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Bi Beginnings.

I came out as Bi at the age of 17. That was many years ago.

Here is what I heard.

  • You’re probably just a lesbian.
  • You’re confused.
  • You  just like sex too much. Editors note: Really is there a too much on that one. 😉
  • You just haven’t met the right man.
  • Have you even had sex with a man/woman?
  • How do you know?
  • You have to grow up.
  • Pray it away.
  • That’s sexy. Wanna have a threesome?
  • My boyfriend loves Bi girls.
  • I don’t want to date you. You just can’t make up your mind.
  • You’ll grow out of it.
  • Could you have sex with me so I can try it out. Editors note: This one always came from allegedly straight women.

I could go on but you get the gist. A lot of things have happened in the years since that day but suffice to say it was not a phase and I am still as Bi as I have ever been. I started using Twitter this year and what I found is very little has changed since I came out. Bisexuals still face the same Bi-phobia I did and, in some ways, it is worse because due to the proliferation of social media there is intentional ‘outing’ of those not quite ready to make their sexuality public, there is cyber-bullying, there is cyber-stalking. It almost makes the Bi-phobia I faced seem ‘quaint’ in comparison. However, the truth is that Bisexuals still struggle with their identity, still spend more time in the closet than gay men or lesbians, have a higher suicide rate than gays or lesbians,  and have difficulty finding a supportive community. It felt good, even in an online forum to dispel some of the toxic assumptions that cause so much pain and heartache for the Bi community and so I decided, perhaps, I could provide the same support in blog form to young Bis, to those just coming out at a more ‘seasoned’ age, to those who don’t have Bi friends in their geographical location or to those just tired of all the ‘weird bi-phobia’ that we have to put up with all the time. It also felt freeing to do so without the 140 character limitation. 😉

There are a zillion blogs out there…some that’ll help you with sex questions/some providing information about polyamory/some strictly political in nature/some with answers to kink questions/the list goes one. I don’t purport to be any Bi expert but I have been around a while and maybe (I hope) I have accumulated a little wisdom on the subject. This will probably be a mix of political/social information, hopefully some laughs,…but most importantly support for those struggling, those doing ok but could be better, those tired of the anti Bi bullshit, or those just looking for a place where it is absolutely ok, no…fantastic to be Bi. In my view, being Bi is a gift, a joy, a delight, a superpower and I would not change the way I am for anything or for anyone!

When only 28% of Bisexuals come out as compared with 77% of gay men and 71% of lesbians (per 2013 Pew Research Center survey) we know there is a serious problem. Bis don’t feel safe. Bis don’t feel supported. We have to work to change that. My personal solution is ‘radical visibility’. I make every effort to make sure the people in my life, the people at work, the people I come in contact with on a regular basis know that I am Bi. It may seem a small thing but almost everyday I have an opportunity to say nothing or say something. I choose to say something. I choose to speak for those who don’t feel they can.

If anything I share helps one person, supports one friend, heals one heart then my mission is accomplished. I just hope I can do more. ❤ Together we can create a community where Bis feel supported and where they feel safe enough to be visible.

Dear Bis. You are valid. You matter. You are important.  I see you. We can do this. ❤

 

Bi Pride/Don’t Hide

We are preparing for the Pride Parade. I have purchased lots of Bi bling. I have big Bi flags, little Bi flags, Bi pins, t shirts, hair color….everything I need to let my Bi Pride sparkle and shine.

I am going to let you in on a little secret. While I have been out and proud of being Bi for many decades I have never marched with a Bi contingent in a Pride parade. Were you hiding you might ask? No, I sure was not (although I was often erased despite my protestations). Well, then, why didn’t you march? Because I never lived anywhere with an organized Bi group in a Pride parade.

Now, that doesn’t seem right, you might say. I wholeheartedly agree. I have waited long enough to march with my cohort; the Bisexuals, the Pansexuals, the Queer non-monosexuals, the multisexuals, the poly folks, queer trans folks, the ace and the aros….you know, the folks who are not gay men and lesbians.  So, instead of waiting any longer I decided, along with other like-minded individuals, to claim our rightful place in the Parade and in the community.

