By Bryna Campbell
Last month, William and I wrote a four post series on themes related to Pride Month. These included:
- Our response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando
- Part I and Part II of a set of posts by William about growing up gay in the country
- A post by me on issues of Bi-phobia and Bi-visibility
What follows is a response to requests we’ve received for more information on the themes we addressed. Of course, this is just a beginning of what is a rich and complex set of issues connected to the LGBTQ community. But nonetheless, here are some resources and links to help get you started if you are interested in learning more about the issues we explored in our posts.
Reflections on Orlando Nightclub Shooting
For the last month or so, scores of essays and reports have been published on the details of the shooting. One worth reading (again if you already have once) is this article in New York Times about how the attacks has pushed some in the queer community (particularly in the Latino queer community in Orlando) to come out. I’ll spare links to anything specific to the attack since you can find them easily online, though if you haven’t seen the broadcast of Anderson Cooper reading the victims’ names, it is a powerful tribute to these individuals worth looking up on YouTube.
The attack in Orlando is the latest in a long history of violence directed towards the LGBTQ community. You can find a timeline of major mass attacks worldwide at National Geographic. The Atlantic touches upon recent violence towards individuals within the queer community in this recent article. A note before you click these links: neither of these articles are comprehensive (neither makes more than brief mention of Matthew Shepard’s horrific murder, for example). But the National Geographic timeline, especially, provides a useful framework to think about Orlando from a global context.
Finally, if you are interested in finding a way to become involved in LGBTQ activism, GLSEN and The LGBTQ Task Force, are useful places to start and learn more. Most local municipalities and college campus also have their own LGBTQ centers.
Growing up Queer in the Country
One of the major themes that William touched upon in his set of essays is his intersectional identity as a gay Christian man. The Gay Christian Network is a useful resource for those interested in learning more about this topic. It attempts to take a balanced perspective regarding different nuanced theological points of view. And if you are indeed interested in learning more, feel free to contact William directly via his email or twitter account posted at our Contact page; he has acquaintances who’ve gone to their conference or regularly present at it.
William also recommends the book God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines, executive director of the Reformation Project. William has a friend and former colleague who now works for Matthew, so feel free to connect with him if you want to learn more.
Queer theology is a dense field of study with lots of challenging viewpoints. William is happy provide you with more resources should be interested in contacting him directly. One useful introduction is the book, Radical Love: Introduction to Queer Theology.
Bi-(In)visibility and Bi-Phobia
In my blog post I made quoted an essay at length that Elle Dowd published on Medium. This essay is a good starting point for learning more about the double edged quality of bi-invisibility. Dowd also provides a link to a useful essay on the concept of bi-erasure from GLAAD that can provide even more clarity. Just wanting to know more about bisexuality and why it gets stereotyped, even within the queer community? Nathanial Frank’s 2014 essay in Slate on the subject is useful starting point (with a helpful link, incidentally, to public health concerns related to bi phobia).
Finally, in my post I also mentioned the lack of positive bisexual characters in popular culture. One exception (or so I thought..) is Orange is the New Black, which features several richly developed characters that are clearly bisexual. I still recommend watching it for its representations of sexuality (and its general awesomeness), but I have since come across several essays that highlight a central problem of the show: never – including in its most recent season – does the show use the word “bisexual.” There are several essays that cover this issue from a range of approaches. A more optimistic analysis, from 2013 on season 1, can be found at Huffington Post. For a more critical analysis, related to the newest season (so spoiler alert!) and why the absence of this word is no small thing, see McKenna Ferguson’s essay at Pride.com. Incidentally, Ferguson also discusses the importance of another key bisexual character on screen, Callie from Grey’s Anatomy.