BRAZILIAN BISEXUAL MANIFESTO
We fight. The bisexual fight is neither recent nor silent. For decades we have been fighting for our rights against the many oppressions that seek to erase our existence. We fight to see ourselves, to care for ourselves, and to be proud of who we are. Monosexism imposes a standard that privileges monosexuals (straight, lesbian, and gay) over bisexual people. That is where biphobia derives from: the social oppression that targets non-monosexuality. This system reinforces binary oppositions and the cisheterosexual and macho norm, limiting the possibilities of being.
We exist. Bisexuals are people for whom gender is not a determinant of sexual or affective attraction. There is no right or wrong way to be bisexual, we just are. Our sexuality exists fully and has its own history that allows us to be here today, proud to be who we are. We are also black, fat, trans, disabled, neurodivergent, indigenous, poor, intersex, living with HIV/AIDS, and from all regions of the country. We are more.
We face it. Biphobic violence has many forms. Biphobia makes it even more difficult and exhausting to come out of the closet to the important people in our lives, in workplaces, study places, even more so in the family environment. Our rates of mental health and abuse of alcohol and other drugs are extremely worrying. We are susceptible to marital and sexual violence more often. Repeatedly bisexual people are labeled in a biphobic way as vectors of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). There is an association of bisexuality with pathological behavior that makes us "objects of correction" in psychological and medical offices. The number of suicide attempts by bisexuals is so high that ignoring it contributes to our death. It is unacceptable the existence of corrective rape, which predominantly victimizes black women, and which happens under the pretext of sexuality correction through the practice of sexual violence against those who are not within cis and/or heterosexuality.
We breakthrough. Biphobia operates structurally in all spaces of society, erasing, assaulting, and discriminating against monodissidence (a term that refers to people for whom gender is not a determining factor in their sexual and/or romantic attraction, such as bisexual and other non-monosexual people). Such erasure builds silent layers of violence that degrade the well-being of bisexual people. Compulsory heterosexuality intersects this oppression, curtailing any expression or experience dissenting from the standard. Since affective and sexual attraction toward a gender other than our own is part of our sexuality, many bisexual people understand themselves that way later in life. We are denied the right to self-discovery aligned to the development of childhood and adolescence.
We transgress. Plastered gender roles oppress us and dictate how and to whom we should direct our affection and attraction. Of cis women it is expected to have our sexuality centered on straight cis men, where our desires and practices exist to serve the other; relationships between cis women are often delegitimized and fetishized. As cis men, we are charged with rigid and dominant masculinity, because any idea that escapes heterosexuality dismantles the male figure, as if every bi man was, deep down, a closeted gay man. Travestis and trans people, on the other hand, are treated as a deviant mishmash of gender and sexuality, as mere freaks, sex objects, excluded from any conversation within the social norm. The CIStem denies our right to education, jobs, opportunities, housing, and even the right to use bathrooms, making a point of depriving us of the most basic things to survive, while we experience sheer terror in the health care system as a whole, causing health problems more than treating them.
We demand. When health professionals receive us in public and private services assuming that we are monosexual, the control of our sexuality dictated by body and gender standards becomes evident. The health system cannot continue denying our existence. It is urgent to understand bisexualities in health care protocols and health promotion and disease prevention practices. We demand that public policies guarantee our access to health in a universal and equal way. Our sexual and reproductive health must understand that in the case of people with a uterus the right to safe abortion protects our lives, just as in the case of intersex people the extinction of surgical and drug interventions without consent, guarantees our right to exist. Preserving and promoting our mental health expands the exercise of our potentialities and ensuring the use of the social name recognizes our identities. It is from the plastering of the social constructions of bodies and neglect of health that sinister things like invasive and non-consented surgeries on intersex people proliferate from literally birth, denying existence to people who are born with genital and reproductive configurations different from the idealized binary. We propose breaking out of the boxes we have been forced into.
We persist. We see ourselves as outside of LGBTI+ spaces, as they insist that our bisexual identity is "not deviant enough," that "we can disguise ourselves as straight" or must "come out as gay and lesbian." We are those people who are tolerated when it is interesting, rarely quoted, and actively excluded from the decisions of our community. The reception in the face of social exclusion that the LGBTI+ community generally provides does not encompass our population, as we can see in our removal from several of these places as we transition into a non-place until we encounter the bisexual movement or the rare exceptions that are truly bi-inclusive of mixed movements. Despite this, we keep doing what many people before us have done: marking our presence and using our voice to carry our common agendas forward. For decades, bisexual activists have been fighting on the front lines alongside lesbian, gay, and monosexual trans people, confronting LGBTphobia and working for our community. But the need also arose for us to walk a path of an autonomous Brazilian Bisexual Front, so that our voice is increasingly heard and biphobia is recognized and confronted. Let our history be known and our names remembered as who we really are or were: bisexuals. Respect the truth of our lives over a binary notion of sexuality. On behalf of Marielle Franco, Renildo dos Santos, and so many others who dared to declare themselves bisexual and should not have their memory disrespected.
We build. We are not a threat to lesbians and gays. We are in an alliance against heteronormativity, but even though we suffer oppressions in common with lesbians and gays, fighting lesbophobia and homophobia does not end all of our struggles, because we suffer specific oppressions as bisexuals. Our existence may challenge notions of monosexuality, but we do not aim to prevent people from being attracted to only one gender. We want to eliminate the standard that every person should be attracted to only one. We need to cease the mistaken idea that the gender of the person we are in a relationship with would magically redefine our bisexuality to some of the binary extremes of monosexuality. Don't define relationships or displays of affection as straight, lesbian, or gay, because relationships have no sexual orientation. In fact, we have every right to identify ourselves as dykes and fags, identities that derive from words directed at us to oppress and are used as weapons against people who transgress heteronormativity.