So, think of us on June 10th as we step off to proclaim our non-monosexuality for all to see. Watch us as we welcome folks in the LGBT community who may not have felt welcomed before. We have strength and joy in our warm and welcoming community. This will be the first step in a long journey to create a safe and supportive environment for our local Bi+ folks. We are so ready! ❤

 

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Let Us Be Bi & Proud!

It is almost Pride Month in the US. While Pride is celebrated at different times throughout the US (although primarily in June as that month holds the anniversary of Stonewall) and the world our local Pride celebration will be the weekend of June 8th-10th. We plan to have a Bi contingent in the local Pride parade and that is very exciting.

However, I would be lying if I said don’t have conflicted feelings about Pride and our relationship to the larger LGBT community.  Pride is far too often a white-washed, corporate event which does not take into account or embrace the diversity of the entire LGBT community.

As we take baby steps to craft a solid, supportive community for Bi, Pan, and all non-monosexual folks we have found no response from our local LGBT center. I recently contacted the local LGBT film festival asking to volunteer and offer my Bi voice to the festivities. Again, crickets. I can only hope that this non-responsiveness is not intentional. It is important we remember that our first priority must be to save space for our non-monosexual sibs and then to demand our place at the Pride table. We must do this regardless of how reluctant the LG portion of the community seems to be to accept and embrace the B and the T.

My point here is that while Bisexuals are definitely a part of the Queer community and, in fact, are the Queer Majority we are often made to feel we don’t belong.  We are often made to feel we are not Queer enough to participate in the Pride festivities. I know that because my partner is a man many would look askance at our participation.

My message to gay men and lesbians is if you are at a Pride event and see what ‘looks like’ a male/female couple and you feel the urge to complain about ‘straight people coopting Pride space’ remember Bi people belong at Pride, Pan people belong at Pride, Trans people belong at Pride, Ace/Aro people belong at Pride….there is a wide and diverse community which has just as much right to be Proud as you do.

I am writing this to make sure that my Bi siblings realize we have every right to be included and embraced at Pride. We need to remember that Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two Bi trans women of color were there to lead the way at Stonewall. To push back when they were pushed around by the cops, to use their revolutionary fire to jump start the Gay Liberation movement. We need to remember that a Bi, polyamorous woman named Brenda Howard was instrumental in starting Pride marches, the precurser to the Pride parades we have today. We have a rich history of being a major part of the LGBT movement and a have helped create all the gains, legislative and social, we enjoy  today.

So, let’s remember to practice self-care for ourselves and offer supportive care for our non-monosexual sibs. We belong. We are valid and valuable. We have every reason to be proud of who we are. We have been instrumental in the movement since the very beginning and we continue to be. So, wear your Bi Pride colors, wave your Bi Pride flags and demand your Bi space at Pride.

We’re Here. We’re Queer. Get used to it.

 

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Getting Bi in the 414!

Cause for Celebration! It is finally happening. A small, committed group of non-monosexuals are beginning to build community in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. It took a while to find connections and get the party started but, slowly and surely, we are moving in the Bi Direction. ; )

We are a beautiful, diverse and welcoming crew of Bi/Pan/Poly/non-monosexuals. How we identify ourselves matters much less than the fact that we recognize our similarities and respect our differences.

It is an exciting time and while we have a long way to go to provide a safe and supportive community we are definitely beginning the journey. The longest journey starts with the first step and together we have started the journey.

We have a lot of long-term goals. A wide variety of activities to make use of and express the interests, skills and ideas are definitely on the drawing board. Due to Bisexuals keen interest in puns we have a few in mind; Bi-Cafe (a meet up for coffee, tea, conversation); Bi-Pedal (a walking/hiking group); Bi-Cycle (yep, cycling in our lovely urban setting and beyond); Bi-bliography (Bi book club) etc. You get the drift.

Our short-term goal is to get to know each other, support each other and to build the relationships which will sustain us individually and as a group.

Wish us luck. We’re on our way.

I would love to hear your ideas about how you have built Bi community where you live/work/play. We’re doing the best we can and looking for inspiration wherever we can find it. ❤

 

Bi-diversity

Bisexual people comprise approximately 52% of the LGBT community. In a recent study by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), people of color are more likely than white people to identify as bisexual. In fact, statistics tell us that bisexual women of color comprise 36% of women who identify as bisexual.

