Bi+ Platinum

Ok, Bi+ Universe….I am looking for some ideas/suggestions.

I organize my local Bi+ group. Bi and large, I am the oldest person in the room at our events. I don’t mind being the sage elder…lol…but i often long to converse with folks closer to my age who have had a few more experiences under their belts.

I think this kind of group is important because Bi+ folks, of a certain age and experience level, have probably heard it all or at least most of it. By that I mean, the biphobia, the invisibilizing of their sexuality, the challenges that come with trying to maintain one’s Bi identity throughout the ups, downs and all arounds of life.

In addition, older Bis often have some unique challenges if they have never come out of the closet and may benefit from the support. I also like the idea of creating a sub-group in our larger Bi+ local community that can show younger folks that Bisexuality is not a phase and a beautiful, magical lifelong identity.

There are some groups for older Queer folks but, in general, they are comprised of gay men and lesbians. While we certainly would want to have a presence in our larger Queer community I also think there are unique delights and challenges for older Bi+ folks.

In addition, ageism seems to be the last discrimination society can employ with impunity and I think the cameraderie we could create for each other would be a wonderful template for younger Bi+ generations.

So, all of this said, I would love your ideas. What would be an appropriate name for such a group? I thought of Bi+ Platinum as it speaks to the value Bi+ elders should have in our larger Bisexual community. It has a little of a corporate credit card sound though….so, other ideas are truly welcomed. Silver Sages? Too witchy? I don’t object but others might. Bi+ Prime. It has a rather cool matrix type sound. B+ perennials? It gives the impression that we have ‘been around’….and that is certainly true. We have a long view.

Anyway, this is on my mind. I want to make it happen. It is on my vision board for this year….along, with a shit ton of other stuff.

I am just throwing this out to the universe and hoping inspiration will return. : )

In closing, Bisexuality is a lifelong gift. It does ebb and flow due to its fluid nature but it never goes away. It is always a vibrant part of our identity. Bisexuality should be embraced and celebrated no matter how old we are and I aim to create intergenerational Bi+ community that acknowledges and elevates the work done by our Elder Bis.

Stay tuned as I work on this project. : )

 

See the source image

Bi Activism Matters!

Today is Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday celebration. I always take some time on this day to reflect upon whether or not I am doing enough for my fellow humans. For the past few years,  my focus has been on my Bi+ family. I had started out in Gay Liberation back in the 70’s and there were definitely other Bisexuals involved but they were not always loud and proud about their bisexuality.

It is important to acknowledge that Bisexual people have always been involved in the struggle for LGBTQ rights. There are some very notable folks in that history and I have written about them before. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, were Bi+ trans women who were involved in the Stonewall Riot. Brenda Howard is known as the Mother of Pride for organizing the Christopher Street Gay Liberation celebration in June 1970. Stephen Donaldson, a Bi activist, organized the first Gay student organization called the Student Homophile League in the mid sixties. Bisexuals have never failed to support the struggle. Glaad has a wonderful synopsis of Bi activism over the decades and I recommend you read it. It is important to educate yourself on the contributions of Bi+ folks to the LGBTQ liberation movement as they are, far too often, erased.

We have a brand new year ahead of us. Another opportunity to express our sexuality as best suits us and to expand our universe by being bi-visible. There is always some way that you can shout your sexuality. They can be small ways such as wearing a Bi clothing or bling. There can be bigger ways such as organizing the Bi community locally. There are very personal ways such as coming out to one trusted person.

The main thing, and I am saying this for my own benefit as well as yours, is to do something. Large or small, loud or quiet….and if, nothing else, just be your Bi self. And, if over the next year, you feel the need to rest a bit, that is just fine. Take it all one day at a time. Be kind to yourself. It can be kind of tough to be Bi sometimes. We are not given our due respect. We are not seen even when we are shouting our existence. We seem to always be asked to explain ourselves. Even though who we are is not at all complex…we are people who can see and respond to the beauty of all people. It should not be that hard to understand but inexplicably it still causes confusion for non-Bi people.

If you can do it join a local organization for support and comradery. Make sure to follow some Bi+ sites and pages on social media. This all seems a little rambling to me but the main thing is to acknowledge within yourself who you are. If you are attracted to people of more than one gender you are non-monosexual. If you are non-monosexual you are a member of the Bi+ community. That acknowledgement alone is absolutely huge and monumental and important. So, at the very least, commit to be yourself and to not deny who you are. And, if you do that, activism and organization and community will follow!

Adding the link to the Glaad site for the brief but interesting Bi+ history lesson:

 

https://www.glaad.org/blog/us-bisexual-movement-biweek-history-lesson

 

See the source image

Bi-Intentions

The New Year is always a good time for reflection. Every one of us can benefit from taking time to think about what we have done, where we have been and where we are going. This past year has had some wonderful highs and some unfortunate lows. I always prefer to dwell upon the positive.

