#QueerLitStories: Not A Bisexual

queer lit stories

This guest post series is all about queer people talking about their relationship with queer books, whether they saw themselves represented in them or not. If you would like to write a guest post for me, the rules and info on how to contact me are on this post.

Today’s guest post is by Annie Bear. Her post focuses on how a certain label can feel wrong for you even if you fit the theoretical definition for it. Thank you Annie for your post!


Ever since coming out 8 years ago, I have simply called myself ‘gay’. I never felt a huge need to label exactly what type of gay I was, though society kept asking the question. I would tell some people I was lesbian and then they would start judging the fact I had been with men before coming out. I would tell some people I was bi and they would start thinking I was a cheater or just experimenting. Telling people I was gay left too much information to the person to decide who I was for myself rather than letting me define my own self. I have always seen ‘gayness’ as a spectrum. Some people are on the completely heterosexual side of the spectrum, and some are on the completely homosexual side of it. There are many places in between the two sides, and I find myself somewhere in the middle. I’m not exactly a 50/50 bisexual, and most people you meet aren’t. Bisexual is a loose term for people who find themselves attracted to both genders. You could be 90% attracted to men and only 10% attracted to women and be considered a bisexual, or it could be the exact opposite, or any other fraction of the two, or you could be attracted to both men, women, and non-binary genders. I don’t know my exact numbers and to some of my friends, its a game they play guessing what they are. When I’m crushing on a guy they start saying I’m 90/10 in favor of men. If I’m crushing on a woman they say I’m 70/30 in favor of women. I never thought either of those fractions accurately described me but its a game they play and think is funny.

When I first came out I had to learn the harsh reality of telling my straight friends I was bisexual. Or the unfortunate experience of telling men or women in bars I was bisexual. Men saw it as a challenge, that ‘one night with me will make you straight’ or that I would go have a threesome with them, and women thought I was too green for them and not really gay. None of these ideas had any glimmer of truth behind them and yet men kept expressing these thoughts. Just because I’d date a man doesn’t mean that I am ‘cured’ or ‘straight again. No matter what gender I am dating, my attraction to women or men doesn’t disappear. Despite who I’m dating my sexual orientation is the same, it doesn’t change even if I marry and stay with one gender for the rest of my life. A straight person doesn’t erase their sexual orientation when they date someone, why do bisexuals have that stigma? Being bisexual also doesn’t mean that I am up for threesomes or polyamorous relationships. I’m a serial monogamous, I don’t shame or critique anyone who is poly, that’s part of their sexual orientation and that’s great. It’s just not mine and being labeled that and having my behavior expected to be similar to a poly person isn’t me.

Due to all these reasons, I have never said or claimed the term bisexual. I’m simply gay. I fall under the umbrella of people who aren’t straight.

Viewing my sexual orientation in this manner limits the representation in media that directly relates to me. I tend to go looking for bisexual representation instead, and to this day I still haven’t found a halfway decent representation of someone who is bisexual. Nothing I have read with a bisexual character accurately depicts the struggle that we go through in both the lgbtq+ community and out. Most bisexual characters also end up with men to ‘play it safe’ and only flirt or sleep with women on occasion. TV shows and movies use bisexual characters as a sex appeal for their storyline and not for the representation. After watching these programs I feel used and cheap and not validated.

When it comes to books, I tend to shy away from books claiming they have bisexual representation, because they tend to come off more as trope-y than anything. I find the same thing with books about lesbians. I also don’t see my sexual orientation as the most fascinating and important thing about me. Books and other forms of media and storytelling tend to focus only on who that character decides to date. I may be over critical and over analytic but there are only a small number of books that reflect how I feel about myself and about my sexual orientation.

The first ‘gay’ book I ever read is the one that most aligns with how I see myself.

Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg forever will be in my top five books ever. For me, it was a book about two women who loved each other, neither of them defined their sexuality and their town didn’t feel the need to. They just were two women who found a friendship that developed into a beautiful relationship. Their relationship and sexuality weren’t the main focus of the book either, there was a much bigger plotline or two around the pair. The whole book may seem understated to some people and not have enough ‘gayness’ in it. But to me, I will always cherish it and reflect on it as a way to understand myself more. Its the book I use when having to explain my own sexual orientation. Being not bisexual is hard to find true representation, but when I choose to label myself and look for representation in that I still fail to find anything that relates to me. Fannie Flagg herself lives a life where she is free from the labels. Having only dated women, she doesn’t label herself a lesbian. She’s a gay woman who writes, acts and lives a life outside her constant need to be labeled. Her characters share the same ideals. As do I.

My name is Annie, I am a writer, a reader, forever student, and not a bisexual.


Find Annie:

Twitter: @annie_bear92

Bookstagram: bears_books


#QueerLitStories: How I Saw Myself in a Son of Hades

queer lit stories

This guest post series is all about queer people talking about their relationship with queer books, whether they saw themselves represented in them or not. If you would like to write a guest post for me, the rules and info on how to contact me are on this post.

