Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What happened in Michigan?

(a personal note from Faith...)

I am deeply troubled by the news today of the resignation of Emily Dievendorf from Equality Michigan.
[Photo/Credit: Emily Dievendorf, one of the most visible bisexual leaders in the LGBT movement]

Board members of BiNet USA will further investigate Dievendorf's resignation in connection to the recent decision by the National LGBTQ Task Force and the National Center For Lesbian Rights to remove their names from a petition calling for a transgender womyn inclusive #Mitchfest.

Dievendorf began the petition last year while Executive Director of Equality Michigan and wrote a moving explanation of her commitment to leave no one behind in the fight for equality. 
Equality Michigan - as the statewide advocacy organization for the LGB and T communities in Michigan - asks that you live your values. Stop playing Fest. Stop sponsoring Fest. Stop attending and giving your money to an event that, in being passive in its bigotry, is active in its exclusion - because your money is its own passive acceptance of how your investment impacts those around you. Stop making excuses. Supporting Michfest makes us weapons against our own people. Until trans*women are invited to sit next to you as their authentic selves, it is hypocrisy and it is harm.
Viewpoint:Why Trans Exclusion At Michfest Must Finally End, prideresource.com
BiNet USA applauds Emily Dievendorf for her strong stand for transgender inclusion and her committed interest in proudly identifying as bisexual.

Interestingly enough sometimes being out as bisexual has devastating consequences for bisexuals in the workplace. Bisexuals report lower levels of being out than their gay or lesbian peers, with one study finding bi employees eight times as likely to be in the closet compared to lesbian and gay counterparts.
Read more of The Dumbest Stereotypes That Almost Stopped Bisexual People From Coming Out at mic.com
Bisexual* community members also report experiencing high levels of workplace discrimination, and just this month a bisexual man filed suit alleging sexual harassment from a gay co-worker at CBS. Kenneth Lombardi, a bisexual video producer, alleged not only sexual harassment but harassment based on his bisexuality.

[Photo Credit/Caption: We support you Kenneth Lombardi! Photo from advocate.com]

A 2013 survey found that bisexuals report "several themes" in bisexual specific workplace discrimination:
  • Firing due to bisexuality
  • Hypersexualization of bisexual employees by others
  • Discrimination by lesbian and gay co-workers and supervisors
  • Discrimination by religious persons and organizations 
Employment Discrimination Against Bisexuals: An Empirical Study by Ann Tweedy and Karen Yescavage, William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law

Yet, this same survey only found 1 in six bisexuals had filed any kind of complaint, including an internal complaint (with 45% citing a concern they would not get the assistance they needed as one of the reasons).

Do you have experience being discriminated against as a bisexual person in the workplace? 

Do you have messages of support for Emily Dievendorf? 

Leave your thoughts in the comments or email our board directly at binetusa@binetusa.org.


*BiNet USA uses bisexual as an inclusive community identity label for bi+, bi*, pansexual, fluid, queer, multisexual, omnisexual, polysexual and otherwise non-monosexual identified community members.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Action Alert: #BringAndreHome Bisexual Man Murdered, Family Seeks Help With Burial Fees

http://www.gofundme.com/q7sjtgg
[Photo/Caption: Large Red Act Now Button with link to GoFundMe]
From GoFundMe:
Our loved one, Andre "Pokie" Gray 34 was reported missing from his Lawrenceville home on Oct. 25, 2014, by his mother Victoria Tillman Gray when she couldn't reach him after a few days. His house had been ransacked, bloodstains were found and his dog Boss was missing, too.  On March 20, 2015 Andre's body was found in the Ohio River near W. Virginia, this case quickly turned from a missing persons case to a homicide.

Money will never bring Pokie back... but it will help with memorial/funeral expenses related to such a tragedy and lift the burden from his mother and family... while the shock of this loss is fully processed.  NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL.
Earlier today, sources close to the family reported to the BiNet USA blog that Andre identified as bisexual. He had previously been misoriented as gay because his family used the term "gay" as an umbrella term. The family supported Andre as a full realized person who was a valued member in the LGBT people of color community of Pittsburgh. Read more about Andre here, here and here.

http://www.gofundme.com/q7sjtgg
[Photo/Caption: Andre "Pokie" Gray, 34 years old. Murdered, with few in the LGBT community to recognize his passing.]