Numbers vary somewhat depending upon which research survey you read about but approximately 32% of transgender folks identify as bisexual. Although, 21% identify as queer and that could include a fair number of bisexuals who just do not use the term. The number of younger trans people who identify as bi/pan is even higher at 36%.

The takeaway from all of these percentages is that the bisexual community is beautifully diverse. Our bi-diversity just adds to our beauty and our strength.

Just to add a bit of history/herstory to the Bi-diversity here are a few folks who were/are #OneOfUs  These folks, and many more, should be common knowledge for all of us. While we are often erased we are here, we are queer and we are the majority of the LGBT community.  Info below from Bi.org and other various internet sources:

  • Marielle Franco

    ( 27 July 1979 – 14 March 2018) was a Brazilian politician, feminist, and human rights activist. She served as a city councillor of the Municipal Chamber of Rio de Janeiro for the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) from January 2017 until her death.
    On 14 March 2018, while in a car after delivering a speech, Franco and her driver were shot multiple times and killed by assailants in another vehicle.
    Franco was openly bi and had been with her partner, Mônica Benício, for over 12 years.

  • Dolores del Río

    (August 3, 1905 – April 11, 1983) born María de los Dolores Asúnsolo López-Negrete, she was a film star in Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s, and was one of the most important female figures of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. She was the first Latin American actress to achieve international stardom. Like many actresses of her era, she was part of the phenomenon of “sewing circles,” a phrase describing the underground lives of closeted lesbian and bisexual film actresses and their relationships.

  • Nina Simone

    (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Simone employed a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. She recorded over 40 albums over her lifetime.
    Starting in the 1960s her songs and performances became more overtly political and she performed and spoke at many civil rights marches and gatherings.
    Throughout her life she had relationships with both men and women, including dancer and model Marie-Christine Dunham Pratt.

  • Malcolm X

    (May 19, 1925 – Feb 21, 1965) was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.
    Malcolm X was presumed to be straight until Bruce Perry’s biography “Malcolm – The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America” was published. In numerous interviews with associates, friends, and family it was revealed that Malcolm X had had multiple same sex partners before his marriage to Betty Shabazz.

    was a Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. In his late 30s, after his Hajj, he denounced the Nation of Islam and many of the controversial, militant views with which he is still associated in popular culture. Before he married, Malcolm X had relationships with men as well as women. His self-identity was not bisexual, however his sexual orientation and behavior were.

  • Frida Kahlo

    (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) Kahlo is arguably Mexico’s most famous artist. She was a socialist, lived with chronic pain, and openly bi at a time when sexuality (especially women’s sexuality) was considered taboo. Her art continues to be a reminder of how beautifully horrifying life can be and a constant source of inspiration for all queer Latinos who follow in her footsteps.

  • Roxane Gay

    (born October 28, 1974) is an American writer, professor, editor, and commentator. She is the author of The New York Times best-selling essay collection “Bad Feminist” (2014) and the memoir “Hunger” (2017).
    In July 2016, Gay and poet Yona Harvey were announced as writers for Marvel Comics’ World of Wakanda, a spin-off from the company’s Black Panther title, making them the first black women to be lead writers for Marvel. The title was cancelled in 2017.
    Roxane Gay is openly bi.

  • JoCasta Zamarripa

    (born March 8, 1976) is an educator, politician and Wisconsin state Representative. She is a Democrat who in 2010 became the first Latina elected to Wisconsin’s legislature. In a July 2012 interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Zamarripa announced that she is bisexual. “It has always been my goal in office to be transparent and honest with my constituents,” she said. “But before the primary in 2010, I didn’t have the valor and courage to come out…I feel remiss that I didn’t come out then.” Zamarripa went on to win reelection in 2012 and 2014, each time capturing 83% or more of the general vote.

  • June Millicent Jordan

    (July 9, 1936 – June 14, 2002) was a bi Caribbean-American writer, college professor, and activist. Prolific and passionate, she was an influential voice who lived and wrote on the frontlines of American poetry exploring issues of race, gender, class, and American society. The author of many award-winning books, she traveled widely to read her poems and to proclaim a vision of liberation for all people. Dynamic, rebellious, and courageous, June Jordan was, and still is, a lyrical catalyst for change.

