Crayons and Tea Parties

Or, I suppose, Crayons In Tea Cups.

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It’s Mental Health Week next week and above are some of the many novels which deal with mental health/illness and social/emotional issues. If you can, read at least one of these books (or any book that deals with mental health) next week and post about it with the tag readformentalhealthweek. Raise awareness, reduce the stigma, educate yourself, support others, and take care of yourself!

(via yahighway)

Filed under literature young adult literature queue

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A few Bisexuals in History you may not have known were Bisexual:

  • William Shakespeare
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Josephine Baker
  • David Bowie
  • Frank Ocean
  • Azealia Banks
  • Billie Joel Armstrong
  • Margret Cho 

“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge in myself the potential to be attracted, romantically and/or sexually, to people of more than one sex, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”  -Robyn Orch

My coworker texted me while watching the Ken Burns Roosevelt documentary to tell me about how historians think Eleanor Roosevelt may have been bisexual because she may have had a female lover.

"did they say bisexual?" I said (already knowing the answer)

"No," was all my coworker said, but the fact that my coworker saw or heard "bisexual" when shown a woman who had romantic and sexual ties to men and women instead of taking historians at their face value and perpetuating the binary meant so much to me (as did the fact that she texts me whenever she hears bisexual news. I’m not her token bi friend, but I may be her only bi friend)

Yeah, I’ve been watching the Ken Burn’s documentary, and I was actually annoyed with how they handled it. They just kept referring to Hickok as “very close friends” over and over again. Even while reading excerpts of the letters which make it PRETTY CLEAR THAT THEY WERE HAVING AN AFFAIR. Like, they were planning to build a cottage int he wood to live in together. We can put two and two together. But no. “VERY GOOD FRIENDS” is all they would actually say. “VERY INTENSE FRIENDSHIP.” Such friendship. Yes. Wow. 

But they are doing the same with with FDR and his multiple affairs too. Ah yes. FDR and Missy having such a….good friendship. Absolutely. MHm. Like…you can just admit that both of them were having all kinds of affairs ya know? We won’t be that scandalized. It’s ok. 

The only issue I have with this list is the inclusion of William Shakespeare.  I teach Shakespeare, and I’ve never seen any documentation that suggested or backed-up the claim that he was bisexual… just interpretive theories of selected works.  Which is hardly solid evidence.  They’re backed up as much as the theories that Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by Marlowe or Francis Bacon.

I have nothing against the idea that he is, and would even give me something more to talk about in class… (wouldn’t even surprise me, frankly) but I’m not going to do that based on pure speculation and wishful thinking.

I don’t mean to poo-poo on any parades… but if it’s supposed to give inspiration to young bisexuals to make themselves feel better, doing so with Shakespeare is giving false inspiration.  It’s lying to make someone feel better, and that never works out like we hope.  Besides, there’s plenty of figures (more relatable ones, even) from the past 200 years to give that inspiration… such as the individuals from the rest of the list.

Show me the citation and the evidence… and I’ll listen.  But seeing as how there isn’t a whole heck of a lot that was written on Shakespeare and his personal life… I seriously doubt that such credible evidence exists.

I teach Shakespeare too. 

One hundred and twenty six of his love sonnets were addressed explicitly to a man (“Fair Lord” and “FairYouth”) Whether or not this is always to an ACTUAL man or to an imagined man (like a muse) is unclear, but many of these same poems were DEDICATED to  a patron “Mr. W. H.” This could be one of a few of his patrons Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton and William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke. 

And we arent just talking about any old Sonnets here. We’re talking about some of the BIG ones. His “Dark Lady” sonnets are some of his best known ones written for women, but some of his “Fair Lord” sonnets include “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day?” (The “master-mistress” of his affections indeed.) 

And YES, there is always a degree of speculation that goes into historical figures like Shakespeare. And so little of Shakespeare’s personal records have survived today that we are reying heavily on his artistic works.  But it’s hard not to look at the Dark Lady sonnets and the Fair Lord sonnets side by side and reach this conclusion unless you are eyeballs up in heteronormativity. 

(via bisexual-books)

Filed under bisexuality queue