Today’s post is by Alexis (The Sloth Reader), a pansexual booktuber. I love it because it talks both about the general feeling of seeing yourself represented as a queer person but also not seeing your specific identity in books. I feel like that’s a common experience for many queer people, so thank you Alexis for your post!


Hello! I’m Alexis and I’m known as The Sloth Reader in the online bookish community. You can find me on Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m here to explain why I saw myself in the character of Nico di Angelo from the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan.

To give you some relevant background information, I identify as being pansexual. I’m just over twenty-three and I’ve only used that specific label for myself for the past year or so. I’ve always known that my attraction went beyond just liking boys, but I’ve had a difficult time with my sexuality because of my inability to find a label that fit me. I don’t necessarily feel like labels need to be definitive for every person, but that was something I desired for myself. I tried for a long time to fit myself into the bisexual label, but it was never a perfect match. I have very close friends who identify as bisexual, and I think knowing that our feelings didn’t perfectly line up made the label an awkward fit for me. As a teen, I convinced myself that I didn’t truly feel the way that I did. I thought that if I didn’t feel like I was bisexual, then I wasn’t really attracted to multiple genders. Because of this mindset that I had talked myself into, it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I really opened myself up to exploring all the possibilities that existed for me.

I think Nico’s struggle with his sexuality really resonated with me. I do want to clarify that there are some huge differences between Nico and myself. Firstly I’m a twenty-three year old woman from the United States. Nico is a fourteen-year-old boy from Italy who was born in the 1940’s. I’ll leave out the demigod and fantastical elements as obvious differences. There are very distinct cultural and specific to the story ways that factor into Nico’s inability to accept his being gay. Nico feels as if he’s different and unwanted from the rest of the characters in the book because of his parentage and his history. These things negatively affect Nico’s desire to accept his sexuality because he longs for acceptance and fears his queerness will further divide him from other characters. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met and befriended many queer friends in my lifetime, so I’ve never felt that distinct negative feeling of not belonging. However, I can only imagine how some young queer people might be able to connect to that feeling.

However I do feel like I can relate to the struggle of self-acceptance that Nico goes through. While they may have been for very different reasons, both he and I had trouble with accepting our queerness. Because I couldn’t find a label that fit for me, I had completely written off being queer as a possibility entirely. I saw my own turmoil and my own dishonesty to myself in Nico’s character. I didn’t read the Heroes of Olympus until I was older and finally accepting of my sexuality. I remember getting to the part in book four, The House of Hades, when Nico finally has to confront his feelings. I cried for the teenage me who could so accurately relate to pushing down the feelings I had felt. And I also cried for the teenagers who got to read Nico’s story and see someone just like themselves, for perhaps the first time. I would never want any person to spend their formative years denying who they were, like I did. I understand that so many people have factors beyond their control that affect their relationship with their identity, like Nico does, but just being able to read a story with someone who has walked a similar journey can make such a difference.

I’d also like to talk about how underrepresented I do feel in my actual identity. I can name only three or four books with characters that express pansexuality, and only maybe one or two that use the actual word. I believe that every person should have the opportunity to see themselves represented in literature. I get beyond happy when I hear about books featuring any identity, whether it’s books about lesbian or trans main characters. There have been recent releases with asexual leads and my favorite read of 2017, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, featured a proudly bisexual main character who got to blatantly be with both men and women in text (with a QPOC love interest and an asexual side character). These recent releases are an incredible step forward. I’d like to see a future where every identity can have their own wall of books in a library.

But I also can’t help but feel like a lot of my own turmoil could have been remedied had I read a book with a character or love interest who was pansexual. I didn’t get the opportunity at twelve or sixteen, by which time the damage for me had already been done, to see a character express a sexuality that I wasn’t aware was an option. I would never want to take away from the representation that has changed the lives of so many people. I just wish someone had taken the opportunity to write a book, or better yet publish a book, with such an underrepresented sexuality. Had I read a book like Elliot Wake’s Black Iris (which was mentioned in the previous post by Melanie) when I was a teen, I feel like I would have spent a lot more of my life happy with who I was.

Though as it stands, I’m still happy that at twenty-three, I found comfort in the story of a fourteen year old son of Hades.


Find Alexis:


#QueerLitStories: Black Iris and pansexuality

queer lit stories

This guest post series is all about queer people talking about their relationship with queer books, whether they saw themselves represented in them or not. If you would like to write a guest post for me, the rules and info on how to contact me are on this post.

I am so honored to have my friend and fellow blogger Melanie as my first guest, and I would like to thank her again so much for writing it and for all the support she keeps giving me ♥divider-2461548_960_720

When Silvia asked the queer book community if they’d be interested in writing guest posts on her blog about their positive or negative experiences with seeing themselves represented in literature, I knew that I couldn’t resist talking about Black Iris by Elliot Wake and how much that book literally changed my life.

