipedia’s long international List of LGBT periodicals definitely serves as proof.

In the mood for magazine reading? Current issues of the following titles are available for perusing at Indiana University’s GLBT Student Services Office Library.

  • Curve: Lesbian popular culture, politics, news, style and travel
  • Out: Entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle info for the gay and lesbian community
  • Teaching Tolerance: News and articles on bringing social justice and education together.  Issues are also available free of charge online
  • The Advocate: One of the oldest continuing LGBT publications in the United States

If you’re interested in older articles or working on a presentation or craft project that requires pictures, old magazines discarded to the magazine rack near the back door are free to take.

Also, many publications offer issues free of charge online or exist only as free online magazines. Below is a sampling of what the internet has to offer.  Know of any good ones that aren’t on the list? Please feel free to share them in the comments section!

  • Adelante: for the Latino LGBT community
  • Avenues: bimonthly newsletter for asexual community
  • Cue Magazine:  info on USA LGBT life and local issues for Chicago (coming soon), Pittsburgh, and Columbus Ohio
  • Echelon: online LGBT business magazine
  • Whosoever: online magazine for LGBT Christians


Looking for a good book to read?

 photo credit: Flickr user katieb50

Ever feel like you’ve been looking in all the wrong places for a good read?

This week, I thought I’d highlight a few resources that are valuable to help with your search. Of course, the staff and volunteers at the library are happy to help you with whatever you may be looking for, but this post will provide a starting place for you to browse whatever topic or genre may interest you.

  • — The homepage of the Lambda Literary Awards.  This site contains book reviews, interviews, articles, news and more.
  • Rainbow Project — Recommended GLBTQ books for young readers. A joint project of the GLBT Roundtable and the Social Responsibilities Roundtable of the American Library Association
  • Queer YA — a blog by Daisy Porter, a public librarian in Chicago
  • GLBT Reviews — Book and movie reviews, again from the GLBT Round Table of ALA
  • My Story Book Club — Young adult book club on GoodReads Lambda Literary Foundation’s My Story Book Club, in association with Gay Straight Educators Alliance and the National Council for Teachers of English