Here at BiNet USA, extend our condolences to the family, friends and community of Andre "Pokie" Gray. Andre was a talented individual who was valued and precious, may his memory live on in his good works and in our hearts. We know times are tight, but please consider making a donation to the family today. We have heard that the family is currently struggling under the weight of burial costs. So far they have raised $280 $905.

Special thanks to Sue Kerr of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents for her work to support the family.



Monday, March 30, 2015

BiNet USA + Our Tomorrow

[Photo/Caption: Logo image of Our Tomorrow bright sun logo on top of BiNet USA logo]

Hey folks, awhile back BiNet USA applied to be an anchor partner in Our Tomorrow, an important outreach campaign to assess how the LGBTQ community feels about its own future. I'm pleased to announce that BiNet USA received a mini-grant to participate in events to engage bisexual community in participating in the campaign.

BiNet USA will use the funds to engage bisexual community in events around the country and even do a small amount of mini-grants of our own (think $100-300 to engage with the bisexual community in your area).

BiNet USA's first stop to collect respondents will be at this year's BECAUSE conference! 
[Photo/Caption: BECAUSE logo image]
BiNet USA board members Faith Cheltenham, Aud Traher and Lynnette McFadzen will join BiNet USA volunteers Dr. Herukhuti (Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality) and Heather Benjamin (Bisexual Resource Center) on the ground at BECAUSE in Minneapolis April 17th-19th. 

BiNet USA was immensely pleased to make a small mini-grant to the Bisexual Organizing Project to host BECAUSE's Friday night reception, Bi+ OurTomorrow where BiNet USA will be collecting survey responses. 

Join our event on Facebook to stay up to date on the latest news!

To entice BECAUSE attendees to participate in the anonymous survey, BiNet USA will be hosting a drawing for 1 iPad Mini to be given away during the BECAUSE conference. In order to participate in the drawing you will have to be present at BECAUSE!
 
BiNet USA's in pretty good shape with the project already with receptions/events being planned in Minneapolis, Boston, New York, SF/Bay Area, and Los Angeles. That said, if you know of an event BiNetUSA + Our Tomorrow might collect bi/pan/fluid/queer responses from between April 20th and July 1st please let us know in the comments. 

[Photo/Caption: Image that says Stay safe bisexuals and stay awesome, Faith Cheltenham, BiNet USA President]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

LABTF Needs Assessment Release Event

Official Flyer





LABTF Needs Assessment Release Event
Results of the 2014 Bisexual/Pansexual/Fluid Community
Needs Assessment of Greater Los Angeles

Plummer Park, Art Room 2 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90046

“Los Angeles Survey Reveals Bisexuals Want More Connection to Gays and Lesbians and That 45% of Bisexuals Aren’t Out to Healthcare Providers!”

As part of Bisexual Health Awareness Month, on Sunday, March 22, 2015, from 2:00PM – 4:00PM, the Los Angeles Bi Task Force (LABTF) will host Dr. Mimi Hoang’s report to the media, select members of the LGBT community and other interested parties regarding the results of the 2014 Bisexual/Pansexual/Fluid Community Needs Assessment of Greater Los Angeles. Faith Cheltenham, President of BiNet USA, will also speak on #BiHealthMonth, the Bisexual Resource Center’s national campaign.

How out are bisexual/pansexual/fluid individuals? Do they feel closer to the heterosexual community, gay/lesbian community, or bisexual community? What kinds of experiences have they had coming out to their doctors and therapists?

These questions and more were answered as part of the LABTF Needs Assessment of almost 300 bisexuals in LA, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties.

Dr. Hoang says that “These results are exciting and important because this is the first needs assessment targeting the bisexual community in the LA area, and will help
LGBT service providers and medical and mental health professionals better serve our community, which is the largest subgroup in the LGBT population and yet is often most invisible and has the highest rate of many health concerns, including cancer, substance abuse, depression, and suicidality.”

