Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Kramer Bussel’
I’ll be teaching Erotica 101 at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday in Atlanta for Sex 2.0, a one-day “unconference” where you can learn everything from “Sex blogging as a feminist project” with Elizabeth Wood of to “HOWTO: Gt the most out of sex/tech” with Regina Lynn to “Sex Styles of the Internet Famous” by Melissa Gira, description below, to my friend/roommate Twanna A. Hines‘s “A Brief History of Sex.” Also, not about sex, but on Sunday at 3 p.m. I’ll be playing cupcake bingo at Sweet Pockets – stop by if you like!
On the Internet, we’re all famous to fifteen people. Inevitably, you’ll date at least one of them. So how does one gracefully navigate Relationships 2-point-whatever? Is post-coital Twittering acceptable? Should you block an ex from your Flickr? Do we need to call in a couples’ counselor to revise our Facebook relationship status together? After the breakup, who gets custody of the secret sex vlog? A seriously self-effacing facilitated discussion of social networking & managing your identity online when that comes close to and at odds with that of your lovers & partners.
Read more about it with Amber Rhea’s interview with Cory Silverberg at About.com
Don’t forget – you can catch Violet Blue and other Best Sex Writing 2008 contributors Amy Andre (“The Study of Sex”), Violet Blue (“Kink.com and Porn Hysteria”), Jen Cross (“Surface Tensions”), Paul Festa (“How Insensitive”), and Melissa Gira (“The Pink Ghetto”) TONIGHT at The Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission Street (between 11th and South Van Ness), San Francisco. Free! Hosted by Carol Queen.
Violet Blue is the best-selling, award-winning author and editor of over a dozen books on sex and sexuality, all currently in print, a number of which have been translated into several languages; she has contributed to a number of nonfiction anthologies. Violet is a sex educator who lectures at UC’s and community teaching institutions, and writes about erotica, pornography, sexual pleasure and health for major publications and blogs. She is a professional sex blogger and femmebot; an author at Metroblogging San Francisco (Metblogs); a correspondent for Geek Entertainment Television; she is on the Gawker payroll as girl friday contibutor and editor at Fleshbot; in January 2007, Violet was named a Forbes Web Celeb 25. She is a San Francisco native and human blog. Violet is the sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle with a weekly column titled Open Source Sex, and has a podcast of the same name that frequents iTunes’ top ten.
What prompted your piece “Kink.com and Porn Hysteria: The Lie of Unbiased Reporting?” I know you were reacting to articles about Kink.com specifically, but how long had you been noticing this trend of unbiased reporting?
I write for the SF Chronicle; I’m their sex columnist. and on the same day my column ran “Open Source Sex” I had an interview with sex-positive alt porn director Eon McKai up. it was a great interview that showed the breaking down of porn’s redundant gender and physical stereotypes, the sex-positivity and inclusiveness of modern sex attitudes into the mainstream (which had been going on for a while, I was just drawing attention to the newest wave of it). porn from the POV of the makers, not the critics who don’t know what’s really going on. that week, local BDSM empire (and all-inclusive, sex-positive, politically minded local porn company) Kink.com had purchased the SF Armory for its new studio location. the Chron’s website bumped my column to the bottom of the page and ran a totally anti-porn, completely biased piece about a staged “protest” in front of the Armory — many have said that even the number of protesters stated in the piece was incorrect and more than the few who showed up. the website showed photos of Kink employees who were there to wash the building and called them “protesters” (though later corrected their mistakes).
the piece was so anti-porn, and especially anti-kink, I saw red. especially since Kink is one of the most incredible places to work — they threat their employees better than any company I’ve seen (except for Google), the performers are treated with respect, paid really well, have hair and makeup people and are regarded as Olympic athletes. the cleanliness standards should be envied by every restaurant in San Francisco and copied by every porn company in the world. and the owner’s mission is to demystify kinky sex, normalize it, and make the world a better place for all sexual outsiders for doing do. the Chron’s hit piece disgusted me, the rest of mainstream media predictably followed suit, and I wrote a powerful response.
the reaction at the paper was extreme. let’s just say mainstream media found it a bitter pill to swallow when I criticized their lock-step anti-porn and anti-sex bias within its own pages. it was quite a scandal. but that’s what happens when a paper hires a blogger, you know?