I should probably preface this by letting you know that I am a cis, able-bodied, white passing, young, immensely privileged woman that lives in the United States. I have also had a very supportive immediate family when I was discovering my sexuality, and when I eventually came out to them all early in high school.

Very early in life I realized that I was attracted to more than just boys, so I took on the label bisexual in high school, even though I always felt like it wasn’t 100% a perfect fit for me. I had very serious relationships with both men and women all throughout high school and college, and even though I could say things like “I love the dimples on the lower back of my girlfriend” or “I love the broad shoulders on my boyfriend” I still didn’t have a good understanding of my sexuality, but I chose to identify as a bisexual/biromantic.

And then in 2015 I read Black Iris by Elliot Wake and my life was changed forever. And that book alone is what made me realize that my true identity was pansexual/panromantic. To say this book changed who I was as a person is honestly such an understatement. I read the most beautiful quotes that, for once in my life, described me and my feelings:

“If I was gay, I wouldn’t need an asterisk beside my name…… I wouldn’t have to explain that I fall in love with minds, not genders or body parts. People wouldn’t say I’m ‘just a slut’ or ‘faking it’ or ‘undecided’ or ‘confused.’ I’m not confused. I don’t categorize people by who I’m allowed to like and who I’m allowed to love. Love doesn’t fit into boxes like that. It’s blurry, slippery, quantum. It’s only limited by our perceptions and before we slap a label on it and cram it into some category, everything is possible. That’s me. I’m not gay, not bi. I’m something quantum.”

I cried so many tears. Happy, sad, questioning, understanding tears. And even though the main protagonist, Laney, never uses the word pansexual to describe themselves, Black Iris is a love letter to every queer kid that is questioning their sexual identity. I’ve never read a book that more perfectly talks about sexual fluidity still to this day.

Also, I completely understand that being bi doesn’t limit the person to only liking two genders, but I finally understood that my sexual attraction had nothing to do with gender, and I was honestly liberated. The feelings that I felt when closing that book still makes me weep to this day thinking about it. I truly do not have a combination of words to explain what I feel for this book. It was nothing short of a cathartic experience, and I owe Black Iris and Elliot Wake so much.

Black Iris is a book about vengeance and revenge and all the messy parts that come along with those two things. And I believe with my whole heart it is best to go into this story blind. But it’s very dark, and twisted, and I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but it truly did change my life. Laney’s sexual questioning throughout the novel literally changed who I was as a human being.

But please use caution picking this book up because it heavily talks about mental illness. Also, trigger/content warnings for sexual content, bullying, abuse, addiction, drug use, homophobia, suicide, and talk of rape.

And this is just a hard book to read. It takes a lot from you, regardless of your sexuality. All the characters make choices that you are forced to watch, while covering your face with your hands, and squinting between your fingers. But you also won’t be able to look away.

And this probably goes without saying, but it was my favorite book of 2015, and will be one of my favorite books of all time forever. And I am forever grateful for Black Iris, because it was the book that helped me proudly tell (or scream at) the world that I am pan. 💗💛💙


Find Melanie:


Announcing #QueerLitStories ❤💛💚💙💜

queer lit stories

Hello everyone! Today I’m happy to announce my first guest post series, and it’s one that’s very dear to my heart.

A little while ago I shared an idea on twitter, not really thinking anyone would reply, but it got much more attention than I thought it would.

So, here’s what this series will be about:


Basically, a series to share how diverse, and specifically queer, literature can make a difference for people who see themselves represented in it (or not). Everyone’s story will be different, the books they’ll talk about will be different, their relationship with them will be different. All to show that actual people with different life stories and backgrounds live under the umbrella term “queer”, and that more stories are worth sharing than the typical m/m romance between two gay cis white guys.

I have temporarily closed this off to new entries on twitter because I want to see how this goes first. However, I want to give everyone a fair chance to be able to post their story, so if you only follow me here and you would like to be featured in this series please let me know through my contact page or send me an email (silviareadsbooks@gmail.com), or just comment down below, but please only do so if you’re sure you will send me something and if you already have an idea of what you’ll talk about. I will be sharing the posts in the order I receive them so the earliest you send it to me the earliest you’ll be published.

Edit: When you send me something, please follow these rules:
• contact me beforehand and sum up what you’re going to talk about in your post

• specify what title you want me to give to your post – please come up with your title yourself
• keep your post around or under 1k (1000) words
• send your post to my email as I mentioned above with the formatting you want me to post it in – bold, italics, quotes. Preferably send it to me in easy HTML (like you’d do in a goodreads review).

• tell me if you want me to post it with your name or anonymously
• send me any links you want me to share (your blog, twitter, instagram,…)

I personally can’t wait to share the first post later this week, and I really hope you’re all going to like this series!