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Volume 49 Number 3
Edited by Sarah Callahan and Meagan Sweeney
Acknowledge to my professors of Universitat de Barcelona: Ruben David Fernández and Jose Vicente Pestana, who helped me with this research, also to do this international exchange. Thanks to Agostino Carbone - Ph.D at University of Naples - international member of SCRA- and the people who I’ve interviewed (Chiara Piccoli and Antonello Sanino) and all the bisexual people who had participated in this research
On June 2015, I defended my thesis (MSc. in Psychosocial Intervention at University of Barcelona, Spain) about bisexuality, it was an interesting topic to research because of their situation of invisibility in the community. After that, to increase the knowledge about Mediterranean bisexual community I decided to visit another city with similar characteristics. After a research and comparisons between different cities, on July 2015 I visit Naples (Southern Italy) with the scope to collect information about the local LGBT community and to take part in the Pride Parade.
We normally use tags to create our social identity, and we use it referring to sexuality giving it a high
priority (Martin Alegre, 2011).
Bisexual [The Definition of bisexuality that I prefer is by Eisner (2013):“I define myself bisexual because I think I have the potential to feel attracted romantic or sexually by people from more than one sex, not necessarily at the same moment, in the same way and not necessarily with the same intensity.”
] people have been excluded and invisible from the collectives of our society, they are called as “out of normality” or “weird”. As Martin Alegre (2011) says, the normative heterosexuality occupies a privileged position compared to the LGBT community and also within the groups LGBT, bisexual groups are separated from most of the projects or movements, we realize the lack of acceptance of bisexual people in both groups more prevalent in society, the existence of biphobia.
So Bisexuality is a sexual identity that tries to find its place in the midst of homosexuality and heterosexuality. Bisexual people have real problems to find their place in society (even in LGTB communities) and also to define themselves as bisexual. Jones (2010) defines the Bi identity as a process, and a difficult identification, because not all the people who has bisexual feelings, has bisexual behaviour and a little part of that people, identifies themselves as Bisexual.
There is a real need to research about bisexuality, to include it as a sexual category and make it as a possibility to be or an accepted sexual orientation in our society.
Our aim is to analyze the social situation of bisexual people in Barcelona and compare this situation
in Naples. To extend the research we compared LGTB situation in each city, the social conception about this group. We analyze the possible stakeholders to study the situation from bisexual people and collectives in Barcelona and Napoli. I interviewed 16 different bisexual people and members of LGTB associations (12 in Barcelona and 4 in Napoli).
Researching in Barcelona
Contextualizing to Spain, and specifically in Barcelona, we made a research of bisexual collective from Department of Social Psychology of University of Barcelona. There is a lot of LGTB associations, but no one about bisexuality. Our research started looking for bisexual people linked to these associations to interview them and study their real situation and conditions.
One of the most difficult part was to find the bisexual collective, because there is not an association or group of bisexual people. First of all, we mapped all the LGTB associations in Barcelona; Sinver (University association) and Enrutat, are the most important about bisexuality so we contact them and ask for bisexual people. Social networks were the way to make an open call to all these bisexual people who wanted to collaborate with our research; we received 15 from bisexual people and activists from this sector. Finally we interviewed and analyzed qualitatively 12 people (activists and bisexuals)
Moreover, we based our qualitative research on participatory observation of a LGTB group (Sinver) to find out which is the role of bisexuality in these meetings. We also assist in the Pride day (28th June 2015) to analyze the representation of bisexuality, and the implication and participation of bisexual people in this kind of celebration
Trip and research in Naples
Our interest in this city was their similar situation with Barcelona; we want to compare specifically the bisexual collective because of their similitudes. We want to ascertain the situation of bisexual collective and their needs.
I interviewed the presidents of the biggest associations [Antonello Sannino and Chiara Piccoli] of Naples Arcigay (http://www.arcigaynapoli.org) and Arcilesbica (http://www.arcilesbica.it/napoli/) and 2 homosexuals who were on the Pride parade.
All interviews were adapted to the topics of LGTB and more extended topics than only bisexuality because of their inexistence. I analyze all the interviews with the Bisexual topics from bibliography, and adding some topics related to LGT. Pride Day were on 11th July, where I analyze the presence and the attitude of bisexual people in the parade, and also LGT movement; which is their fight, how many people assists to the parade and how the people from street react in front of the parade.
