Throughout June, GeekMom celebrates Pride Month with lots of LGBTQ content. Follow the Pride Month tag to find all the content in one space (including LGBTQ content from previous years) and keep checking back for more throughout the month. Today’s book review is Bi the Way: The Bisexual Guide to Life by Lois Shearing.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links.
Trigger Warnings: contextual references to biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, rape, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, self-harm, suicide, and drug abuse.
Bi the Way: The Bisexual Guide to Life by Lois Shearing is a non-fiction book that explores bisexuality including its history; biphobia and bi-erasure; finding the bi community; and understanding what bisexuality is in the first place.
Split over ten chapters (and with ample resources at the end) Bi the Way is the only book you’ll need to begin understanding bisexuality. Every chapter title is a question and these begin with the ones anyone questioning their sexuality is likely to have at the front of their mind: “Am I Bi?” and “What If I Have a Preference?” These chapters explore the fluid nature of bisexuality and look at it in comparison with other broad sexualities such as pansexuality. The book then moves on to explore whether bisexuality reinforces the gender binary (it doesn’t), the choice of whether or not you should come out, and what dating is like for bisexuals.
The second half of the book looks at the history of bisexuality and the issues faced by bisexuals then and today. The chapter on history was especially eye-opening as it showed how bisexuals have always been around and also heavily involved in the gay rights movement despite a popular narrative that shows us as riding in on the coattails of gay men and lesbians “without actually being a part of the fight.” The concepts of biphobia and bi-erasure are explored in detail before an in-depth look at the issues faced by bisexuals today that include vastly increased rates of mental illness, homelessness, domestic abuse, and self-harm over any other group. These high rates are even worse for bisexuals who are marginalized in other ways including those who are disabled, transgender, and bisexuals of color. The book ends on a positive note, however, with a look at bi communities around the world and the work they are doing—despite extra hardships—to help bisexuals in every part of the world.
Bi the Way is a well-researched book filled with the voices of dozens of people who identify as bisexual, although, as the author notes, there is a very strong Western bias to the experiences shared here. There are, naturally, many sections that are hard to read including those that detail the increased risks faced by the bisexual community and many of the anecdotes that have been included, but these are outweighed by the positive experiences shared across dozens of stories about finding an accepting community and becoming comfortable with who you really are.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone questioning their own feelings and wondering if they may be bisexual themselves, and also to friends and family of anyone who has recently come out as bisexual as it will help them to understand much more about what it means and how to support their loved one.
GeekMom received a copy of this book for review purposes.