Being Bi is the aspect of my life which has brought me incredible joy but caused some challenges over the decades. I prefer to dwell upon the positive while not pretending the negative does not happen or does not affect me. I do have some plans/intentions for the New Year which I will share. If they are helpful to anyone else that would bring me great joy.

I intend to continue to be unapologetically Bi and Queer. This is not a change so much as a continuation of what I have been doing to varying degrees over the years. I will admit to some unintentional erasure which I have done to myself but those days are long over. Confidence in the way you present yourself really matters….or at least that has been my experience. While I find most people endlessly interesting I don’t need their permission to be who I am. If they affirm me that is delightful but I don’t need their affirmation to be myself. I have found the more confident and vocal I have become in my Queerness the more I garner respect from others, both queer and straight. It is interesting how rarely folks will challenge you if you look them right in the eye and own who you are.

I intend to do much more for my beautiful Bi+ community. This past year has seen tremendous growth for our local Bi+ Pride Milwaukee group. We were recognized at Milwaukee’s PrideFest by receiving a Pride award for our organization. It was a joyous moment for all of us. I was so honored to accept the award on behalf of  BPM and took the opportunity to comment on how the B has never been silent and has been an integral part of the fight for LGBTQ rights.  Sadly, we have continued to be met with biphobia and bierasure, very often from our own LGBTQ siblings. This is tremendously wrong and dispiriting. Our best response is to continue to affirm and support everyone who identifies as non-monosexual, no matter which label resonates with them. See prior comment about confidence….if we acknowledge our own magic for ourselves and each other we will demand respect. We are right to do so.

My plan is to find ways to grow our local organization and connect, at least regionally, with other Bi groups. I have started that outreach but there is much more to be done. The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, or in this case, one email. ; )

On a more practical level I want to do more writing for and about our Bi+ community to counter much of the misinformation I see, far too often, in periodicals focused on the LGBTQ community. It is well past time for folks to say ‘oh it is hard and I don’t really understand bisexuality but I guess they are ok’ and move on to let’s celebrate the beautiful Bi+ community in all of their glory and let’s realistically look at the challenges we face, the research which needs to be done, the funding which needs to be given, and how to uplift the Bi+ community. I also hope to get a podcast in place to celebrate the amazing and joyful diversity of non-monosexuals.

I have quite a few other projects both for the Bi+ community, the Queer community and others that I want to pursue. More on that as the year unfolds. I want to walk more than I talk because the talk will take care of itself once my projects have come to fruition.

On a personal level I have a lot of growth I would like to see in myself as I take the first step and many more into the next decade. I want to rest when I am tired and take the time to return refreshed to the many issues of importance to me. I want to enjoy my family and friends without the kind of worry and anxiety I often experience. I want to acknowledge and celebrate the beauty which surrounds me. I definitely want to travel much more and try to connect with Bi communities wherever I go. We are all much stronger and more resilient together. I want to be a bit kinder to myself and know I have the ability to support myself as well as others.

I especially want to continue to celebrate, elevate and nourish myself as a Bi non-binary woman and shine my light for others who may have difficulty seeing the beauty in themselves.

All the love from me to you, my friends.

 

 

 

See the source image

 

Being Bi during the Holi-Daze!

I know. I know. Being Queer and being at home for the holidays can be very challenging. As Bisexuals we are often not accorded proper respect and acknowledgement of our sexuality.

We hear the usual claptrap:

**oh, you’re dating a boy/girl now?! So you’ve finally decided you’re straight/gay!

**You really have to stop with this Bisexual ‘thing’. We all know you are just doing it for attention.

**I knew a Bi guy/girl once. They finally admitted they were just gay. When are you going to do that?

**Hey, (always said in a hushed whisper) do you have a lot of threesomes?

**I don’t really think anyone is really Bisexual or I think everyone is Bisexual.

It is really hard to handle all this nonsense along with any other family drama which may take place.

You just want to have a lovely time, connect with family, and not have to explain every single little thing about whom you find attractive and what is going on with your love/sex life. Is it really too much to ask? I am here to tell you it is not. You have every right to be yourself and enjoy yourself.

So, I have a suggestion. It may be difficult but set boundaries. Bisexual people have no more responsibility to explain their sexuality than anyone else. No one questions Aunt Agnes as to why she has been married to that asshole Uncle Dudley for all these painful years. No one asks Cousin Sheila why she won’t commit to her boyfriend, Justin and never invites him to family functions. Folks rarely question straight people and their relationships at the holidays and, nowadays, families are much more accepting of their gay/lesbian family members, too. They should accord you the same respect as they do to folks who are not multi-gender attracted and you should expect their respect.