We destabilize. Bisexuality challenges all other identities by having no boundaries, just as intersex and trans people, especially non-binary people, do with the male and female genders. Likewise, bisexuality destabilizes the binary division between homosexuality and heterosexuality. We warn that there is an attempt to empty the combative content of LGBTI+ identities, summarizing the fight for the right to love and underestimating the agendas on social and political rights, such as a dignified life, with autonomy and free from violence. The so-called right to love is exclusionary since it seeks a taming of deviant identities. In our struggle for equity, we cannot limit ourselves to reproducing the rigid and violent family pattern, based on patriarchy, cisheteronormativity, endosexuality, capacitism, racism, and capitalism.
We decolonize. The bisexual person is multiple, for it is in the plurality of bodies, desires, and ideas that the human potential is amplified. And from our side comes our ideal of a free and genuinely plural society, where boundaries are defined only by us. It is not possible to understand bisexuality from a monosexual point of view. The human ways of being do not fit into patterns, they are crossed by the social markers that compose us, only an intersectional perspective is able to embrace the complex in its entirety. We affirm our presence in all ethnicities, peoples and regions, and we even support the retaking by the original peoples of their lands exploited and exhausted by colonialism. Brazil is an Indigenous Land. The territoriality of indigenous peoples teaches us a lot about belonging and collectivity, which are major pillars of political and revolutionary organization. In noting the plurality of bisexual and monodissident individuals, we propose a look at the potency of diversity. It is necessary to decolonize our understanding of sexuality, gender, and attraction. In a continental country of black majority, racism imposes situations of extreme violence, defining which bodies have the right to life and the exercise of their sexuality. Let's not see ourselves under a sanitized, racist, and xenophobic viewpoint, as if the majority of bisexual people were white, cis, thin, without disabilities, and upper-middle-class women.
We aggregate. The bisexual fight has always had and continues to commit to being inclusive and to place itself in opposition to cisheternormativity, endosexuality, and bodynormativity. The political movement that we have built calls on all monodissident people because our goals and agendas often merge. Our action is joint since this is the only way we will be strong enough for the great task we have. Our colors are all-embracing, we do not seek to define any other identity that exists or that may come to exist. While respecting all monodissident identities, we need to add that we will not allow them to affirm themselves in a biphobic way. Therefore, only bisexual militancy can define what bisexuality is. Our identity is the fruit of much blood, sweat, and struggle.
We mobilize. We invite the tired militant person, the questioning person, the young monodissident person, the hopeless person, to add to the many bisexual and monodissident people as a whole to walk side by side, hand in hand, whether to embrace those in need, to advance against those who assault us, or just to resist knowing that we will never be alone. When part of us moves forward, our whole group must move forward in unity. No one is left behind because any oppression that affects someone like us will affect everyone else. We are like colors in watercolor, and we can exist alone, together, separately, or mixed, all to create a picture that represents us and emancipates us from expectations that do not serve us, never have served us, and never will serve us.
We Bisexualize. We are people for whom gender is not a determining factor of sexual or affective attraction. We work to organize a bisexual movement that contemplates our specificities, fighting for our sexualities to be seen as valid. Our activism is political, because we understand our participation in society as transforming, and we know the role of those who have the power to oppress us. We are dykes, fags, unicorns, and bison, and we raise the pink, purple, and blue flag against cisheteropatriarchy. We do not seek "normality". We want to expose the hierarchies that define who are deviant bodies and try to exterminate fluidity and change. Capitalism does not fit us, because we long for a collaborative horizon, where collectivity guides our lives. The system that imposes monogamy as the only possible model of relationship, or as a model superior to the others, does not fit us because it imposes a single and rigid standard to affections. Gender binarism does not serve us, since it violates our bodies and curtails our existences. The current public policies do not represent us, we demand the access to mental and physical health that is denied us so much, to an anti-biphobic education, to full employment, to culture, to sports, to leisure spaces, to a dignified life free from biphobia. And that is why we fight. Against the shame they impose on us, against the hatred that separates us, against the erasure that hurts us. We fight for pride, respect, and visibility. We fight for our lives. And we will keep on winning, because the bisexual struggle, just like us, has no boundaries and knows no limits.
Binarity: situations where there are only two possibilities for existence.
Cisheterosexual: person who identifies with the gender assigned to them at birth and who has sexual relations with people of a different gender.
Cis(gender): person who identifies with the gender assigned to them at birth.
CIStem: social hierarchy system that privileges cisgender people.
Endosexuality: hegemonic idea that there is a combination between chromosomes, hormones and genital formations, which are or should match and align with the standard definition of female and male.
Intersex: people who have congenital sexual characteristics not meeting medical and social norms for female or male bodies, and who create risks or experiences of stigma, discrimination, hatred and harm.
Travesti (Latin America) - people who were assigned male at birth, but develop a gender identity according to different expressions of femininity.
Brazil, September 25, 2021
The Brazilian Bisexual Manifesto was read for the first time live during the second online edition of the "Festival BI+" held on September 25, 2021, on the YouTube channel of the Brazilian Bisexual Front.