Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bisexual #creatingchange 2014 Sessions


Bisexual #creatingchange 2014 Sessions

Ministry with Bisexuals: Honoring the “B” in LGBTQ
Session 1 • All Audiences

BPFQ / Non-Monosexual Caucus
Caucus 2 • All Audiences

Bi the White House:
Brainstorming the Future of Bi Advocacy
Session 3 • Advanced

Beyond Binaries:
Identity, Sexuality and Movement Building
Session 7 • All Audiences

Special shout out to BiNet USA Board Member, Stacey Langley who's organized an LGBT Women panel at this year's conference!
 
Building A Bridge Over The Rainbow:
LGBTQ Women Creating Community
Gender and Identity
Session 9 • All Audiences


Participate in the Bi Institute Thursday using #BiCC14 and keep up with folks at the conference by using #creatingchange on Twitter!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#BiCC14 Bi Creating Change 2014

#BiCC14 Bi Creating Change 2014
This year's Creating Change 2014 – Bisexual Institute is being co-organized by sexologist/sacred sexuality expert Dr.Herukhuti, sex activist/queer organizer M’Kali-Hashiki, and Paul Nocera, facilitator of the popular New York City bisexual discussion group, BiRequest.

Dr. Herukhuti dropped by www.bimagazine.org to share his reflections on the importance of the Institute: 
Now in its fourth year at the 26th annual convention of Creating Change, the institute originally started as a vision. “It was a dream of Dr. Loraine Hutchins, Lani Ka'ahumanu, and many others as well as a real bone of contention/tension between bisexual folk and the Task Force over the years that there wasn't such a day, even though Creating Change honored some of these very same bisexual people,” Gary North, a former BiNet USA president and current board member, remembers. According to North, Sue Hyde, the legendary director of Creating Change proposed the institute to him in response to his proposal of a BiNet USA convention within the larger Creating Change experience.

Bisexual Institutes have been part of this conference since 2010 (with the exception of 2013/Atlanta) through efforts by BiNet USA, the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) and the American Institute of Bisexuality (AIB). Organizers, facilitators and presenters at the institutes have been a who’s who of mainstream US bisexual leadership including (alphabetically): Amy Andre, Estraven Andrews, Lauren Beach, Bill Burleson, Faith Cheltenham, Angel Fabian, Luigi Ferrer, Morgan Goode, Loraine Hutchins, Ph.D., Lani Ka'ahumanu, Paul Nocera, Gary North, Robyn Ochs, Denise Penn, Ellyn Ruthstrom, Becky Saltzman, and Penelope Williams. North indicated that the original intention for the institute was to convene leaders to discuss ways they could go back home and organize more effectively. A regular speaker on college campuses and at youth groups, Robyn Ochs affirms, “It is empowering to enter the Creating Change conference through the portal of an entire day with forty or fifty excited and empowered bisexual folks from all over the United States. People leave feeling more powerful and less alone.” She considers it a valuable experience for “those new to bisexual identity and activism” and “seasoned bisexual activists.”

With the absence of the institute last year, Bisexual Leadership Roundtable members were concerned about losing the momentum of the institute as an expected and grounding experience for non-monosexual queer people coming to Creating Change. “It’s such an important space. We fought for a while to get the institute in the schedule. It has been so challenging getting bisexual-oriented proposals accepted in Creating Change and finding sessions that recognize, respect and embrace bisexuals as members of the LGBTQ that we need to maintain the presence of the institute,” BiNet USA president, Faith Cheltenham acknowledges.
The Bisexual Institute is gonna have a lot more innovation this time round Dr. Herukhuti notes, saying:
The institute will have a lot of innovative elements this year. A Twitter version of the institute will occur simultaneous to the activities in the room using the hashtag #BiCC14. People who can’t be physically present can participate in a twitter conversation with each other and the institute participants using the hashtag. M’Kali-Hashiki will tweet and lead the twitter conversation. To our knowledge, this is a first for an institute at Creating Change.
Co-organizer M’Kali-Hashiki will be live-tweeting Thurs 1/30/14  #BiCC14
In addition to the Twitter conversation, we will be using Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) techniques in the institute. TO is a process of social analysis, critique and change that incorporates games and activities from the theatre. I’ve been training in and practicing TO since the late 1990s and am excited to bring this resource to the discussion of bisexual organizing in the institute. We will warm up to the TO activities with breath work facilitated by M’Kali-Hashiki, small group discussions organized by Paul, and an adaptation of a life mapping exercise I facilitate with my students each semester at Goddard College. BiNet USA provided financial support for some of the life mapping materials. Paul, M’Kali-Hashiki and I really want to make sure that the institute engages the personal as political and a holistic understanding of social justice organizing. We hope our efforts pay off in the experiences of everyone involved and the impact the institute has on their work. - Read more at: http://bimagazine.org/index.php/news/ready-for-creating-change-2014-the-bisexual-institute/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bisexualnon-Monosexual-Community-at-Creating-Change-2014/144994168993446

To connect with other bi CC attendees please visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bisexualnon-Monosexual-Community-at-Creating-Change-2014/144994168993446

Don't forget to visit the bi hospitality suite (details are in the program book) where you can make new friends and connect with the community!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Action Alert: Call National Journal On Bi Erasure

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
Cover Image
Today BiNet USA received advanced notice of the new National Journal Special Issue: Gay Washington.  With Krysten Sinema, the first openly bisexual congressperson front and center (and looking super stylish as usual).  Let's be clear: ERASING BISEXUALS is BAD, being INCLUSIVE is GOOD. Use LGBT when bisexuals are present, and don't use LGBT interchangeably with GAY. 

