It has been a very busy couple of months. It has taken a lot of work but it has been well worth it. Bi+ Pride Milwaukee has made great strides in the 414 and beyond. Our Bi Fi signal has been strong and has been amplified. For such a new organization we have really come a long way.
We marched in the local Pride parade again. Our numbers were larger, our Bi finery was better and we received the same warm, affirming welcome from the crowd in attendance at the parade.
Our social media numbers continue to grow, we are organizing more events and we are welcoming more and more folks to our events.
The true icing on the cake was receiving a Pride Award from Milwaukee’s Pridefest. There were a number of folks who won an award but among them was Bi+ Pride Milwaukee. This was notable in that one year ago I don’t think most folks in the local LGBT community knew we existed and little had been done to support and welcome the Bi+ folks to most LGBT events or activities. That has changed significantly. It was fair for many of the folks I met to say they had no idea whom to contact to establish a connection with the Bi community. That was true. However, that has changed. We’re here, we’re queer and we are not going anywhere. We know we are fulfilling a need and we will continue to do so.
Over the past year we have finally been able to have our local LGBT center host a Bi event and now the Bi+ discussion group meets on a monthly basis. To have the signal boost the LGBT center can provide and have access to their facilities has been beneficial. And, it is only the start.
When I made remarks upon accepting the Pride award at the Pridefest opening ceremonies I made the point that Bisexuals have been in the community and have been fighting for the rights of all Queers, right along with gay men, lesbians, and trans folks. In fact, there were Bi folks at Stonewall and Brenda Howard, the Mother of Pride, organized the Christopher Street Gay Liberation March, 1970. I also made the point that our organization was inclusive and if you are non-monosexual (no matter which label resonates with you) or an ally you are welcome to join us. We are not an organization which participates in gatekeeping. We experience enough of that and will have no part in encouraging it.
All in all, it has been equal parts exhausting and exhilarating to get BPM going but I think our future is bright. A few other folks are starting to participate very actively and having been acknowledged at Pridefest has definitely elevated our ‘brand’. Here we are with a few of the folks who joined us in the Milwaukee Pride parade. Don’t we look marvelous.
I am putting my full remarks here. Not so much to share as to have them for myself when I want to reflect next year on how much progress we have made. : )
Thank you. Good Afternoon. What a beautiful day to be proud. (Editors note: and it was truly gorgeous)
My name is Amy Luettgen and I am here on behalf of the wonderful people who are Bi+ Pride Milwaukee. Five of our activists are here with me today and I would like to give them a well-deserved shout out: Sarah, Grace, Sean, Michelle and Lexy.
When this all started happening/coalescing over a year ago we really did not have great expectations or lofty goals, the idea was to create a safe space for folks who identify as Bi to meet each other and begin to craft Bi+ community. We certainly could not have expected to have our work recognized with a Pride Award on the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall.
But, actually, it is really appropriate in that Bi Trans women were a major part of that initial riot for Gay Rights five decades ago. And, Brenda Howard, a Bi woman, known as the Mother of Pride was the organizer of the first Pride parade and festival. She organized the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March and had the idea to have speakers and activities at the same time as the march. Brenda’s legacy is the reason there is a Pridefest here in Milwaukee today.
Bi the way, we want to be abundantly clear that while our organization is called Bi+ we welcome and embrace all the many and diverse labels folks use to describe their non-monosexuality: Fluid, Queer, Pan, Bi, Poly, Omni, Unlabeled…whether you’re Trans, Cis, non-binary, gender non-conforming, gender fluid, gender expansive…you and your partners and allies belong so just drop Bi and join in the fun. We aren’t gatekeepers, if you shelter under the big Bi umbrella you are welcome.
The B has always been around…we’re here, we’re Queer and it means a great deal to us to be seen and recognized. We have strong Bi-Fi but we really appreciate the signal boost provided by Milwaukee Pride. Amplification is always welcome. So please stop on Bi to one of the events we have going on. Check out our Facebook page or our website. Come to a discussion group (third Thursday of the month at the LGBT center), join us at Bi café or Bi Happy Hour. We have a lot going on and with your help and support we will continue to grow valid and vibrant Bi+ community. We are making big waves on a Great Lake. Join us for the fun and frolicsome Pan-demonium.
Oh, and Bi the way, thank you all so much!!