You contrast religious groups’ opposition to porn with the coverage in mainstream papers like The New York Times and your own San Francisco Chronicle. Do you feel the anti-porn groups have been successful in getting their POV into mainstream papers or is it simply lazy reporting?
it’s both; mainstream media still sits behind its cozy little Fourth Estate wall of authority and assumption that everyone agrees sex is bad and wrong; journalists don’t have to bother questioning this point of view, even though the world’s view on sex has changed (and is changing rapidly) around them. MSM needs to get sex positive, because we can only make fun of them for so long…ultimately their attitudes are causing them to miss telling real stories and reporting with accuracy, which I think the corrective nature of the blogosphere will reign in eventually. but not without scandal and humiliation first — on the part of the sex-negative press. sex is normal, and they need to get over thinking people will agree with their assumptions of sexual shame. but I do feel that the anti-porn groups, while way smaller than the millions of people who feel the opposite, have been effective in disrupting accurate reporting about sex and porn. they’re loud, they have government backing, and everyone at Fox wants to keep their jobs; they talk about sex a lot, just as long as it’s bad and wrong, no problem.
Was there or has there been any positive mainstream coverage of Kink.com?
yes: the New York Times piece was a real piece of reporting, and in its unbiased accuracy reflected Kink’s positive impact.
What do you make of the fact that the porn industry seems to be flourishing, and certainly there’s much more porn available in more varied forms, with this continued insistence on including anti-porn viewpoints in major papers?
I think the mainstream porn industry is struggling to keep up with changing technology and how it’s consumed (just like Hollywood), but porn in general — especially homemade — is totally flourishing. people don’t read the papers anymore, or they know they don’t need to; they shop for their news and information now, and I think the democracy of consumption is reflected in people’s refusal to swallow lines about sex and porn being bad, when their individual experiences online are showing them otherwise. sex has become normal and healthy for many people, and they might click on a sex scandal story to see what the sex workers say about their jobs, but most aren’t buying that sex workers are Diane Sawyer’s sad stereotypes. they can go to wakingvixen or $pread and see a bunch of empowered women. people aren’t stupid — or, at least they’re not in the dark for information anymore and know when they’re getting a one-sided view.
Is there anything porn fans/consumers, not to mention creators, can do to make their voices heard? It seems to me that the anti-porn lobby also preys on porn users’ insecurities over porn and sex and assumes that there aren’t people willing to stand up and say that porn is both legal, as you point out, and can be healthy.
blog. vlog. make more media. show that you’re real people. link to people who show sex is good and healthy; don’t link to douchebags.
What are the main ways you think mainstream media gets porn wrong?
MSM needs to erase all their preconceptions about porn and start over again. they’ve been so mired in sensationalism, religious dogma, erroneous studies pushed by fundamentalists and dated stereotypes about exploitation and degradation that they have no idea what’s really going on in the worlds of porn and sex online. who is being exploited by gay porn, by the way? and, with all the baggage MSM brings to ordinary, self-defined sex work and healthy sexual expression, we can’t actually find the real voices of the people who do get exploited and need help. it’s shameful.
Do you think mainstream journalists are anti-porn, or simply want to give the appearance of being so? Is there any advantage to them to not including a fairer portrait of the industry?
the tradition of their jobs force them to posit anti-sex and anti-porn points of view. to do otherwise would cost them their jobs.
What can journalists do to become better versed in porn and provided more accurate coverage? What resources would you recommend journalists covering porn to check out to get a broader view of the topic?
What are you working on next?
