Elevate Difference

The Fence: A New Place of Power for Bisexual Women (Various Issues)

Okay, I have a terrible confession to make: I have a very difficult time reading and enjoying zines. There are so many sub par zines on the market that I often get flustered and run to the nearest issue of Bitch instead. However, the second I read the mission statement of The Fence, I was smitten.

Created by Canadian writer Cheryl Dobinson, The Fence attempts to fill an enormous gap in the GLBTQ community—the voices of bisexual women. The mission statement reads: “Calling bisexuals ‘fencesitters’ has been a way of marginalizing us, of placing us outside gay/lesbian and straight cultures by saying that we haven’t made a decision about our sexuality. The Fence is all about bisexual women reclaiming this position and speaking from our unique viewpoints that traverse straight and gay/lesbian cultures, but also allows us to have spaces of our own. The Fence can be a positive and powerful place, and this zine is for the women who have decided to stay there.” Swoon! The publication also welcomes discussions and contributions from genderqueer and transfolk.

Each issue of this zine presents thoughtful, moving contributions from talented writers, illustrators, poets and other bi women who have important things to say. I carried each issue with me as I devoured them one at a time, marking passages that required more thought, chuckling at comics featuring Steven Seagal (guess you had to be there) and wiping away tears after reading passages that resonate a little too closely to my own experiences. Most of all, I felt overjoyed to find a zine that represents a population of the GLBTQ community that is often represented as second-class citizens in mainstream gay publications.

If I had to offer one criticism of The Fence, it would be that I would love to read more contributions about bisexual women in popular culture because I believe that the media perpetuates many of the myths that keep bisexual women at the fringes of our society. Believe it or not, but Madonna and Britney Spears aren’t exactly positive role models for the bisexual community. For more information about The Fence, or to contribute to the publication, visit their website.

Written by: Kerri Kanelos, June 14th 2007

Wow, fabulous review. Thanks for the write-up. It's reassuring to know that there is a well-written publication out there to support all individuals with the LGBTQ community. I'll definitely have to check this out. --Lacey D.