  • Sook-Yin Lee

    (born 1966) is a Canadian broadcaster, musician, filmmaker, and actress. She is known for her lead role in John Cameron Mitchell’s film “Shortbus”. Her feature film directorial debut Year of the Carnivore premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009.
    She is openly bi.

  • Frank Ocean

    (Born October 28, 1987) is an American singer-songwriter from New Orleans, Louisiana. Ocean’s early career was as a ghostwriter for artists such as Brandy, Justin Bieber, and John Legend. His 2012 debut album, Channel Orange, earned Grammy acclaim. In 2012 he famously came out via a tumblr post describing a man that he had fallen in love with as a teenager. His 2017 song Chanel has been embraced as a bi anthem.

  • Alice Walker

    (born February 9, 1944) is an American author, poet, and activist. She has written both fiction and essays about race and gender. She is best known for the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple (1982) for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Walker is bisexual, and her partners have included Tracy Chapman. She is mother of another famous bisexual woman, Rebecca Walker.

  • Joan Baez

    (born January 9, 1941) is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice. In a 1972 interview with a Berkeley paper, Baez called herself bi, making her one of the first celebrities to “come out.”

  • Marsha P. Johnson/Sylvia Rivera
  •  These two important gay liberation figures and transgender activists were major figures in the Stonewall Riots which were reponsible for creating the LGBT rights movement. They were best friends and co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens and trans women of color. Both of these major players in the LGBT rights movement should be remembered for their activism and their bisexuality.
  • Sara Ramirez

    (born August 31, 1975) is a Mexican American actress, singer, and songwriter. Born in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, she graduated with a fine arts degree from the Juilliard School. She is best known for her roll on “Grey’s Anatomy” and is now playing Kat Sandoval on “Madam Secretary”.
    In 2016 Ramirez came out as bi and has been an activist for LGBT rights and promoting bi visibility.

  • Freddie Mercury

    (5 Sep 1946 – 24 Nov 1991) is known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen. Mercury was openly bi. His relationships included Mary Austin to whom he willed his home and the royalties from his music, and about whom he wrote the song ‘Love Of My Life.” Later, Mercury was involved with Barbara Valentin, who is featured in the video for “It’s a Hard Life.” In 1985, he began a relationship with hairdresser Jim Hutton that lasted until Mercury’s death.

  • Sal Mineo

    (January 10, 1939 – February 12, 1976) was an actor, musician, and director. When he heard that Rebel Without a Cause, a drama about juvenile delinquency aimed toward the new, lucrative movie audience of teenagers, he was desperate for the roll of Plato, adoring friend of the lead character Jim Stark. Although a same sex kiss never made it pass the censors, director Nick Ray still encouraged Sal to play up his desire for Dean while they acted. His relationships with both men and women were considered one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood and have been extensively documented in his biography by Michael Gregg Michaud.

  • Charles M. Blow

    (born August 11, 1970) is a New York Times columnist and frequent commentator on CNN and MSMBC. Previously, he was graphics director of The New York Times and art director of National Geographic magazine. The father of three discusses his sexuality in “Fire Shut Up in My Bones: A Memoir,” released in 2014. As Blow describes it, he long chafed at the word bisexual because he too held common misconceptions about the term and because, in general, he resisted his own sexuality in a futile attempt to become straight. “In addition to being attracted to women, I could also be attracted to men. There it was, all of it. That possibility of male attraction was such a simple little harmless idea, the fight against which I had allowed to consume and almost ruin my life. The attraction and my futile attempts to ‘fix it’ had cost me my dreams.”

 

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An Indelible Mark.

I make every effort to be bi-visible. I wear Bi Pride colors.  I wear Bi t-shirts. I wear Bi jewelry. I say I am Bisexual out loud. ; ) My next plan is to get a Bi tattoo. Here is the problem. I cannot decide what kind of tattoo to get and where to get the tattoo (I mean on my body; however, I am not sure where to have the tattoo done).

I am not usually plagued by indecisiveness. I am usually forthright. I make a decision and then I do it. I have put this off for years, nay, decades. Part of the problem is I am a very frugal person and tattoos (of the type I am considering) are fairly costly. And, I have my doubts about tattoo artists. It is a very valid  art but, whenever I read reviews, there will inevitably be one person who hated their tattoo and, sometimes, when they share it I can see why.