Best Women’s Erotica 2009, trying to pull a web show together, more GETV (always!), writing about my teen years as a homeless kid on the streets, finding time to cuddle with my cat, sip fine absinthe, good chocolates, and ravage a certain Hacker Boy. oh, and change the cultural conversation about sex.
From the latest issue of Forum UK:
Rounding up the most incisive, provocative and bizarre articles on sex published in the last 12 months, author and senior editor at Variations magazine Rachel Kramer Bussel presents a selection as mouthwatering as her other area of specialist interest, the cupcake. The collected articles range from Kevin Keck’s wryly amusing Double Your Panic, in which he tells how every man’s dream of bedding twins becomes a nightmare when you’re about to become the father of a set, to Tristan Taormino’s alarming look at the use of phthalates in cheap sex toys, Dangerous Dildoes, which is guaranteed make you think twice when you buy your next vibrator, and Ashlea Halpern’s harrowing Battle Of The Sexless, which examines the plight of men who will go to any length to become eunuchs. If that’s not enough, there are also investigations into the phenomenon of ‘naked parties’ on campus, the unsafe sex lives of the over-fifties and the truth about wedding night sex.
Scott Poulson-Bryant’s profile of Lexington Steele, The Hung List, fails to say much beyond ‘America doesn’t like its black porn stars to be too black’ (a comment which could be leveled at its black female singing stars and potential Presidential candidates…) and the think pieces on the whole are less interesting than the reportage, but Best Sex Writing 2008 proves that the quality of writing about sex I generally as high and thought-provoking as it has ever been.
What great news – my publisher Cleis Press has asked me to edit Best Sex Writing 2009. If you’re reading this site, you have an idea of the kind of work I’m looking for; I’d also love any tips or recommendations.
Call for submissions: Best Sex Writing 2009
To be edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Publication date: November 2008
Deadline for submissions: May 1, 2008
Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel is looking for personal essays and reportage for inclusion in the 2009 edition of the Cleis Press series Best Sex Writing, which will hit stores in November 2008. Seeking articles from across the sexual spectrum, covering alternative sexuality, reproductive rights and sexuality, sex education, sex and technology, sex work, sex and aging, sex and parenting, sex and religion, sex and race, sex and disability, BDSM, polyamory, gender roles, etc. These topics are just starting points; any writings covering the topic of sex will be considered. Personal essays will also be considered. I like work that looks at sex in new and unusual ways, that challenges us to think about sex and our own sexuality, is thought-provoking and possibly disturbing. I want sex journalism that’s found in the most unexpected places.
Previous editions of the annual series have featured authors such as Susannah Breslin, Susie Bright, Stephen Elliott, Tristan Taormino, Virginia Vitzhum, Gael Greene, Michael Musto, and others. See Best Sex Writing 2008 for examples of the types of writing being sought (introduction and more information at https://bestsexwriting2008.wordpress.com). I’m especially looking for reported pieces that are political, timely, intelligent, surprising, and insightful about sex in American culture (and its many subcultures).
About the editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel (www.rachelkramerbussel.com) is a prolific author and editor. She hosts In The Flesh Reading Series and has edited or co-edited over a dozen erotica books, most recently Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am, Best Sex Writing 2008, and Crossdressing.
Requirements: Story must have been published (or slated to be published) between June 1, 2007 and October 31, 2008, online and/or in print (book, magazine, zine or newspaper) in the United States.
Instructions: Please send your double-spaced submission (up to 6,000 words) as a Word document or RTF attachment to bestsexwriting2009 at gmail.com – you may submit a maximum of TWO pieces for consideration. You MUST include your full contact information, a bio, and previous publication details as per below.
If for some reason you are unable to send a Word document or RTF, send your submission in the body of an email. Put BSW09 in the subject line. Include your name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and exact publication details (title of publication, date of publication, and any other relevant information). ONLY SEND WORK YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REPRINT.
Editors may submit up to three submissions from their publication, following the guidelines above. Please make it clear that you are the editor submitting work for consideration from your publication, and have the author’s contact information available upon request.
