Bi in community attention: The erasure of bisexual women in star


couple of months back, I found myself given the possible opportunity to indulge in the delightful impact between preferred society and minority politics at the Melbourne International Film Festival screening of

Litttle Lady Blue.

Since the subject may advise to dedicated fans, Amy Berg’s 2015 biopic presents a sprawling map of Janis Joplin’s existence, her incomparable talent, and also the accumulative battles that in the end result in the woman death.

It really is an uncommon combat for both queer communities and queer record enthusiasts instance me to see the existence’s work and rich records projected from the silver screen.


hat the movie fails to carry out, unfortuitously, is actually flesh out of the part that queer really love and identification played in Joplin’s life. Like the Amy Winehouse legendary before it,

Daughter Blue

goes on an aggravating tradition of removing the queerness your community figures.

Inside the certain situation with the bisexual lady celeb, the woman sex is actually overlaid with both misogynistic and heteronormative texts that satisfy the popular collective narrative of crazy Women in the limelight.

Almost all of the resources of LGBTQIA+ storytelling echo the hegemonic physical violence of history by itself  – created nearly exclusively by as well as males. This will make exploration for queer femme stories a painful, but increasingly essential job.


ueer article authors and historians have chosen to take in the work of unravelling the binds of patriarchal authorship in several steps. If all of our queer ancestors had been avoided (systemically, coercively, and frequently violently) from saying reality regarding schedules and loves, we could frequently stick to the tracks among these realities through their particular art, the letters they typed, and on occasion even, perhaps, the greater amount of overt code of a ‘Boston Marriage’ (19


through early 20


100 years terminology for “galpals”).

In the case of

Litttle Lady Blue

, time is found on our area – a mix of community record and social advancement are able to meet in order to make brand new meanings for today’s audience. Queer crowds of people are given the uncommon possibility to see all of our discussed histories made physical through life we see provided public guide.

You need only to peruse any standard variety of “Famous Queer girls” discover Joplin. Since the questionable honor of being inaugurated into the ‘27 Club,’ Joplin’s queerness was elucidated via fairly community records of her relationships with Peggy Caserta and Jae Whitaker, the previous a lasting friend and partner, aforementioned a musician and activist Joplin found at a gay bar in san francisco bay area in 1963.


bserving Joplin’s queer trajectory presents a tasty blend of queer self-coding – the original video footage of the woman activities practically oozes a distinctly queer charm – also the lived and explored element of her distinction (and perseverance) within a mainly white, masculine songs world.

This indicates odd for this queer viewer (and I am not alone) that

Litttle Lady Blue

does nothing to link these “moments” of identification politics in action, but alternatively scatters them offhand in a story structured practically totally round the numerous males (artists, friends, enthusiasts) who noticed Joplin’s long-lasting struggle with psychological state and addiction.

In contrast, Jae Whitaker, a queer girl of colour, is provided with mere minutes to discuss her pivotal union with Joplin. All details of their time living collectively, the pain for the problems they experienced plus the insights Whitaker hold are cut to suit a narrative framework that continues to make this info ‘irrelevant’ towards the huge picture of masculine authorship and divine introspection.


015 ended up being a plentiful year for bisexual erasure while the Amy Winehouse biopic comes after an in the same way limiting structure to that of

Young Girl Blue

. In fact, you can believe


helps make the favouring of masculine “meaning making” over lived queer identity a lot more specific.

The movie bounces between two were unsuccessful parts with all the guys main to Amy’s life – the woman co-dependent and addiction-enabling husband Blake Fielder-Civil, along with her opportunistic parent Mitch Winehouse – cut together with mawkish video footage of a vibrant, carefree Winehouse, ‘untarnished’ by reputation and dependency.

Unsurprisingly, her exploration of sexuality and gendered expectations never improve cut, despite their unique frequency in Winehouse’s track authorship and general public image. Possibly it needs to be energizing to possess dad, ex-husband, and control painted as culpable events within her escalating struggles with alcohol and drugs.




seems to peddle the good-girl-


-bad label. Again, normalised programs of addiction and fickle femininity in spotlight have actually obfuscated the majority of just what community could and ought to gather from Winehouse’s life and death: the fact that compounding factors of marginalisation and isolation may have disastrous consequences. To further silence Winehouse’s autonomy and selfhood in demise merely perpetuates a vicious and exploitative pattern.

If bisexual identity is actually regarded as a place between heterosexuality and homosexuality in which both Joplin and Winehouse became simply ‘stranded’ as the result of their unique fast-paced, volatile physical lives, a chance for deeper and more nuanced understandings of these figures is actually undoubtedly skipped.

When identity erasure becomes a standard design, we not merely skip the opportunity for credibility in our mass media, but also drop look associated with the convenience of better representation and exposure within own everyday lives. Discrimination typically manifests with what is actually left out, whose voices tend to be heard and just how much space they might be allowed to undertake.

By omitting the ways whereby identity is both political and constantly politicised, the biography category is actually affected by socio-cultural facts it suppresses and also the lives that keep on being displaced this means that.

Cece is a queer, non-binary feminist killjoy, political agitator and writer. Not too long ago graduating from their amount in Gender, sex and range at Latrobe, Cece’s existing activism and scientific studies are generally aimed at improving the sexual training and psychological state of LGBTQIA+ young people through Arts (and beyond). You can find out about them as well as their rantings on queer genealogy, politics and psychological state through separate journals such as for example SNAP journal,
as well as the secure institutes Story Project, or follow them on Instagram: @sadgrrl91