Tell family members to allow you to lead the conversation about who you are dating/if you are dating and indicate if they have crossed a line it is just not okay. If you have supportive family members enlist their help. You don’t have to do this alone if there is someone who will give you a hand.

You are not required to divulge personal data. Sometimes silence is the best option. If someone gets a bit too nosy you could always ask them an uncomfortably personal question just to let them know how it feels.

Remember, you are an amazing, magical bisexual and you don’t need anyone’s permission to be yourself. And, if it gets to be too much you have options. There is no reason you cannot leave a situation which is making you feel uncomfortable. Your peace of mind matters and you do not have to tolerate poor behavior from folks just because they are family.

You matter. You are valid. Even if you are still trying to figure out exactly who you are no one has the right to give you the third degree. Kindness and compassion should be served at every holiday event. Your attendance is not mandatory. Self-care is important.

The most important thing is to make sure you feel healthy and happy. If that means attending an alternative event at a local LGBT center or being with supportive friends then do that. At the end of the day, do what you need to do acknowledge and respect yourself. ❤

 

 

See the source image

Coming Out Matters!

Should you come out? Only you have the answer to that question. If you were to ask me I would say it is definitely the best idea to bust out of that closet. It is stifling in there but I don’t want to sugarcoat it. I do know as a Bisexual it is not easy to be out. I also know that for me it has been worth it.
I came out at 17 and while, because I am Bi, that has meant I have had to come out over and over again it has also meant I did not fear someone might find out who I am and who I have always been. I had acknowledged my own truth, said the word Bisexual out loud and felt the warmth of authenticity which speaking that truth brought. Even if my Mother said I would grow out of it. Even if not every single person I passed on the street knew I was Bi. I knew and I had spoken it out loud. Here we are 44 years later and I can guarantee it was not a phase.
; )
Now, to be clear, because I have been married to a cis man for a long while many folks have thought I was straight. (grrrrrr) It has definitely been a struggle over the decades to make sure I made abundantly clear who I was. Guess what? Sometimes people did not believe me. And, I know, there have been times when I have internalized that bierasure and, in my worst moments, I felt internalized biphobia. Was I protesting too much? Did people not believe me when I told them I was Bi because deep down inside I was really not queer enough? Over and over I had to tell myself I was queer enough. There had been no change to my attractions even if my ‘married with children’ life looked heteronormative. I had every right to say who I am without fear and with the expectation of support.
I know there were times I thought my clever comments indicating I was Bi, which to me were totally transparent, were a bit too opaque for anyone else to catch on to. I beat myself up sometimes for not wearing a sandwich board every time I went out saying ‘This person is Bisexual’. Now my radical bi-visibility is impossible to miss. (don’t be disappointed in yourself though….it is not always an easy process so just take it easy on yourself!)
Truly, things have gotten better. There is more Bi representation in media today than there was 44 years ago…when as far as I could tell there was exactly zero amount. More celebrities and well known folx are out, loud and proud. There are more advocacy group specifically supporting concerns of Bisexual people. There is definitely more Bi bling, such as Bi Pride t-shirts and jewelry, which can do your talking for you. I literally dazzle with my pink, purple and blue!
However, we still face many disparities in the Queer community:
-Bisexuals have higher rates of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression than members of the Gay, Lesbian or heterosexual communities
-48% of Bisexuals have been the subject of hurtful jokes at work because of their sexual orientation
-29% of Bisexual youth are harassed at school.
-Bisexuals face an almost equal amount of discrimination from the Gay community as they do from the straight community
-Bisexual teen girls face higher levels of sexual harassment than their straight or lesbian peers
How do we combat this discrimination? I would argue the best way is by speaking our truth, coming out of the closet, finding our community and supporting each other. I say this knowing it may not be safe for everyone to be out. First, love yourself just the way you are. In my view, being Bi is magical. You can see beauty all around you in all types of people and that is an absolute superpower.
If you are reading this and truly do not think there is anyone you can talk to just leave me a comment. I can guarantee I will be in touch and help in any way I can. Even if it is just to listen to you say, ‘I’m Bisexual or ‘I’m Queer’ or ‘I’m Pansexual’. I am a safe place for you. It is usually just one step at a time but trusting one person is the first step.
Being Bi is amazing. Being Bi in community with other Bisexuals is transcendent. Take your time. Be out on your own terms. Just know we are here and waiting to welcome you.
There are resources/organizations for Bi folx and I will include just a few for you to take a look at:
Bisexual Resource Center: http://biresource.org/
Bi+ Pride Milwaukee (this one is close to my heart as I organize it): https://www.bimke.org/
BiNet USA: http://www.binetusa.org/
Ambi.org: http://www.ambi.org/

 

See the source image

Rebel! Rebel!