Email address (for queries and submissions): bestsexwriting2009 at gmail.com
Deadline: May 1, 2008
Expect to hear back from me by October 2008 at the latest.
Here’s the latest in my interview series of Best Sex Writing 2008 contributors.
Gael Greene wrote “The Insatiable Critic” column for New York magazine for more than thirty years and remains on the staff, writing a weekly “Ask Gael” column. The author of Blue Skies, No Candy, Doctor Love, and other books, she is also cofounder (with James Beard) and board chair of Citymeals-on-Wheels, an organization that delivers 2.2 million meals a year to elderly housebound New Yorkers. She lives in New York City. Visit her at www.insatiable-critic.com.
What prompted you to write your memoir, Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess, and who would you say is your intended audience?
I wanted to tell the story of how New York City and America fell in love with food from my early days as a foodie-ahead-of-the-times, before I forgot it and before people who weren’t there rewrote it. Feeling that the sexual revolution had prepared Americans for the food revolution by seeding sensualism, I wanted to tell that story too. In each decade what was happening culturally, on the streets and in the stock market, affected what we ate.
What has the reaction to the memoir been like? Did you get any flak from people who primarily think of you as a food critic for writing about your personal life?
There were some passionate food lovers who were offended by the erotic memoir. Some of the men in my life were pleased to be left out of the book and a few I neglected to mention were hurt. One wrote asking if we could meet for lunch so he could audition for the second volume.
The excerpt in Best Sex Writing 2008 (“The Prince of Porn and the Junk-Food Queen”) is about your dalliance with porn star Jamie Gillis. Looking back on that time of your life, is there anything you’d do differently? How did it feel to relive that era while writing Insatiable?
It was emotionally draining to remember all the sad times and mad times in the book but what fun to relive the great moments. I could almost taste the astonishment of dinner at Fredy Girardet and memories of incredible times in bed were so vivid.
Since you cover both of them extensively in your memoir, what do you see as the connection between food and sex?
Obviously, two of the greatest sensuous pleasures consenting adults can share. It seems so obvious…we use the same senses in both eating and making love — the eyes, the nose, the ears, the sense of taste. The more in touch one is with one’s sensuality, the more pleasure, and the greatest pleasure is in the moment. The ability to enjoy the moment is a gift.
Has he been in touch with you since Insatiable was published or have you seen him recently?
Jamie Gillis is living with Zarela Martinez, the restaurateur — she met him a few years ago at my birthday. They seem quite together and happy. The four of us had dinner two weeks ago.
What does the word “insatiable” mean to you?
Literally, “insatiable” means not being able to be satisfied. I have never found satisfaction elusive. New York magazine’s creator Clay Felker thought Insatiable Critic was amusing and my then husband did too, so it’s on my New York magazine column and my web site.
For me, too much of a good thing is just barely enough.
You are now writing for your own website, Insatiablecritic.com, in addition to your New York magazine column and other food writing. What’s different about writing on the web vs. print? Has being able to update the site whenever you want changed how quickly you write your reviews?
The big difference is I decide what I want to cover and how long to write. Alas, another difference is I have no determined fact checker on the site as I do at New York, although I do have two editors who read for typos, grammar, spelling. Everything is faster now than it was in 1968 when New York magazine was born and I came on as the critic; nobody waits for a restaurant to settle in. The competition is huge, beyond imagining. Most of my blog postings are about first visits to new restaurants, although some of the stronger pieces are rediscoveries of places and chefs I have admired.
Do you get more feedback from readers from the website vs. your New York magazine column?
The instant feedback of an email to the site is apparently very tempting.
What’s your favorite recent restaurant find?
I loved the food at Dovetail on the Upper West Side. Bar Boulud is a great gift to the Lincoln Center area. Chop Suey in the Renaissance Hotel will be good if it stays consistent. The Smith is better than it needs to be for the NYU students it draws and the amazing low prices.
