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Friday, June 14, 2024

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TOPHER TALKS: Topher chats with Vanet Mehta about his new book

This month, GLL’s resident blonde bombshell, Topher Taylor, hears about Vanet Mehta’s new book

Who are you? Obviously, I know, but let our readers know?
Hi readers! My name is Vaneet Mehta! I am an Indian Bisexual Man born and raised in Southall in West London! Software engineer by day, but by night I am a writer and public speaker.

I talk and write on the LGBTQIA+ community, especially on bisexuality and being a queer person of colour!

Where did the ‘Bisexual Men Exist’ idea come from?

Hahaha! Apparently, we do, yes! The idea came out from some biphobia I saw online on Twitter, targeted specifically towards bisexual men. Instead of spending my energy fighting all of that, I wanted to create a moment for us instead. To celebrate ourselves. To find one another. Of course, it would potentially have a side effect of educating bigots that we
exist. But I mainly wanted to override the negativity with positivity. And I hoped it would also help reach those who were like me a few years back, who were questioning their identity and seeing the bigotry, instead to see other bisexual men, out and proud.

It went viral on Twitter, didn’t it?

It did! When I first used it in 2019, I only had a small following but it got a lot of attention even then. When I used it again in 2020, my following had grown but not enough for me to have expected that kind of impact at all! It trended in multiple counties, I think it hit number 1 in the UK and 2 in the US! Organisations like GLAAD, Gay Star News, Pink News and Human Rights Campaign were all using it. Multiple articles were published on it. It was a wild ride!

Why do you think people responded so massively to something as simple as reminding people of the existence of Bisexual men, who have existed since the dawn of time?

I think it’s because of how often bisexual men are erased. As you said, we’ve existed since the dawn of time! There are countless famous men who have or even are out as bisexual. Numerous men might identify as bisexual if they were alive today.

And yet, people say bisexual men don’t exist. There are even papers being written in psychological journals trying to see if we actually exist because they don’t believe us. So I think that’s why people responded so heavily to it. It wasa moment for them to finally make themselves known. Multiple people used it to come out. They felt seen, maybe for the first time ever.

What is the most frustrating thing about being bisexual in the queer scene?

I think the fact that even in the LGBTQIA+ community, we experience discrimination. Which means that these so called “safe spaces” aren’t so safe for bisexual people.

And the impact of that is huge. It means we aren’t able to access the resources, the help, the networks and the support in the same way others can!

And what is the best thing about being bisexual?

Definitely the bisexual community! Bisexual activists do so much on so little and sometimes it can feel so thankless! But they keep going! The bisexual community is so wonderful in so many different ways and I’m so grateful to be part of it.

Photo Credit – Vanet Mehta’s Instagram

You have written a book about this topic now. What is the core meaning?

The core of the book is really outlining the impact that the erasure and bigotry from both society at large and the LGBTQIA+ community has on bisexual, pansexual and multi-gender attracted spectrum (m-spec) men. How the lack of education and representation makes it harder for us to come out, making dating and relationships more difficult. And how that all effects our physical and mental well-being. This is all told not just through statistics and research but actual real lived experiences. And I may be biased but I think people really need to read it. These experiences don’t get talked about enough and aren’t well known by the masses. It’s important people educate themselves so they can be better allies!

Where can we get your book?

I always recommend people check out their local LGBTQIA+ bookshop first (so in London, The Common Press or Gay’s The Word would be a great place to look). Failing that, it’s available online at Waterstones or Amazon!

What message do you have to any bisexual people reading this interview?

You’re not alone. There’s a whole wide community out here and we’re here for you!

And finally, tell us something about Vaneet Mehta that we’d never guess?

Ooo that’s a hard one, I feel like I’m an open book! Did you know that I actually started writing again because I wanted to get into fiction writing? Absolutely none of this was planned at all!

You can follow

Vanet on Instagram @nintendomad888 and of course Topher on @tophertaylor



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