Hello again book bees! Prepare yourselves for a kinda rambly post, sorry in advance. I know that I’ve stated plenty of times before that I identify as queer but for this post I’d like to be explicit: I am a bisexual grey-aromantic cis woman. I used to solidly identify as aromantic but have graduated up the spectrum in the past couple of years to grey. My bisexuality has a preference leaning towards female-presenting but encompasses all gender and agender presentations. Presentation impacts the way I am attracted to people, but does not make me less likely to be attracted to someone (if that makes any sense).
With that said, I am constantly in search of bisexual representation in books. I especially prefer bisexual female main characters, but I appreciate all bisexual rep in one way or another. Sadly, I find that in mainstream sources I don’t find a lot of true bisexual rep. Most bisexual characters are side characters, whose sexuality is mentioned but rarely delved into. The thing I really don’t like about these side characters is that often the main character has to have some kind of reconciliation with what bisexuality means. They feel they get to ask invasive questions, or barring that they define what they think bisexuality is and whether or not the actual bisexual character fits their expectations.
I’ll be honest, even when a character is meant to be bisexual rep, I often find that they aren’t good representation. This is because they’re usually written by somebody who isn’t bisexual. Luckily, this isn’t always the case. An example that springs to mind is Rick Riordan’s Apollo in The Trials of Apollo series. Apollo is bisexual, but to the best of my knowledge Riordan himself is not. Still, friends of mine have read The Trials of Apollo and sent me pictures of text saying “this is something you’ve said I swear.” Apollo is incredibly relatable as bisexual rep, and I find that he’s well written in his sexuality while also fulfilling the role of a main character in a series that’s not about being bisexual.
While I appreciate sapphic novels in which the main female character is attracted to other women, since this is part of my sexuality as well, unless she is explicitly outlined as bi or even pan, I still feel something lacking in my ability to full immerse myself in the representation of that story. I can enjoy the story, the character, and the representation, but it still isn’t something that wholly speaks to who I am.
I’m one of those people who will read anything for the promise of the crumbs I can’t find. As a result, I have read plenty of books in which bisexuality is infuriatingly incorrect and presented from a clearly straight perspective. A similar result is that I appreciate well written perspectives, such as other sexualities that are not my own, because I know they are not infuriatingly incorrect and must mean something to any number of readers. I may not be able to fully identify with these characters’ stories but that’s not the point; someone out there is, and that’s incredibly important.
Still, my search for good bisexual rep (and to a lesser extent good aromantic rep) goes on. Tell me in the comments: what’s a book that you found really represented you and your identity?