You did a roundup of 2007’s Best Dishes on your site. In general, do you prefer to revisit old favorites or try new places?
After three or four new places that aren’t wonderful, I desperately need to go back to a restaurant I love.
What can visitors to Insatiablecritic.com look forward to in the near future?
I’ll keep up with what’s new. I hope my readers will feed me more good food world gossip. Every week, we post more vintage articles from the earliest days of New York magazine, not available anywhere else on the web. I think they are fun to read for those of us who were there, and newly obsessed foodies who want to know what it was like.
My fantabulous, awesome, amazing (she really is all those things and more!) Cleis Press publicist Kara Wuest interviewed me about Best Sex Writing 2008 and sex journalism generally. Read the whole interview – here’s a snippet:
KW: The intersection of sex and the law was a recurring topic in many of these pieces. Is it impossible to talk about modern sexuality without acknowledging how much trouble you can get into?
RKB: Well, I think sex and the law will always be intricately tied together. We tend not to think about the ways our sexuality is shaped by the law until it’s infringed upon. I love that Ariel Levy’s excellent article “Dirty Old Women” is also included in Best Crime Writing 2007, and in many ways she looks at why and whether and how statutory rape works when it’s female on male, and some of the assumptions, legal and cultural, around it. Trixie Fontaine’s look at not just the legal implications of menstruation porn, but the financial ones, was fascinating, and showed that money doesn’t trump all. It’s hard to say who the villain(s) are in Ashlea Halpern’s piece and she does a great job showing that this doctor who acted outside the law by performing sex change surgery may have seen himself as doing something positive (or else just didn’t care and wanted to make money). I found Kelly Kyrik’s piece about those who go after child sex predators fascinating as well, because those working on the side of the law have to try to get into the heads of pedophiles. And all of these are in stark contrast to “Sex in Iran,” where there’s a huge discrepancy between the letter of the law and what’s actually happening.
KW: Which contributions were the most surprising to you?
JL: Jill Eisenstadt’s “To Have of Have Not: Sex on the Wedding Night” surprised me because I wasn’t looking for it. It wasn’t a formal submission to the book or something I’d bookmarked along the way. I happened to be reading an anthology called Altared, about women’s takes on modern weddings, and found her insightful essay questioning whether anyone gets busy on their wedding night anymore. And Ashlea Halpern’s “Battle of the Sexless” gave me chills. I’d never really thought about eunuchs before, and her piece is both heartbreaking and fascinating and touches on the law, medicine, gender identity, and so much more. I know many people won’t be able to get through it, and it’s a very visceral, tough piece, but all the more provocative and powerful for it.
My friend Jason Boog over at his excellent writing/publishing-themed website The Publishing Spot did a 5-part Q&A with me (last one’s up tomorrow) and also has some footage from the Best Sex Writing 2008 party:
Also, in separate but related news, Jezebel (a multiple Bloggie nominee!)has a great post up by Jessica Grose, with lots of debate in the comments, called “Shiksa Studies: Why Don’t Jewish Women Get Any Pop Cultural Love?” and it includes an excerpt from my interview with Rachel Shukert about Jewish girls and blowjobs.
Radar is declaring, in its typically amusing and tongue-in-cheek fashion, that this year’s hottest accessory for shiksas is a Jewish husband. You know what? Tongue-in-cheek or not, I’m over Jewish dudes getting all the love. You never hear about Jewish women being the hottest, well, anything; while Woody Allen is off bagging WASP goddesses Mariel Hemmingway and Diane Keaton in Manhattan, cultural stereotypes of female Jews show us to be fleshy, frumpy, sexless overbearing mothers with big noses and unruly hair. Rachel Shukert, the far from frumpy sex writer, thinks that “Jewish men have really had a large part in disseminating those [negative] stereotypes” of Jewish women.
Last week, after our group reading, we did a joint podcast interview, all five of us, for Bat Segundo. I’m only sorry I don’t have a photo of us all sitting around with huge microphones at a pizza place! That is probably the most interesting location I’ve ever done an interview in! Click below to listen to me, Rachel Shukert, Liz Langley, Lux Nightmare and Miriam Datskovsky.