I have made a decision to be radically visible so stay tuned. I will share my tattoo as soon as I get it. If you want to help me decide. Have you seen a Bisexual Pride related tattoo you thought was absolutely awesome. Please share so you can help me make up my mind.

Here are a few options I am considering:

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Livin’ the Grid Life.

Dr Fritz Klein wrote a book, The Bisexual Option. Originally published in 1978 the book provided research and information about a largely ‘unseen’ sexuality. It just happened to be my sexuality.  Bisexuality. I remember the excitement I felt to see a respectful, insightful treatment of bisexuality. It was the right book at the right time for me and explained the challenges Bisexuals faced in terms of the misapprehensions and discrimination from monosexual folks, now commonly referred to as bi-phobia.

The Bisexual Option remains the definitive book about bisexuality and about our sexuality as a spectrum.  It also takes into account the fluidity of bisexuality over a person’s lifetime. This allowed me to find language and expression for my sexuality which had a tendency to vary with time. In my earliest years, I had more of an affinity for sex and relationships with women and/or what we used to call androgynous folks (now referred to as non-binary; and I count myself among their numbers); a bit later I had a more equal eye for all gender expressions (and I would say that has been the majority of my life, thus far).  There was one person, whom I married, and who happened to be a cis man, but the fact I fell in love with him (and that we have created a long life together) did not change the bedrock of my bisexuality.  The Grid spoke to me much more than the Kinsey scale which was created with the idea that the number you choose was always going to be fixed.  That was not my reality.

Of course, the grid itself, is a bit of a relic as it refers to a binary of gender identity and that does not (nor did it ever) accurately reflect people’s experiences or who they are. However, the idea that as Bisexuals, we were not a ‘fixed point’,  has become the underpinning of our fluid sexuality.

Obviously, there is still much research being done. We should support and champion the work academics continue to do to explain, express and educate about our bisexuality. I would urge all bisexuals to participate in The Pride Study so our diverse voices can be heard: https://www.pridestudy.org/

 

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Bisexual Fluidity.

Janelle Monae is Queen. I just wanted to get that out of the way as I have been fangirling all over her since ‘Make Me Feel’ was released. Bisexuals did not need her to ‘spell it out’ for us. We knew exactly what she was saying. However, it was still an amazing revelation to read her real coming-out words from those luscious lips in Rolling Stone magazine. She’s bisexual, she’s pansexual, she’s queer….she is definitely fluid. Just like many of the rest of us in the Bi+ community. Those of us who have been around for a while could not be more chuffed as more high-profile folks come out as Bi+.

Does the language we use to identity our sexual identity and orientation matter? Yes, it does. Does the language we use to identify our sexual identity and orientation differ? Yes, it does.  Does the language we use really matter? No, in my view, it does not.

Life is far too short to get into the Bi/Pan/Queer debate. I use Bisexual to express my sexuality. I also use the definition (to paraphrase it) indicating I am attracted to folks of my own and other genders. I am awed and amazed by the universe of gender diversity and beauty.  Every single Bi person has the right and the authority to pronounce how they would like to refer to their sexuality. Our language helps us use shorthand to explain who we are. We should use the language which fits us like a glove.

My reasoning for using Bi is to honor the years of activism and the Bi warriors who worked so very hard to place B in the LGBT acronym. We belong within the LGBT community. As a youngun, all those decades ago, I used pansexual to describe myself but it was not ‘sticking’ in the greater community so I made a decision to just do Bi my way.

That said, there is no hierarchy or ‘right way’ to refer to those of us who take shelter under the Bi+ umbrella. Or, to put it differently, the right way is our own unique, particular way. Just so long as we don’t use our own language to divide our community. We are free to live and love as we see fit. Contrary to public opinion, we ‘see’ gender and we celebrate all the diversity of gender expression. Many of are not ‘binary’, in any sense of the word, in the way we express our attraction and affection.

The ‘arch android’ put it best when she said she is open to learning more about herself and her sexuality. I would argue that is how all of us in the Bisexual community should be. Let’s all be ‘free ass mother fuckers’. It is that freedom which is our greatest strength and we should celebrate it.

 

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