Dr. Herukhuti, co-editor of Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men,
was interviewed about his upcoming play reading in NYC about the
experience of bi black men. The reading will be part of New York’s
celebration of Bisexual Awareness Week.
It’s a process of de-humanization and psychic murder. Because what you’re doing is that you are denying the existence of the relationships that other human beings have with each other.
You’re picking and choosing of the people some one has loved, which one you will value. Which love of theirs you will value, which relationship you will value. And which one you will cast aside and discard.
It is psychic murder and it’s abuse. It’s about ignoring the ability for somebody to love in the way that they love.
Dr. Herukhuti on bi erasure during the HuffingtonLive chat on “What Is It With Bisexuality?”
Time to RECOGNIZE: Talking with the editors of a new anthology for bisexual men
Get to know Dr. Herukhuti (also known as H. Sharif Williams) and Robyn Ochs – two vibrant American bisexual activists with a groundbreaking new anthology for bisexual men.
Sarah from Bisexual Books: There has never been a bisexual men’s anthology like Recognize before. Where did the idea come from?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: Robyn edits the Bi Women Quarterly, a free publication she promotes at her speaking engagements. Over time, numerous men approached her to ask whether there an equivalent publication for men existed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t. So Robyn decided to do a one-time issue of Bi Women for men so that at least one resource would exist. She put out a call for submissions and that was the seed that eventually turned into this book.
BB: How did you two come to collaborate on this project?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: Dr. Herukhuti saw the call for submissions and contacted Robyn. After a few conversations, we agreed to became co-editors. The anthology introduction shares the entire story of our experience together.
BB: Why do you think it’s important for bisexual men to tell their stories in anthologies like this?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: One of the contributors told us a story recently that speaks directly to your question. He had left his copy of the anthology in a local venue he had been frequenting for years. When he returned, one of the employees approached him and handed him the book. He knew it was his book because the contributor’s picture was on the cover. After some conversation, the employee told him that he not only recognized him on the cover but chose to browse through the book, found the contributor’s essay and read it. The employee told our contributor that the essay brought to the surface questions that he might be bi*, but being married
to a woman and having four children, he had never done more than fantasized about it. The anthology created the opportunity for these men to recognize each other, their shared experiences as well as the ways in which they were different. It opened up a space of the contributor to provide support for this man in his journey to live his truth.
That’s what makes it important for bisexual men to tell their stories.
BB: How did you come up with the title and cover pictures?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: We spent a long time trying to come up with a title. We searched through the manuscript for keywords and themes. We looked at the titles of other books. We looked at the chapter titles of other books. We talked and talked and talked–trying to come up with a title that we both liked and that would work for the marketing of the anthology. Finally, after much effort Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men emerged.
We asked the contributors to submit photographs of themselves that we could use for the manuscript. Our cover designer, Jewel Hampton, went through the album we had of all the contributors and chose the photographs that are on the cover. Early in the process, before we had worked with Jewel, we thought about having all the contributor photographs on the cover but to get them all on the cover would require them to be so small you couldn’t recognize anyone. Well, obviously not being able to recognize anyone in their photographs would not work for an anthology titled Recognize.
BB: Bisexual men is such a broad label, covering men of all different races, sizes, abilities, and gender identities. Can you tell us a little bit about the diversity in this anthology?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: It was important to both of us that the anthology include a diverse set of contributors. Diverse in all senses of the word. We did a lot to make that happen. We extended submission deadlines. We shared the call for submissions in spaces where we expected men from various backgrounds would see it. We leveraged the diversity of the editorial team to demonstrate a commitment to diversity. With all those efforts, we still would have liked to have had contributors from each continent.
BB: This anthology is being published with the proceeds going towards the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC). How did that partnership come along?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: The Bisexual Resource Center published Robyn’s previous books (Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and The Bisexual Resource Guide), and this new anthology was in close alignment with the organization’s educational mission.
BB: What else are you two working on?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: Dr. Herukhuti is working on his second book, a follow up to his first book Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality, Volume 1. The second book will explore how non-monosexual culture can be created to build more socially just and ecologically healthy intentional communities. He is also developing a speaking tour to engage audiences in the critical examination of race, gender, class and sexuality.
In addition to continuing to edit the Bi Women Quarterly, Robyn is working on getting a Spanish translation of VisiBIlidad: Bisexuales Alrededor del Mundo, a Spanish translation of Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World, out in 2015.