Manleez.com also did video interviews with us which will be up soon; for now, read Jordan Manley’s take on the book.
And more reviews are coming soon, along with some cool interviews with contributors.
My friend Jason Boog over at The Publishing Spot</a> interviewed me for his “Five Easy Questions” segment. I think my answers were so long he’s running them in more than one part. And I love the title he gave the piece: “How To Write About Sex Without Sounding Like A Spam Email”
Here’s a snippet:
It takes a lot to write frankly and vividly about sex. There are so many clichés and taboos to steer around. What’s your advice for a writer looking to write more physical, sensual, and sexy nonfiction? How can we avoid clichés and stop gettting hung up on taboos?
Rachel Kramer Bussel:
I think the first thing to do is to forget about anything you think you “should” do. We all talk and think about sex differently, so the words that may feel right to me might not be right to you. I think sometimes people make the mistake that simply writing about sex is automatically titillating, when that’s not the case at all. You can write smart nonfiction about sex that’s insightful without being clinical – and you can also write erotica that’s actually not sexy at all.
Being honest, with yourself and your audience, is foremost. If that means using a pseudonym, use a pseudonym, but you don’t want to be cagey. I don’t mean you have to be clinical, I just mean don’t make assumptions about what your readers are into sexually.
Amy Andre has a master’s degree in human sexuality studies from San Francisco State University. She works as a sex educator and writer.
What inspired your article “The Study of Sex?”
I’m actually the guest lecturer I refer to in the essay. I’ve lectured in Dr. Nick Baham’s class a number of times. He’s doing great work, and I wanted to spread the word.
Your essay starts off with a description of a course called African-American Sexuality and goes on to talk about how race is handled in the field of sexuality studies and the lack of people of color in the field. How is race dealt with generally in the sexuality studies classes you’ve taken? What are some of the areas where the intersection of race and sexuality should be explored in academia, in your opinion?
Sexuality and race are two things that infuse every element of people’s lives. So I feel they should be in every area of academia. When I was in grad school, I was lucky enough to have a couple of professors who were very cognizant of their importance. But that was not the case in every class.
That course was actually part of the Ethnic Studies Department. Do you think a course like that also belongs in other departments?
Absolutely. I would love to see it replicated in Ethnic Studies departments across the country; it belongs in Sexuality Studies departments, too. As far as Nick and I know, his is the only course of its kind anywhere in the US, and, in fact, the world.
You quote SFSU Human Sexuality Studies professor Rita Melendez who says that the word sexuality “gets associated with white people,” and that if it’s in the title of a course, people of color tend not to sign up for that. Based on your own experiences and research, why do you think that is, and what can the field of sexuality studies do to be more welcoming to people of color?
She’s right. For example, even though SFSU, where I got my master’s degree, is, like many California universities, a majority minority school (most students are people of color, and mostly Asian American), the students in the Sexuality Studies master’s program are mostly white. When I was a student there, I was one of three students of color in my graduating class, and the only African American. Sexuality scholarship seems to have a reputation as being a white field, and that’s to the detriment of everyone, current scholars as well as potential scholars. Professors who are passionate about diversity should follow the example that Nick and Rita are setting.
Another interesting notion you bring up is a quote from California State University Professor Nick Baham about BDSM being a “political act.” What’s your take on that notion?
I agree. It’s political because engaging in BDSM is so recreational (as opposed to procreational), that it’s really the loudest you can metaphorically scream “I deserve erotic pleasure.” And that’s a political statement.
One of the first comments on the article at Alternet is an objection to its even being posted there on religious grounds, and religion is also something you touch on in the article. Is there a greater degree of tension between traditional religious beliefs and the field of sexuality studies from people of color?
