Let's Meet At Comi-Con
By Lewis Oakley
July 13, 2018
Photo credit: Unsplash/Mitch Rosen
Most bi people on Twitter will have seen the #BiSciFi hashtag. When you bring a bunch of people together, a culture will emerge, similarities will be shared, and often it's outside of the identity that brought them together in the first place.
Bi people in particular struggle to form communities, with Equalities Network reporting that 85% of bi people do not feel part of a bi community. Sadly, this means we have to make do with what we have, in this case, it's sharing our interests on Twitter.
Before we go any further, obviously not everyone who likes Sci-Fi is bi, and not everyone who is bi likes Sci-Fi but as someone who is eager to form a culture and wants to know the similarities I have with my bi brothers and sisters it's something I wanted to explore. If Twitter is telling me that a lot of bi folks like Sci-Fi, then what is driving the trend?
First, comic books have always been ahead of their time, you really can't be a lead character if you are "normal". They have a long history of diversity, Superman is a refugee, Black Canary is a meta-human, characters gender flip all the time, and popular character Constantine has been bi since 1992.
Some may also suggest it's because bi people empathize with people who have to live a double identity. Sadly only 12% of Bi men and 33% of bi women are out of the closet. This means the majority of bi people are leading a double life and having to wear a mask in society, especially at work. According to a study, 49 percent of bi men are not out to anyone at work, compared to just seven percent of gay men and four percent of lesbians. With this in mind maybe bi people are more likely to seek out media that glamourizes having a double identity or at least media that empathizes with having to have alter-egos at work and sadly sometimes even with those we love.
Yet there are these moments even for closeted bis, these great moments, whether that be in a bar or with a certain group of friends where we get to be ourselves, our true selves and we feel like heroes.
With this in mind should comic books cater more towards this market and look to introduce some more bi characters? I caught up with bi comic book writer Chris Baker whilst touring for his new book Apollo. Asked about bi representation in comic books Chris commented:
Bisexuality is the ultimate outsider trait. Comic books are riddled with characters who don't fit in or stay on the outside. That's the relatable bisexual hallmark, secrets, lies and fluidity. There really isn't a strong positive bi male presence. Personally I think Batman is one of us.... I would recommend one book that is the pure male bisexual comic. No one else has come close. Terror Assaulter O.M.W.O.T — by Benjamin Marra.
Not every bi person is going to like Sci-Fi but the "stereotype" shouldn't be seen as a bad thing. First, bi people having a stereotype that doesn't revolve around promiscuity or being confused is a great thing. Second, it proves that without having specific bars to congregate like gay men do, social media might be helping us form a culture and helping us bond outside of sharing our experiences of biphobia.
If enough bi people really do like Sci-Fi perhaps this could be a way to bring us together in the flesh. Many of us know there is a lack of bi-specific events and it can be hard to make friends at the ones that do exist. Friendship requires that you have more in common than your sexuality. If the bi community is interested in Sci-Fi, is it time to hold bi-specific talks and stalls at Comi-Con?
Comic-Cons exist all over the world, I recently attended one in London and purposely wore my bisexual T-shirt. I even got a chance to get a photo with Caity Lotz (aka Sara Lance/White Canary #bi2) Whilst no-one came up to me because of it, my girlfriend did remark that lots of people were looking over and smiling at us because of it. If my experience shows that Comic-Con is not an environment hostile to bi people, could it become a safe space for us to meet?
We can only hope. In the meantime, maybe it's also time comic book writers better understood their audience and wrote more bi characters.