Monthly Archives: October 2015

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I sat next to a white teenager on a train today; it was my reserved seat, so I didn’t feel anything about it.  But then a few minutes before the train was due to depart, the teenager’s dad boarded the train.
“You can always move once the train leaves the station,” he said to the boy, a worried look evident on his face.  I felt irked, but said nothing as the boy’s dad kept looking nervously at us.  The boy stated he was fine where he was.  After a short while he left.  I tried to let the uncomfortable feeling go: why was sitting beside me such a bad thing?  Just as these thoughts entered my mind, the dad returned once more.

“There are some seats at the other end of the carriage.  You can move there.”

“I’m okay, dad,” the boy replied.  

I wished I’d said something.  I wished I had stood, told the dad: “Look if you don’t want your kid sitting next to a fat, black person, just say so!”  But I grit my teeth, waited until the dad left again, and moved to another unreserved seat.  I could hear the voices telling me I’m too sensitive; that I need to grow a thicker skin.  But the look on the dad’s face, his tone of voice and the character he revealed through the words he used, stayed with me for longer than I would have liked.  Fatness isn’t contagious, just as blackness isn’t either.  But the white gaze despises both of those things.  The white gaze says the worst possible thing that could happen is to be black and/or fat.  Unfortunately that gaze has been internalised by people of colour too, and on ocassion I feel included in that thought process.
But other times I don’t.  Other times I feel positive about being a black, fat and nonbinary person.  I even wrote a zine about it in happier times.  You can buy it here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/222492767/body-imagefatness-and-blackness?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=body%20image,%20fatness%20and%20blackness&ref=sr_gallery_1

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bisofcolour:

The pic above are a few of the editors of Purple Prose.

Purple Prose is a UK guide to bisexuality.  That in itself is pretty unique, as it often feels like any literature on bisexuality in the UK is at least 20 years old.  Another unique thing is that People of Colour in the UK have not been ignored!  Jacq Applebee edited a large chapter on the experiences of bisexual people of colour.  Five talented writers of colour tell of their experiences of being an invisible minority within a minority.  Other topics include faith and ethnicity, how research often lets us down, how dress codes make it difficult for people of colour to fit in spaces, and how unwelcoming and outright racist the UK bisexual communities can be.  There is also a list of resources for bisexual people of colour in the UK.

Purple Prose also contains chapters on Disability, Non-Monogamy, Gender, Faith and Religion, Ageing, Bi Myths and Legends, and Fictional bisexuals!

There is currently a crowdfunder for Purple Prose: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/purple-prose-bisexuality-in-britain#/  Please support it, as this book is desperately needed.  There is sadly very little for people coming out as bisexual.  Biphobia in lesbian and gay communities mean the spaces we thought would welcome us, turn out just as bad as the straight communities many of us have fled.  Just the fact that none of the lesbian and gay publishers in the UK wanted to be involved with this book, speaks volumes (no pun intended).  So support your local bisexuals, and start supporting Purple Prose!

Purple Prose will be published by Thorntree Press