I’m a non-practicing Jew, so I can’t speak from experience here, only from what I’ve read. But I have not read any social science research indicating that people of color are (a.) more religious than white people; (b.) more sex-negative than white people. There’s a stereotype, for example, that African Americans are more homophobic than whites (and that this homophobia is linked to the involvement of African Americans in Christianity). But, in fact, all the research I have read shows that the opposite is true: white people are just as homophobic as blacks, and blacks are just as LGBT-rights-affirming as whites. That’s a social scientific fact.
You have a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality. Was that also what you studied for your undergraduate degree, and what drew you to the field?
I have a BA in psychology. What drew me to sexuality was the just that I love sex. I’m constantly curious about it. I love to read about what other people do and why they do it. Also, I’m bisexual, and I am especially interested in understanding bisexual identity, politics, health, community issues, etc.
What do you see as the future of Sexuality Studies? Where would you like to see it go?
I would like to see sexuality studies focus a lot more on bisexuality. I recently co-authored Bisexual Health, a book published by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and bisexuals are experiencing a major health crisis. When we look at health status in relation to sexual orientation, people who identify as bisexual (which is, by the way, 50% of all those who identify as either gay, lesbian, or bi) have poorer physical and mental health than people of any other orientation. There’s a lot of work to be done.
What is a typical class you’re taking now like? What do most people in your field want to do after they finish their studies?
Right now, I’m getting an MBA, so a typical class is about finance and math! Coming from the social sciences, and as a writer, I feel very much like a fish out of water. Most people with MBAs go into the corporate world, but I’m planning a career in the nonprofit world, specifically focused on the needs of LGBT people.
In terms of sexuality studies, most of the people I got my first master’s with ended up back in school, working on PhDs, or working as researchers doing sex research at local universities.
You’ve been doing a lot of press around Lisa Diamond’s recent study on women and bisexuality. Can you tell us more about your thoughts on that and the general media treatment of bisexuality? Do you feel the topic is overly sensationalized in mainstream news outlets?
Lisa Diamond’s study shows that, for bisexual women, attraction to people of more than one gender remains consistent over time. Of course, to bi women, this comes as no surprise. I came out as bi when I was 14, which was almost 20 years ago, and I’ve never wavered from that. What she’s proving is that being bi isn’t a phase. The idea that it is a phase – and that phases are bad or wrong or inauthentic – is not only biphobic to me, but also confusing. Why would desire not based on gender be temporary? Why would desire based on gender be the ideal permanent state? I don’t have anything against monosexual (gay and straight) people – in fact, I’m engaged to one – but I do object to a monosexual-centric imperative.
There is definitely a lot of sensationalism happening in the mainstream media. It’s almost as though journalists can’t figure out any other way to present bisexuals.
You directed the short documentary film On My Skin about a transgender man and his family. Can you tell us more about the film and how it came about?
On My Skin is about my friend Logan Gutierrez-Mock. He and I got our sexuality masters degrees together. For fun, after I graduated, I took a free intro-level film class at a local community center. My fiancée, Kami, is a film-maker, and I love visiting her on sets and watching her in action, so I thought it would be cool to learn how to make one. Logan had just come back from Mexico, where his grandfather is from, and he had blogged about his journey. He was also just starting to transition from female-to-male and had a lot to say about his family and his gender. I decided to make a film based on his blog, and six months later, On My Skin was born and showing at film festivals all over the world. It’s even been translated into Spanish for the showings in Latin America and Spain!
What are the differences for you in working in academia and working in film? Do you prefer one over the other?
Other than giving guest lectures on topics like bisexual health, I don’t work in academia. And, other than directing On My Skin, I wouldn’t say I work in film, either!
What are you working on now?
Currently, outside of being a full-time MBA student, I’m writing a book, getting essays published in various places, and promoting Bisexual Health, which is available on the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force website as a free PDF download. And bringing On My Skin (which is available on my site, amyandre.com) to universities; it’s perfect for Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Sexuality Studies classrooms. Oh, and I’m also planning my wedding. I stay pretty busy. 😉