Sunday, 29 July 2012

Let me spell it out for you

Thank you, Google, for just so neatly encapsulating the reality of being bisexual in our world.  We don't exist.
If you type in gay, lesbian or transgender [or heterosexual or intersex] into a Google search box, Google Instant Search begins to auto-complete the search while making relevant suggestions. However when you begin to type in bisexual, there are no suggestions provided which lead many to believe there are no search results. Since 2010, Google has blocked the word bisexual from its auto complete and Instant Search features so users have to go an extra step to see the million of results related to bi people, bisexuality, bi community, bisexual resources and bi organizations.
Extraordinary, especially when you think about US research which suggests bi people have the highest rates of suicide ideation or attempted suicide amongst lesbians, gay men and heterosexual people - as a result of what the authors call "bisexual invisibility".

Needs to be added to the Monosexual Privilege Checklist:

37.  I know if I want to find something out about my sexuality, it will be as easy as typing the first three letters.

If the lack of existence of bisexuality bugs you, feel free to let Google know.  I have.


ChundaMars said...

Wow, that's... weird. I wonder why?

CH said...

There's no such thing as 'monosexual privilege'.

Cat said...

I remember that a LOT of 'sex'/sexuality related terms were blocked initially, to significant outrage. I'm guessing that they just didn't get enough complaints about 'bisexual' being on that list... ('lesbian' definitely used to be on it, and I think a few others).

I'm not sure if it was deliberate prejudice or just dumb 'well, most of the results are porn AND WE DON'T WANT THAT' thought processes.

Alien Anthropologist said...

An awful lot of things on that "monosexual privilege checklist" only apply to straight people

LudditeJourno said...

Cat - yep, lesbian was blocked at one stage, you're right.
Alien Anthropologist - yep, I'm not convinced at all that the MC idea works that well, without the context of compulsory heterosexuality being considered. Hadn't seen it before though, so linked to it, and I am interested in some of the specific challenges bi and pansexual people face in terms of monosexual assumptions/privileging. I might try and pull this apart in another blog. Thanks for comment, LJ

CH said...

Right at the very beginning, for example: ' Society assures me that my sexual identity is real and that people like me exist.' Gay/lesbian identity is frequently denied to exist.

The list goes on like this, either conflating heterosexual privilege with the fictitious 'monosexual privilege' or giving examples of bisexuals benefiting from heterosexual privilege and claiming that it's somehow oppression. #8 is 'When seen with a partner I’m dating, I can be certain to be recognized as a member of my sexual identity group.' This is effectively claiming that gays and lesbians are 'privileged' for being gay-bashed (i.e. for being publicly recognised as gay). People who claim that 'monosexual privilege' exists are homophobes.

anthea said...

That's all very odd and nasty - I'd speculate that as it's an active block it's most likely a result of 'OMG sex and sluttiness' associations, but who knows.

I know nitpicking privilege checklists is frequently the preserve of wankers, but I have to say I also have a lot of reservations on that one - many of the items on it apply as much to any non-straight people and a few are deeply problematic.

I'd be interested to see your take on the challenges specific to bi/pan people, because I'm sure you'll do a much better job of it than that list :)

LudditeJourno said...

CH - I don't want to get derailed into pulling apart that link, but may address it another time and agree that it is problematic to conflate same-sex and opposite-sex monosexual attractions without acknowledging the power dynamics involved, as I've said above.
I don't accept however that there is no such thing as "monosexual privilege" and believe there are a number of points in that list which are relevant. As, clearly, is the tongue in cheek number 37 I've posted here - the point of this post.
To give you just one - bi people have to deal with our identity being constantly erased by our partner choice. "Are you still bi? But you've been with a woman/man for twenty years?"
"How do you know you're bi, you've only had relationships with men?" "So are you lesbian now, since you're with a woman?" This is something monosexual people do not experience in the same way - none of which means the world is not homophobic.

LudditeJourno said...

Anthea - haha we posted at the same time. Yep, looks like I may have to give it a whirl, doesn't it? :-)

Moz said...

One of the tricky parts in MP is dealing with people who have fluid sexualities that don't match their identities, how they are treated and labelled by others, and how they react to people who claim to be bisexual. To me, the mere existence of that gap between behaviour and identity is evidence of privilege. One example is how the AIDS/HIV campaigns often focused on "men who have sex with men" rather than G&B men, because quite a few straight men also have sex with men.

Anonymous said...

My assumption is that certain words don't auto suggest if the suggested words are likely to return pornographic content in their search results.

People looking for heterosexual pornography don't usually type the word heterosexual in the search bar when looking, so it can "safely" suggest searches, because the top searches with the word heterosexual in them aren't for pornography.