Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing my first non-fiction book of the year, Bisexual Men Exist by Vaneet Mehta. This book is available TODAY. So, happy book birthday to the author!
“You’re just being greedy.”
“Are you sure you’re not gay?”
“Pick a side.”
Being a bisexual man isn’t easy – something Vaneet Mehta knows all too well. After spending more than a decade figuring out his identity, Vaneet’s coming out was met with questioning, ridicule and erasure. This experience inspired Vaneet to create the viral #BisexualMenExist campaign, combatting the hate and scepticism m-spec (multi-gender attracted spectrum) men encounter, and helping others who felt similarly alone and trapped.
This powerful book is an extension of that fight. Navigating a range of topics, including coming out, dating, relationships and health, Vaneet shares his own lived experience as well as personal stories from others in the community to help validate and uplift other bisexual men. Discussing the treatment of m-spec men in LGBTQ+ places, breaking down stereotypes and highlighting the importance of representation and education, this empowering book is a rallying call for m-spec men everywhere.
***Thank you to Jessica Kingsley Publishers for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
It is hard for me to review this book because the subject matter is of intense personal and professional interest to me. I don’t think I’ve come across another book quite like this one before. I’ve read several nonfiction texts about bisexual people and the issues they face, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one devoted entirely to bi men. Typically, there’s maybe one chapter of the book specifically about this sub-population. So, I was very excited to come across this title on NetGalley and scoop up an advanced copy.
Research on bi men is scarce, which makes sense given the level of erasure this community experiences. I learned this the hard way when working on my thesis in graduate school. So, I was curious about how the author would be able to fill an entire book. I loved the approach taken to combine the available research with personal stories from the author and a variety of other bi men. It added a level of intimacy that nonfiction works don’t always have and highlighted the wonderful diversity found in the community.
The laser focus on bi men in the book allowed for a deeper explanation of the issues this group faces. It covered a wide variety of topics, including representation/education, coming out, and relationship dynamics. The health and mental health of bi men was explored, as well, and the author did a great job of explaining the disparities bi men experience and the barriers that make them worse. The various impacts of systemic oppression were highlighted, including the role of phallocentrism, monosexism, heterosexism, and sexism/misogyny in perpetuating negative stereotypes about bi men. My favorite part of the book, though, was the in-depth look at intersectionality. The discussion of the specific experiences of BIPOC and trans bi men was one of the most thorough I’ve ever read, and I learned a lot from it.
Despite the book having a ton of depressing information in it, I found the overall tone to be quite hopeful. The author made sure to highlight areas of improvement in recent years and outlined ways to make further progress. All of the stories illustrated how hard it can be as a bi man, but they also showed the things that can make it rewarding and the power that comes from living as your authentic self even when it is difficult.
Overall, this was a great primer on issues of relevance to bi men. I think it should be required reading for all men questioning their sexuality, but everyone would learn a lot from the information and stories contained in its pages. The writing was a bit too conversational/informal and repetitive at times, mostly because the topics overlap quite a bit, but it was all easy to read and understand while being loaded with information. We need more books like this one! Therefore, I rate the book 5 out of 5 stars.