Since the beginning of the gay/lesbian movement in the 70s, bisexuals have been the “silent B” in LGBT. It is only recently that bisexuals have been recognized as a community separate unto themselves with their own physical and mental health needs, socioeconomic differentiations, and coming out issues. Now armed with results of the survey, LGBT community leaders, healthcare providers, academicians, and members of the media who report on LGBT issues are able to better serve the bisexual community, this “invisible majority,” and make a difference!

Mimi Hoang, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist, Co-Founder of LABTF, and one of the attendees of the landmark 2013 White House Bisexual Community Roundtable. Dr. Hoang has been a bisexual community leader for over 16 years and currently works as a Staff Psychologist at Loyola Marymount University and a Professor at Antioch University Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Bi Task Force (LABTF) was established in 2008 and is a non-profit organization that promotes education, advocacy, and cultural enrichment for the bisexual/fluid/pansexual communities in the Los Angeles area.

This event is FREE, and open to the public, and there will be games, prizes and giveaways.

Contact: Robert Ozn, LABTF Chair
(323) 860-5837

 Websites:

The Bi Bench Problem


Guest Blog: "The Bi Bench Problem" by Nancy Marcus LL.M., S.J.D.

As reported recently by the Bay Area Reporter, this year’s annual diversity report by the California Administrative Office of the Courts noted a dearth of bisexual judges on the California bench.  As the Bay Area Reporter observed, “[f]or the fourth year in a row an annual report about the demographic makeup of the state courts, released March 4, listed zero bisexual judges among the 1,655 jurists serving as of December 31, 2014.”  

This problem, however, is not limited to California.  Rather, the invisibility of out bisexual jurists is astonishingly universal across the country:  according to R.J. Thompson, the Fair Courts Project Educator at Lambda Legal, not a single out bisexual judge is sitting on a single federal or state court bench.   As of June 18, 2014, Lambda reported that “[a]s far as we know, there are zero openly HIV positive judges and zero openly bisexual judges nationwide,” and these numbers were again affirmed by the participants of the Aug. 23, 2014, “Pathways to the Judiciary” Panel at the National LGBT Bar Association Lavender Law Conference, in New York, NY.

At the same time, the number of judges who self-identified as gay, lesbian, or transgender comprise 2.4 percent of the California judiciary, for example, and on the federal bench, the Obama administration has appointed and had confirmed eleven out LGBT federal judges to the bench, a tremendous improvement over past administrations.  Although there are were only two out transgender judges on the bench as of June, 2014, there is an increasing number of gay judges across the country in recent years.

The complete absence of out bisexual judges is unparalleled.  And the problem is not just one of tokenism or numbers.  Rather, it is one critical factor that contributes toward the broader harm of bisexual erasure in LGBT-rights litigation and discourse.  With no bisexual judges on the bench, it is that much harder for bisexual litigants to explain to courts why their sexual orientation does not render them unstable, unfit parents (an unfortunately common misunderstanding by family courts, for example, about bisexuals) or to immigration boards why their marriage should not be viewed as a sham marriage just because they were married to a different gendered person in a previous relationship for example.    

Campaigners march in Leeds, UK to stop the deportation of Jamaican bisexual Orashia Edwards (Photo Credit: Leeds Socialist Party)
Bisexual erasure is a grave enough problem in LGBT-rights discourse and litigation, and it is only compounded when state and federal judges across the country lack even a single out bisexual member on the bench.  It is time for the LGBT community to work together to increase bisexual visibility, support, and representation both on and off the bench in our legal system.  Bisexuals may never truly have, in society, a jury of our peers, but a judge or two would be nice.

Nancy Marcus, LL.M., S.J.D. is the founding constitutional law professor at Indiana Tech Law School and a co-founder of BiLaw, the the first ever national organization of bisexual-identified lawyers, academics, law students, and their allies in the United States. To join BiLaw or for more information, visit them on Facebook

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bijacked: Bisexuals Strike Back Against Inaccurate Reporting #LGBTMedia15

THIS SATURDAY the LGBT Media Convening will have a bisexual panel for its attendees!

Faith Cheltenham, BiNet USA President will moderate "Bijacked: Bisexuals Strike Back Against Inaccurate Reporting" featuring Ellyn Ruthstrom, Eliel Cruz and Kyle Schickner.

