The Phase: A Newsletter of the Bi Pan Library
Issue 1, Winter 2021

Screenreader-Friendly Version. (Click here for visual versions)

BACK COVER INTRODUCTION

The Bi Pan Library is a private US-based media archive dedicated to increasing hands-on interaction with bi, pan, fluid, & m-spec culture.
The library’s collection was begun privately by Bren Frederick in 2015, born out of frustration at the lack of easily accessible history, literature, & arts resources for the bi, pan, & fluid community. The library’s Instagram was launched in 2018, the website was launched in 2020, & the first issue of The Phase was released in December 2021 (you’re holding that first issue right now!) The Bi Pan Library currently holds 480 books, 60 periodicals, 40 zines, & various other materials such as flags, shirts, & pins.
The library’s resources are for anyone; educators, students, journalists, organizations, & the LGBTQIA+ community at large are encouraged to engage with our materials.
Visit our website to browse the full catalogue, explore curated booklists, & learn about the library’s other resources.

[Page 1]

FROM THE FRONT DESK

[Background illustration is a photo of many bisexual and pansexual nonfiction books stacked on top of each other.]

I bought my first bi book in 2015. There was no website back then, just a messy spreadsheet I worked on after my day job. Every night I trawled the internet for the slightest whiff of representation, reading between the lines of book reviews to feed my appetite for fluid identity on the page.
Today, the collection has grown to 500 books, & every day I get to share my work with a beautiful community of queer people on Instagram & the Bi Pan Library website. I’m so grateful to have found a space where others will cherish bi, pan, & fluid history alongside me.
Originally this newsletter was meant to be digital-only… but I work every day with physical materials. I care deeply about cataloguing handheld proof that queer people existed years & years ago, paving the way for our future. One of my most prized possessions is a set of original printed newsletters from the San Francisco Bisexual Center in the 1970s (a clip from one of those issues is included in this newsletter!) So while digital PDFs will always be freely available on the library website, The Phase will also be physically printed & mailed as long as funds allow.
Let’s make history together.
[Bren’s signature]

WHY “THE PHASE”?

In the tradition of iconic bisexual magazine Anything That Moves, alongside countless slurs & stereotypes reclaimed by queer groups over time, The Phase references a common accusation leveled at bi, pan, & fluid people when they come out — “it’s just a phase.” While our sexualities are here to stay, there is so much to learn from the ebb & flow of queer activism over time. My work at the Bi Pan Library asks (& hopes to help our community answer) three important questions about the bi/pan movement’s phases:
Where have we been?
Where are we now?
Where are we going next?

[Page 3-4]

WHAT’S NEW AT THE LIBRARY?

This quarter I’ve been able to put an enormous amount of time and effort into the library website & physical materials, with two particularly exciting projects nearing completion!
1. UPDATED BOOK PAGES. My goal this year was to catalogue every book in the collection on the website, including individual pages for each book — & we’re about 70% there! See an example of what information is being catalogued in the top right screencap.
The Inclusion Criteria is the most time-consuming element of the book pages, because the goal is to be as accurate as possible. I’m not interested in applying labels to characters that the author did not explicitly use for them, which is why all through the site you’ll see the phrase “a character is attracted to people of multiple genders.” I want to be sure that if the description of a book on the library site says “bisexual” or “pansexual” that you will actually find that word in the book’s text as well. This is both an effort to ensure accuracy of expectation, & a wish for the bi/pan/m-spec community at large to not erase each other in our rush to evangelize the words we have each personally chosen for ourselves.
With this in mind, please know that if a book is noted on the website as having a “sexually fluid” main character or discussing “attraction to multiple genders” without using more specific labels, this is not an indication that I think the book is less important, less valuable, or somehow “failing” at serving the bi/pan/fluid community. In some contexts avoiding labels is of great benefit, such as allowing anyone of any label or non-label to feel included in the discussion of multiple attraction. There are also cases where the setting of a book justifies avoidance of modern sexuality/gender labels, i.e. genres such as science fiction, fantasy, & older historical settings.
When you visit BiPanLibrary.com, you can tell a book has its own page available if the title is underlined on the genre directory page!
[Illustrated with a screencap of the library’s webpage for Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters and the top row of the bi pan nonfiction webpage.]

