Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, by Julia Shaw, Ph.D., digs into important points about a community in which she herself belongs. The book goes from a discussion of sexuality in mammals to the importance of bi-visibility in the narrative of LGBTQ+ history and its future.
"In Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality (Abrams Press; June 28, 2022; U.S. $26.00; Hardcover), Shaw explores all that we know about the world's largest sexual minority. From the hunt for a bi gene to the relationship between bisexuality and consensual nonmonogamy, to asylum seekers who need to prove their bisexuality in a court of law, there is more to explore than most have ever realized. This rigorous and entertaining book will challenge us to think deeper about who we are and how we love."
Shaw does a decent job of uncovering the small yet important details contributing to bi-erasure and homophobia. These smaller pieces aren't often brought up, like Google analytics and algorithms that contribute to invisibility for queer communities. Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, works through prominent figures in the study of sexuality and attraction without sugarcoating issues with bias and flaws they may have presented in their research. The amount of examination into topics such as the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid was a very interesting portion of the book. However, it could sometimes get confusing, even with explanations of how it worked. While those things may have been explained, it would take a fair few read-throughs to get a general grasp of some details.
Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality has a great flow from page to page as it finds a distinct voice. Shaw truly masters involving the important facts and personal bits when required of her. There's a continued emphasis on where Shaw's privilege remains even as a bisexual individual. According to Shaw (2022), "We all live in bubbles, and mine is an adorable bi bubble" (p. 16). The importance of understanding the layers of identity, such as gender and race, alongside bisexuality continues to be a key characteristic in this book. Many unique stories and often unheard moments in history are brought up in such a seamless way. There's truly a love and passion for the community within this book, and Shaw has a way with explanations and stories that enraptures the reader. Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality provides an excellent examination of the myriad of topics found in a community often not discussed.