Eliel Cruz

Ellyn Ruthstrom
Kyle Schickner

Last year bi icon Robyn Ochs made a stellar appearance and this year she'll join a great group of bi+ advocates attending or speaking at the event. Other bisexual community panelists at #LGBTMedia15 include Diane Anderson-Minshall, editor in chief of HIV Plus and editor at large for Advocate, Dr. Scout from the LGBT Healthlink and more. Strong bi ally Spectra will also be in attendance!

AfterEllen.com editor Trish Bendix has compiled a Twitter list of this years attendees, panelists and participants. Please follow everyone you can!

This Saturday is also Faith's birthday so feel free to join her in a virtual birthday party of sorts!

Use #bijacked along with #LGBTMedia15 on Twitter to keep up with bisexual content at this year's convening! 

While we're at it, let's re-claim the term "bijacked"! 

Visit Urban Dictionary to down vote the current biphobic definition and suggest your own! For tips on avoiding biphobia in media, please download the BiNet USA Media Guide.

Check out the #LGBTMedia15 tweets so far!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#BiHealthMonth Bisexual Invisibility Report in Spanish #TBT

Lindasusan Ulrich and her wife Emily Drennan at opening of "Biconic Flashpoints" GLBT History Museum exhibit in 2014.

In 2011, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission published a groundbreaking report on "Bisexual Invisibility" authored by Lindasusan Ulrich.
Ulrich pointed out bisexuals had poor health outcomes, lived in poverty, faced discrimination from both mainstream society and gay and lesbian, and weren't being served by queer organizations that have "B" in the name. Bisexuals "weren't considered at all" in funding for services or bisexual organizations or even mentioned in annual agency reports, she said.

Ulrich reported, "One out of two bisexual women and one out of three bisexual men gave serious thought to take their own lives." There is no data available about completed suicides, Ulrich told the commission. - Bay Area Reporter, 2011
In honor of #BiHealthMonth and this week's focus on Intersectionality, here's a link to the Spanish Language version of this outstanding report. You can also download it in English here.  

Follow the Bisexual Resource Center on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to keep up with their wonderful campaign!



Wednesday, March 04, 2015

By The Bi-The Blazing Change Players Ignite The Stage


By The Bi-The Blazing Change Players Ignite The Stage
Submitted By Morgan Barbour


 Within the past year, there has been much talk of both the struggles and several long over due victories within the LGBT community. Yet there is one facet of that struggle that is often overlooked: the bisexual struggle. There are thousands of bisexual young adults who face isolation and prejudice from both the heterosexual and LGBT communities, and so far it is a story that has gone, for the most part, largely untold. It is time for that silence to end, and the end of that silence begins with the Blazing Change Players.

Blazing Change Players was founded by By the Bi Director, Caroline Downs, and Choreographer, Morgan Barbour, in response to the lack of bisexual representation in the media. We are a non-profit educational theatre company with a mission to create original, challenging, and dynamic dramatic works, which function as a platform for  open dialogue about issues of social inequality within modern society.

By the Bi is the principle piece of Blazing Change Players, which will be premiering in Richmond March 22 at The Shop, and is then scheduled to open internationally in Dublin, Ireland at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, which is the largest gay theatre festival in the world. Told through a series of seventeen vignettes utilizing a mixture of dance, music, and spoken word, By the Bi is an original script that addresses how society's views and isolation of any sort of bisexual culture contributes to perpetuating harmful bisexual stereotypes of greediness, promiscuity and confusion.  It also brings to light the alarmingly high statistic rates of suicide, domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape that too often become a reality for many bisexual young adults due to society's perception of their sexuality.

 When a young person is constantly told that their reality is cheap or invalid, it causes a lot of inner turmoil and conflict, and in most cases a lot of self hatred has to be dealt with. No one wants to embrace a part of themselves that makes them a social outcast, and it's hard when that is such a big part of who you are. It is time we stand up and make the statement that these parts of ourselves are not only ok, they are beautiful because they make us who we are. So we are working to expose not only the hurtful stereotypes and statistics that society's view point of bisexuals causes, but we are working to give the public an inside look at the personal and often painful journey that bisexual young adults must take to find their place in and their peace within society.  It gives a voice to a voiceless community and sheds light on issues of not only bisexual inequality, but of human inequality.