[Page 5-6]

2. TRIFOLD PAMPHLETS: MEMOIR & BI/PAN NONFICTION.

I’ve been holding onto drafts of trifold brochures for over a year, but the adoption of Canva.com this year has changed the game by making design much faster & easier. The trifold memoir & nonfiction PDFs are practically finished, I simply need to do a few different test prints & write up clear instructions so visitors can print their own copies for personal use, library use, or distribution at queer events.
A friend asked me if this kind of material is even relevant anymore, when people looking for a book to read can just google a booklist. I admit to feeling a little curmudgeonly & defensive about this… when I was a child, before my house had an internet connection, trifold brochures like this were treasures I hoarded during every visit to the library. They allowed me to discover books & topics I’d never have stumbled across on my own, & asked questions I didn’t know I wanted to ask like “what to read if you loved the Redwall series” or “are you experiencing depression?”
As I wrote on the first page of this newsletter, I believe so strongly in leaving a trail of physical materials behind. Sometimes reading about something on the internet is not enough to convince you that you are REAL, that there is a future for your queer self out in the world. Something solid you can hold in your hand might be more convincing.
The first PDF release will be a Bi/Pan Nonfiction trifold & a Bi/Pan Memoir trifold. Once finished, these brochures will be available for free download at bipanlibrary.com/downloads.

[Illustrated with a sample page of the memoir trifold listing Greedy: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, and Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo, and Me, as well as a photo of Bren’s hand holding a printed trifold brochure to show the back view.]

[Page 6]

REVIEW: HACKS

[Illustrated by still from HACKS on HBO, characters Ava, a young friendly white woman with a bob, and Deborah, a dignified older white woman carrying a large purse, stare up at a wall of photos in the back hall of a comedy club.]

Are you a lesbian?” the line bites through the flatscreen. I find myself tensing up in my seat as Hannah Einbinder’s character Ava begins a long, tedious qualification of her orientation. “I used to only hook up with men, but when I masturbated I thought about women. So in college I finally hooked up with this amazing TA, Phoebe…” Alright, here we go. I begin mentally preparing myself to welcome another unlabeled sexually fluid never-confirmed-bi-or-pan character into my heart, until Ava concludes her story saying, “So anyway… I’m bi.”
Maybe I’ve just been under a rock, but it seems that buzz for HBO’s new queer–woman–led comedy HACKS is horrendously low. Bisexual comedian & actress Hannah Einbinder’s Ava is a pitch-perfect deadpan, thirsty, struggling to survive bisexual complete with cropped jeans, Doc Martens & an entirely reasonable number of plaid shirts.(Jean Smart’s character Deborah Vance, a stand–up comedian whose star is dimming, quips that Ava “dresses like Rachel Maddow’s mechanic”.)
The plot isn’t preoccupied with Ava’s sexuality, but bi identity is firmly integrated in Ava’s core, from her comedy to her choice in friends to her occasionally confusing sexual fantasies. This is a clear & conscious decision by the showrunners. Co-creator Paul W. Downs told The Advocate they wanted HACKS to highlight the communicative divide between young bisexual adults & older generations, noting “someone like Deborah is monosexual. She might be cool with homosexuality & gay people, but she might not really get bisexuality.”
HACKS achieves the goal & more, in no small part due to bisexual creatives on both sides of the camera —renowned bisexual director Desiree Akhavan directed Episodes 4 and 7. Don’t miss this queer comedy gem!

[Page 7]

REVIEW: IRON WIDOW

[Illustrated by self-portrait photo of Xiran Jay Zhao, a Chinese-Canadian author, in an ornate Chinese hairstyle and hanfu. They hold a copy of Iron Widow in one hand and gesture to it with the other.]

