#WeNeedAButton Partner Spotlight: An Inside Look at bi.org
Photo by Carlso Guillen
As part of our #WeNeedAButton partner spotlight series, today we’re going to give you an inside look at the history behind bi.org, one of the oldest and most prominent resources available for bi people on the internet.
We spoke with Talia Squires, bi.org’s editor in chief on how bi.org came to be and what makes it so special.
DP: Could you give our readers a sense of bi.org’s history?
Talia Squires: Bi.org was actually started in 1996 by Fritz Klein as a hub for all things bi online. At the time there wasn’t much. He talked about bi media, had a personals section, and linked to bi news around the world. As the internet and online bi communities grew it slowly changed into more of an educational space. I came on in 2015. At the time something that I found really unfortunate is that when you googled “bisexual” you got an enormous amount of porn. I imagined being a person just beginning to discover their sexuality and looking for information and wanted to create a resource for them.
I think of us as the encyclopedia bi-tannica now (yes we love our puns). I think one of the hardest things about coming out as bi is the complete lack of other visible bi folks. There are more and more public figures coming out as bi now, but it’s still relatively uncommon. By having a huge list of famous bis, we want to show that bi people have always existed in all walks of life, all professions, all over the world. We just created a similar section of bi representation in the media. We are hoping to showcase all the amazing bi characters that have appeared in books, tv, film, and games over the years. Be patient with us, it’s still a growing list.
DP: Was there ever a story that really shook things up?
TS: I’m always a little surprised by what stories get reactions on bi.org. One of my favorite contributions to bi.org was The Unicorn Scale where we talk about representation of bisexuality in film and television (and hopefully video games soon). I used to host a bi movie night every month and found myself having a really hard time finding out if movies actually had bi characters because so many reviews and descriptions were bi-erasive. I started The Unicorn Scale as a way to talk about the bi-ness of media without getting to bogged down discussing the quality of the sound design or the snappy editing. One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about doing it is some of the more off-the-wall reviews we’ve had. Jennie Roberson wrote an incredible Unicorn Scale about Top Gun.
I had never thought about how queer that movie is, but sitting down to watch it for a bi movie night I don’t understand how I missed it.
For me, personally, an article about internalized biphobia by McKenna Ferguson always really resonates with me. I think it is something that is so relatable to so many bi folks. Often, before we are aware of our own sexuality, we are being told that it’s a lie, that bi people are untrustworthy or greedy or just lying. I think confronting that biphobia in yourself is what keeps a lot of people from ever coming out.
DP: What’s it like being the editor in chief of a publication with such a big online community?
TS: Running [bi.org] for the past few years has been wonderful. I feel like I work with two sets of people. The first is my amazing behind the scenes team. There are only a few of us and we all work remotely, so we spend a lot of time talking to each other virtually. We all have groups on various platforms where we are constantly sharing the latest bi news.
The other group I work with is the wonderful folks who write for us. I really love that I’ve been able to publish so many people for the first time. I know that it can be hard to start freelance writing and I always get excited when I can help someone build their resume and I begin to see their writing in other places.
DP: Why is it so important for folks to have a resource like bi.org?
TS: bi.org serves a lot of different needs. So many people deny the very existence of bisexuality, it’s wonderful to be able to point to our enormous online community as proof that we are really here. I’ve also gotten a ton of feedback from people who knew that they were attracted to more than one gender, but didn’t have the language to understand that attraction. So many people have heard bisexuality dismissed so many times that they just assume that that can’t be them. They assume that they aren’t bisexual because they aren’t equally attracted to men and women, or they are attracted to trans folks, or they are monogamous, or they’ve only dated one gender in the past.
A lot of people are hesitant to come out as bi for so many reasons and I really hope that bi.org provides a safe space for people to find more information and learn about their own sexuality. I always love receiving messages from people saying that our online community, our articles, and our very existence helped them find the courage and the words to come out.
DP: Any recent news you’d like to share?
TS: We just relaunched our website and it’s looking much sharper than previous iterations. Once we work out the last of the kinks I’m hoping that we will be able to launch a Spanish language version of the site next year. I love seeing how diverse and international our community is and I’m hoping that we can continue to expand into more languages to better serve that amazing community.
Thanks, Talia, and stay positive everyone!