We would like to invite everyone to join us in being an instrument for positive change. For more information or to keep up with our journey, visit our website at:

www.blazingchangeplayers.com

You can also support us on both our Facebook and IndieGogo pages:

www.facebook.com/bythebiplay
www.indiegogo.com/projects/get-by-the-bi-to-ireland

Our project is one that we are confident has the potential to change the world for the better, and we would be honored to have anyone our message reaches stand with us as beacon of hope for a voiceless community. Help us shatter our silence.

Meet The Players

You can listen to The BiCast interview with Morgan Barbour here.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Unicorn Booty Salutes Notable Black Bisexuals

Hopefully everyone enjoyed Black History Month!

Black bisexual musician Meshell Ndegeocello (UnicornBooty)

To close it out with a bang, check out UnicornBooty.com's list of Notable Black Bisexuals!  


BiNet USA President Faith Cheltenham joins Dr. Herukhuti, co-editor of Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men, Amy Andre, author of HRC's Bisexual Youth Report, ABilly S. Jones-Hennin, Black LGBT pioneer, Travon Free, writer on The Daily Show, Charles Blow, author of the New York Times bestseller Fire Shut Up In My Bones and several others on this outstanding list!

Many thanks to bi writer Harrie Farrow for penning this great piece!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month

March brings us the second annual Bisexual Awareness Month. This year the focus is our mental health. Given our mental health disparity stats this is a much needed resource for our community.




BISEXUAL RESOURCE CENTER DESIGNATES MARCH AS BISEXUAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

The second year of this social media campaign dedicated to raising awareness about the bi community’s mental health disparities

Julia Canfield, MPH, CHES bham@biresource.net


Boston, MA – Recognizing that the bisexual community remains marginalized and underserved, the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) proudly proclaims March once more as Bisexual Health Awareness Month (BHAM).

Because bisexual individuals report consistently higher levels of depression, suicidality, substance use, anxiety, and other mood disorders compared to their heterosexual, gay and lesbian counterparts, this year’s theme for BHAM is Mental Health. BisexualHealth Awareness Month will engage with the community at large throughout the month of March to raise awareness about these mental health disparities and to push for more action and resources that can better support bisexual individuals.

This year BHAM will incorporate three main values – Intersectionality, Support, and Advocacy – into its campaign to highlight the diverse challenges experienced by the bisexual community, promote bisexual-specific resources, and propose interventions to decrease mental health disparities. The BRC will utilize its social media channels, in addition to a newly launched campaign website, to disseminate this information for public use and dialogue.

BRC Board President, Julia Canfield, emphasized the need for this campaign: “Bisexual people have long been impacted by the negative effects of biphobia and bisexual erasure from both LGBTQ and straight communities. They have also been denied access to critical services and resources that can enhance their mental and emotional well-being. Therefore, Bisexual Health Awareness Month aims to increase awareness about these issues and feature ways we can effectively address them.”

Bisexual Health Awareness Month will have the following focus themes throughout the four weeks of March in order to emphasize the various issues regarding mental health in the bisexual community:
  • March 2-6: (Statistics) A focus on current statistics and research data concerning mental health disparities in the bisexual community.
  • March 9-13: (Intersectionality) An emphasis on how race, ethnicity, class, age, ability, etc., can further impact mental health disparities in the bisexual community, particularly in regards to experiences of oppression and discrimination.
  • March 16-20: (Resources) A spotlight on current resources and creation of new ones that can address mental health disparities in the bisexual community.
  • March 23-27: (Action) The promotion and development of interventions, policies, and other activities that work to prevent or decrease mental health disparities in the bisexual community.

Bisexual Health Awareness Month launches on Monday, March 2nd on the BRC’s Twitter (with hashtag #bihealthmonth), Facebook, and Tumblr pages. The BRC invites individuals and organizations both in the United States and from around the world to become involved with the campaign and to raise awareness about bisexual mental health disparities in their own communities.

______________________________________________________________________________

The Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) has been advocating for bisexual visibility and raising awareness about bisexuality throughout the LGBT and straight communities since 1985. The Bisexual Resource Center envisions a world where love is celebrated, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression. Visit www.biresource.net.