“The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain…”
Xiran Jay Zhao’s IRON WIDOW is a wonder. Not only have they served us three sexually fluid main characters, they’ve delivered a “true” love triangle — the romantic tension melts sweetly into the rarest of canon YA ships, a polyamorous triad. But the wonders don’t end there.
IRON WIDOW’s plot is breakneck fast, emotions run burning hot, & the action scenes are painted in vivid color. But what stands out as Xiran Jay Zhao’s most stunning success is the portrayal of coercive relationships & corrective violence again bi/pan/m-spec people regardless of their relationship’s appearance.
Concubine pilot Wu Zetian & her battle partner Li Shimin appear to be everything their culture prizes: a man & a woman , yin & yang balanced, with the qi energy & control to master a Chrysalis together. Despite following the carefully choreographed acceptable relationship forced upon them by powerful politicians, they cannot escape their reputation of depravity. Wu Zetian is rumored to be a demon seductress & Li Shimin is considered a physical threat to all, literally muzzled & quarantined from other pilots. This portrayal closely aligns with some of the most violence-laden gendered stereotypes about bi/pan people, i.e. both sexually available & threatening vectors of disease. Again & again, they are shown there is no way to beloved by the public as their natural selves, even as a man & woman in a Balanced Match. In this war that cannot be won, they manage to find warmth & comfort in each other — & their shared love interest Gao Yizhi.
IRON WIDOW is a triumphant futuristic YA inspired by Chinese history & myth, with electric characters & roaring action sure to engage teens & adults alike.

[Page 8-9]

LARKER ISSUE 9: IN THE KEY OF VARIANT

[Large full-page illustration. A detailed collage of many different headlines, photos, pin-back buttons, and other ephemera from the Bi Pan Library collection.]

I was honored to be invited by Larker Magazine to contribute a 2-page spread for Issue #9. This collage piece was created with Bi Pan Library materials. No books or magazines were harmed in the making of this collage! I took scans of the materials with the library’s new printer, & the arrangement was done entirely digitally using transparency effects to mimic cut & layered newspaper clippings. The bi pride pin-back buttons are scans of replica pins I own — the original designs were created in the 80s and 90s. You can view the full-color piece in Larker Issue #9 via LarkerAnthology.com.

[Page 10-11]

BROWSER HISTORY
News, art, & pop culture on our minds & in our search history.

POEM ABOUT MY RIGHTS” BY JUNE JORDAN
[Illustration: A photo of poet, teacher and activist June Jordan, a middle-aged black woman with an afro, smiling and touching her face.]
I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name
My name is my own my own my own
and I can’t tell you who the hell set things up like this
but I can tell you that from now on my resistance
my simple and daily and nightly self-determination
may very well cost you your life”
“Poem About My Rights” by June Jordan
(via Poetryfoundation.org)

ACTRESS MAE WHITMAN COMES OUT AS PANSEXUAL
[Illustrated by photo of actress Mae Whitman, a smiling white woman with a bob]
Tweet by Mae Whitman on Aug 16, 2021 “Just taking a moment to say I am SO proud to be even a small part of a show like The Owl House. Being pansexual myself, I wish I had such incredible characters like Amity and Luz in my life when I was growing up. Queer representation is so so so important :,) keep it up world! #TOH”
(via Twitter.com)

ANDREW GARFIELD REFLECTS ON SONY IGNORING HIS IDEA TO MAKE SPIDER-MAN BISEXUAL
[Illustrated by a press photo of actor Andrew Garfield, a tall white man, crouching in a spiderman suit.]
“I worked harder than I’ve ever worked on anything [on Spider-Man] & I’m really proud of it, but I didn’t feel represented… There was an interview I gave where I said, ‘Why can’t Peter explore his bisexuality in his next film? Why can’t [his girlfriend] MJ be a guy?’ I was then put under a lot of pressure to retract that & apologize for saying something that is a legitimate thing to think & feel. So I said, ‘OK, so you want me to make sure that we get the bigots & the homophobes to buy their tickets?’
(via gizmodo.com)

BISEXUALITY CAN BENEFIT ANIMALS
[Illustrated by a photo of a giraffe’s head]
“Homosexual behavior is surprisingly common in the animal kingdom. It may be adaptive — helping animals to get along, maintain fecundity & protect their young.”
(via Scientific American)

THE ‘DOUBLE CLOSET’: WHY SOME BISEXUAL PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH
[Illustrated by a photo of two people with short hair, one white and one asian, leaning their heads back against each other in comfort.]
“Discrimination from in & beyond the queer community can create “a double closet” that can discourage bisexual people from coming out, in part because they may worry they won’t find a welcoming community. It can also create a hostile social environment… & can discourage bisexual people from accessing the community’s resources & support.”
(via nytimes.com)