“You’ve got your Mother in a whirl. She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl”

Rebel Rebel was released by David Bowie in 1974 and it really spoke to me as a Baby Bi. At that point I had not really given my gender identity much thought at all but I knew I liked both boys and girls. I also knew it made me a sexual rebel. To quote David, ‘You like me and I like it all”.  Heterosexuals like opposite sex folks. Homosexuals like same sex folks. At that point, I knew I liked both and later came to find out I liked it all. Bowie had not said he was Bi yet…at least, not out loud but I could tell there was an edge to him that did not seem to be straight and maybe seemed a little gay. Was that me? It took more research for me to name my sexuality but I knew  my sexuality was expansive. I knew there were people who would tell me it was wrong but I also knew it felt very right.

Later when I became involved in feminism, Democratic Socialism and LGBT activism I knew my bisexuality truly pushed the boundaries and I wanted to push those boundaries personally, politically, sexually….in every way I could. This was long before intersectionality was a theory/practice but it just felt right to be inclusive in every way possible.

That inclusivity is what can make folks fear bisexuality. It is not uncommon for folks to fear what they don’t know, what they cannot experience themselves. People are afraid of bisexuality they think bi people are really gay or can choose to be either gay or straight, are confused or going through a phase, are promiscuous, or are carriers of sexual diseases. This is absolute mythmaking but, unfortunately because so few Bis are out the myths persist.

One myth is accurate in my view. We ARE rebels. We ARE revolutionaries. We DO live our lives outside of the societal status quo. We envision a present and future where gender conventions and binaries are no longer something which confines us. We know in our hearts that Bisexuals are the queerest of the Queers. We embody queerness with a sexuality and worldview which is beyond strict concepts of gender norms and sexual and emotional behavior. I think some folks might think that without a ‘status quo’ to cling to it might be terrifying.  Bisexuals, if they are honest with themselves, see this chaos as liberating.

Bisexuals are the most diverse group in the LGBTQ universe and, as such, the most intersectional. Our umbrella is large and inclusive. Are there those who use gatekeeping to divide us even within our own community? Yes, that is sadly true, but the community in general, as we become more vocal and visible, is accepting and celebrating and elevating our diversity. Chaos is often a state which leads to increased creativity. I see bisexuality as the catalyst to this exciting, revolutionary, expansive future.

Let’s not try to fit in. We cannot and should not be constrained. We should not allow it. Instead, let’s stand out as loud, proud Bisexuals. Bi Visibility Month comes to an end tomorrow. Fellow Bis, I hope you have made use of this month to either take a baby step to accepting yourself  or to take  the opportunity to proudly exit the closet. It is only by living our best Bi lives that we can be role models for others and proclaim to the world that we are the worthy of acceptance and equality in the LGBTQ universe.

 

See the source image

 

You Matter Today and Every Day!

Happy BiVisibility Day, beautiful Bi+ fam!

I have an idea how you might wish to spend this celebratory day!

Just for Today: Don’t worry about being Queer enough.

Just for Today: Don’t think anyone has the right to judge how you do Bisexuality.

Just for Today: Say Buh-Bye to the Haters.

Just for Today: Don’t think your Bisexuality makes you greedy.

Just for Today: Don’t think that because you are Bisexual you are confused.

Just for Today: Don’t think you cannot be faithful to a person you love.

Just for Today: Don’t think that love means only having one partner.

Just for Today: Know that you can be ethical and have more than one partner.

Just for Today: Pay no mind to the biphobia which seems to be rampant in our society.

Just for Today: Stand up and Stand out as a Proud Bisexual human being.

Just for Today: Don’t hide your beautiful Bi light!

Just for Today: Know that no one but you can decide your gender.

Just for Today: Don’t worry about what label you use to express your non-monosexuality.

Just for Today: Take a look around you at all  the truly beautiful, wonderful human beings in this world!

Just for Today: Don’t feel you have to explain everything about your private life to prove you are Bi!

Just for Today: Don’t think your partner(s) define your sexuality!

Just for Today: Know that if you say you are Bisexual because you know it to be true, it is true!

Just for Today: Consider your Bisexuality the amazing gift that it is!

Just for Today: Know you may not always feel as though you have everything figured out and that is absolutely OK.

Just for Today: Know your Bisexuality is fluid and may change over your lifetime.

Just for Today: Take a deep breath and be grateful for being Bi!

Just for Today: Love yourself just the way you are.

Just for Today: Resolve to do all of the above again tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that….

I love you. I see you. You matter. You are valid and valuable.

Thank you for being your beautiful Bi+ self. Keep doing that. : )

 

 

See the source image