Photo: Me with Simona Marino, Councillor for Equal Opportunities of the town of Naples and Prof. of feminist philosophy
Results and Comparison
The situation of LGTB groups in Barcelona is very favorable, there are many associations (25 LGTB associations and 1 non-monosexual) and they are very powerful in terms of activism and local interventions. The law in each country influences a lot in their society; in Barcelona the marriage of homosexual people is allowed and we have a recent law against LGTB-phobia; that encourages LGTB associations to act and react to exclusion situations. However the situation of bisexual people in Barcelona is unfavorable; all interviewees respond to the need of a bisexual group, because they don’t feel represented in the rest of associations. But, many of the people attend these associations to feel included somewhere and to participle actively to improve bisexual situation. Since the project carried out, they created a non-monosexual group called “Enrenou”, so that’s an indicator of their situation even in LGTB groups where the B has to be included.
The Pride in Barcelona takes place since 2009, but previously some associations already performed demonstrations on the streets of Barcelona that day. A total of 250.000 assistants and 20 associations represented, but only one bisexual. Their topic was “Stop Bullying LGTBI” including the “I” of Intersexual.
Relating to Napoli, an Italian city, there are more social and religious pressure that influences a lot the social perception about LGTB. Moreover, the homosexual marriage is not legal yet, so that is a point that influences a lot their fight.
There are 11 important LGTB associations; Arcigay is the national association in Napoli (from 1984) born as a Gay and Lesbian association and including T when transgender people reclaim their role in these associations. The B was included with the T, not under a claim of bisexual people.
Despite this, bisexual collective is also invisible; they don’t have any representation in LGTB associations. Throw the different interviews we found this invisible situation, because of the prejudices to this collective from LGT people; bisexual people are seen as a homosexual without coming out. In
Arcigay there is only one girl who recognizes herself as a bisexual. Bisexual people have difficulties to identify themselves as bisexual, in one hand for these prejudices and on the other hand because they won’t be believed. We also recognized this kind invisibility; some of the bisexual people define themselves as homosexual to be in a comfortable situation. We could find a difference between men a women in Napoli that we didn’t recognize in Barcelona; coming out homosexual being men is more difficult than being women, because in Napoli the figure of the mother in the families are very important, and it’s difficult to imagine a family without the female role. As difficult as being bisexual; men are seen directly as homosexual in the closet and women are seen as curious.
The Napoli Pride was the first one was in 1994 (National Pride) in Rome, and in Napoli was on 1996. But since 2010 Napoli has his own Pride (Carbone, 2010). 20,000 people assisted and all the associations, but no one openly identified as a bisexual (they weren’t represented in the parade). Also we find the possibility to defend being Lesbian, Gay or Trans, but not to be bisexual (you could take posters with these topics (LGT)), so I felt a kind of invisibility or non-representativenes of bisexual collective. Behind the claim of “Amare è un diritto umano” (Love is a human right) they represented and defended their rights, their needs and what they want. An unexpected number of people went from the street and joined us on the pride.
The presence of huge stereotypes and ideology against LGTB in Napoli promotes that situation. Instead of it, Napoli has grown up a lot with their associations, a lot of actions and activist to fight against LGTB-phobia, the main problem are the politic roles, these that in Barcelona are helping this cases of LGTB. This is one of the most important points that affects the evolution of LGTB groups and their acceptation in Napoli; the prejudices.
Arcigay is changing the situation of LGTB in Napoli, they are reclaiming their rights and they fight for them throw Pride day, interventions in schools, with police,... the most difference between Barcelona and Napoli is the topic they are fighting for; from Napoli, they start to fight for their rights (marriage, being parents...) and in Barcelona their fight is against LGTB-phobia or bullying LGTB, a step forward the essential rights. Because the situation of this collective is different, in Barcelona they have achieved the essential rights, but not in Napoli.
In summary, bisexual collective reminds invisible in Napoli and starts to come out in Barcelona, for the same reason of their fight; bisexuality cannot be seen as a sexual orientation if homosexuality don’t have its right yet, it is not accepted for the majority, so bisexuality (out of this dichotomy) have more difficulties to come out. Through this research we can define the bisexual situation and LGTB situation in each city, proving the need of a bisexual collective to empower themselves and acting against biphobia and to begin to defend bisexuality as a sexual orientation, not a phase.
Carbone, A. (2010). The National Gay pride Day in Naples 2010: the participants’ representations of the parade. “LGBT identities” Conference at University of Naples Federico II in collaboration with Arcigay, Napoli, 18/10/2010.
Eisner, S. (2013). Bi: Notes for a bisexual revolution. Berkeley, California: Seal Press.
Martín Alegre, S. (2011). Desafíos a la Heterosexualidad obligatoria. Barcelona: Book-print S.L.
Jones, R. L. (2010). Troubles with bisexuality in health and social care. In R.L. Jones, & R. Ward (Eds.) LGBT issues: Looking beyond categories (pp.42-55). Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press.
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