[Page 12-13]

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: MAZ HEDGEHOG

[Illustrated by full-page photo portrait of Maz, a black nonbinary person with short natural hair wearing a floral shirt. They are standing pressed back into a large greenery bush, their eyes closed serenely. Photo by Ambereen Khan]

Quote: “Within fat & bi politics is the potential to open up different ways of being which reject the Protestant Work Ethic & the capitalism it underpins.”
Maz Hedgehog is a Black bisexual writer, performer, & educator who describes their work as inhabiting “spaces between real & unreal, poetry & theatre, self & other.” Their script Box Braids was recently staged at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester. In May 2021, Maz released their chapbook This Isn’t Godhood, a sensual & luxurious collection of queer poetry we’re honored to include in the Bi Pan Library collection.
You can enjoy a selection of live recordings of Maz Hedgehog’s performances (as well as their incisive essays on fatphobia, whiteness, & monosexism) via MazHedgehog.com. Keep up with their work on Twitter & Instagram @MazHedgehog.

[Page 14-15]

Illustrated by a scan of The San Francisco Bisexual Center’s 1979 winter calendar. Originally published in The Bi-Monthly: A Newsletter of the Bisexual Center. Scan via The Bi Pan Library. The calendar includes dates such as “Wednesday Rap Group”, “Games Night” on alternate Thursdays, “Potluck” on November 17th, “Haircutting party” on December 7th, “Intimacy Workshop” on December 8th, “Newsletter layout” on December 9th, “Board Meeting” on December 10th, “Xmas-Hanukkah Blast!” on December 15th, “Newsletter Pasteup” on December 16th, and “News Years Eve Party” on December 31st.

[Page 16]

TITLES ADDED IN OCT — DEC 2021

• Apples & Oranges: My Journey Through Sexual Identity by Jan Clausen
• Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story of Schitt’s Creek by Daniel Levy and Eugene Levy
• Beyond Gay or Straight: Understanding Sexual Orientation by Jan Clausen
• Bi & Prejudice by Anna Kochetkova
• Bi Men: Coming Out Every Which Way by Ron Jackson Suresha
• Bi: Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid, and Nonbinary Youth by Ritch C. Savin-Williams
• Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir by Susie Bright
• Cook As You Are by Ruby Tandoh
• Dar Volume 2 (A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary) by Erika Moen
• Darryl by Jackie Ess
• February House: The Story of W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof in Brooklyn by Sherill Tippins
• Girlfag: A Life Told in Sex and Musicals by Janet W. Hardy
• Give it to Me by Ana Castillo
• Henry and June: From “A Journal of Love”, The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin (1931-1932) by Anais Nin
• Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
• I Ask the Impossible: Poems by Ana Castillo
• Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
• It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland
• Kink: An Autobiography by Dave Davies
• Love That Journey For Me: The Queer Revolution of Schitt’s Creek by Emily Garside
• Loving Them Both: A Study of Bisexuality and Bisexuals by Colin MacInnes
• Mercury and Me by Jim Hutton
• Never Say You Can’t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders
• Off the Record by Camryn Garrett
• On Top of Glass: My Stories as a Queer Girl in Figure Skating by Karina Manta
• Our Revolution: A Mother and Daughter at Midcentury by Honor Moore
• The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
• The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy
• The New Bottoming Book by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton
• The New Topping Book Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton
• The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy
• The Ship We Built by Lexie Bean
• The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch
• The White Blackbird: A Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent by Her Granddaughter by Honor Moore
• Tommy’s Tale by Alan Cumming
• Vow of Celibacy by Erin Judge
• Watercolor Women / Opaque Men: A Novel in Verse by Ana Castillo
• Whip Smart: A Memoir by Melissa Febos

[Page 17]

FUNDING REPORT: OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2021

INCOMING
Ko-fi donations: $238.00
Founder funds: $550.00
Patreon: $88.00
TOTAL: $876.00

OUTGOING
Monthly Later.com subscription: $15.00
Monthly Canva.com subscription: $12.99
Yearly WordPress Business subscription: $330.30
Yearly web domain renewal: $18.00
Patreon fees: $4.98
New books: $166.51
Used books: $263.47
Periodicals: $0
Zines: $59.88
TOTAL: $871.13