A New Hybridity? Bisexuality, Queer Theory, and Mary Dorcey's Biography of Desire

Paula Pratt (Al Akhawayn University, Ifrane, Morocco)

[complete essay]

In an interview published in Lesbian and Gay Visions of Ireland (1995), "lesbian writer" Mary Dorcey (who shies away from such labelling), observes that "The word 'homosexual' was not spoken or written in Ireland before the 1970's. The word 'gay' didn't exist. I had never heard of a bisexual. I had never seen one or spoken to one. So how did I manage to become one?" (28). Later in the same interview, however, she seems to clarify the aspect of "identity": "I am a lesbian because I have loved women more than men. That is, I have loved women more deeply, more completely. . . . I think I was born bisexual and chose to become a lesbian when I fell in love with a lesbian feminist . . ." (30).

This paper will examine the seeming contradiction inherent in the above statement, a sort of "hybridity," out of which, it could be said, was born the (bisexual) narrator of Dorcey's novel Biography of Desire: a married (presumably straight?) woman who falls in love with a woman. This critique will also explore the contribution made by this novel to the ongoing conversation within (and without) the gay/lesbian community, about the validity of bisexuality itself. Finally, the paper will propose some ways of exploring the connection(s) between bisexuality and the broader field of queer theory.

Postcolonial OV discourseov Casablanca Conference

Last modified: 7 May 2001