Please help us pass on this message to the National Journal by calling, emailing and tweeting OUR DISTINCT DISPLEASURE.  As we understand it National Journal is confused why there's a problem using "gay" as shorthand for LGBT since they "mention she's bisexual and discuss her bisexuality"...so let's help them understand why this is a problem!

National Journal
202-739-8400
Twitter: @nationaljournal 

Emma V. Angerer
Communications Director
(202) 266-7405
eangerer@nationaljournal.com
Twitter: @EmmaVAngerer



What we got in our email this morning...
NATIONAL JOURNAL SPECIAL ISSUE:
GAY  WASHINGTON 
(should read)
LGBT WASHINGTON
 
Cover Image


"This town has always been a (sometimes ambivalent) home for ambitious, closeted gay men and women. But now, ballot measures, state legislatures, and federal judges are advancing LGBT rights by the day; more openly gay members join Congress every cycle; the issues they and their allies champion occupy pride of place on the political agenda; and even Washington culture has  become entirely habituated. ... Our correspondents see these changes on their beats every day. In this first such special issue—yet another first—we've begun to record the transformation in a systematic way. This is what the new world looks like."
-- Adam B. Kushner, Executive Editor, National Journal Magazine

In The Magazine:

The 30 Most Influential Out Washingtonians
Washington was recently named "The Gayest Place in America." Here are the biggest power players.
Read More


Five Openly Gay Lawmakers on Their Lives in Politics
Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Representatives Mark Takano, Mark Pocan, Jared Polis, and Sean Patrick Maloney share their first-person experiences.
Read More

My Evolution on Gay Rights
I was a bit clueless at first. But living and working among members of the lgbt community helped me, like others, understand, says Political Analyst Charlie Cook.
Read More
Exporting the Fight Against Gay Marriage
Political Correspondent Alex Seitz-Wald reports that Evangelical advocates, having failed in the U.S., are finding friendlier audiences all over the world. 
Read More

For Gay Marriage, 'The NRA Is the Model'
A Q&A with Barney Frank on coming out, working the system, fighting for AIDS research money, and secretly dancing with his partner at the White House Christmas Party. A Q&A with Executive Editor Adam B. Kushner.
Read More

This Olympian Will Take the Gay-Rights Fight to Sochi
Hockey player Caitlin Cahow's unexpected journey into advocacy parallels America's larger embrace of the issue. Writer-at-Large Marin Cogan reports.
Read More

Why Reagan's GOP Would Welcome Gay People
The Republican Party, too, is a home for LGBT Americans, argues Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo.
Read More

What It's Like to Be Gay in Government Service
How the experience has changed over the past half-century. Contributing Correspondents James Kirchick and Timothy Naftali report.
Read More

###

Monday, January 20, 2014

1990 Anything That Moves Bisexual Manifesto


 “We are not makers of history, we are made by history.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy MLK to all! Today is an important day for renewing the collective dream we all share for equality. In that spirit here's a re-share of important bisexual history, the Bisexual Manifesto.

The 1990 Bisexual Manifesto
We are tired of being analyzed, defined and represented by people other than ourselves, or worse yet, not considered at all. We are frustrated by the imposed isolation and invisibility that comes from being told or expected to choose either a homosexual or heterosexual identity.

Monosexuality is a heterosexist dictate used to oppress homosexuals and to negate the validity of bisexuality.

Bisexuality is a whole, fluid identity. Do not assume that bisexuality is binary or duogamous in nature: that we have "two" sides or that we must be involved simultaneously with both genders to be fulfilled human beings. In fact, don’t assume that there are only two genders. Do not mistake our fluidity for confusion, irresponsibility, or an inability to commit. Do not equate promiscuity, infidelity, or unsafe sexual behavior with bisexuality. Those are human traits that cross all sexual orientations. Nothing should be assumed about anyone’s sexuality, including your own.
We are angered by those who refuse to accept our existence; our issues; our contributions; our alliances; our voice. It is time for the bisexual voice to be heard. - From the wealth of knowledge that is the Bialogue Tumblr (original attribution: the historic Bay Area Bisexual Network publication Anything That Moves)
Read more about that time in history with musings from Gary North, Lani Ka'ahumanu and Rifka Reichler here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bisexual Organizing Project Announces New Board, New Strategic Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: CAMILLE HOLTHAUS, camille.holthaus@bisexualorganizingproject.org

Sunday January 12, 2014

Bisexual Organizing Project Announces 2014 Board of Directors

Minneapolis, MN, USA Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) held its annual meeting and board elections on Sunday January 12, 2014. The annual meeting featured the unveiling of BOP’s new Strategic Plan 2014-2019 with a new mission statement: Build, serve and advocate for an empowered bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi*) community to promote social justice.
The 2014 board of directors is as follows:

Camille Holthaus, Chair
Lou Hoffman, Co-Chair
Martha Hardy, Secretary
Michelle Moses, Treasurer
Tara Durney, Director
Mary Hoelscher, M. Ed, Director
Cathe Jones, Director
Jim Larsen, Director
Jeff Miller, Director
Beth Wright, Director

“We have a very strong team who bring a lot to the table,” said, Camille Holthaus, Chair of the board. “The 2014 board includes individuals who were active with BOP and our conference BECAUSE at the very beginning in the mid 1990’s, some returning board members from 2013 and as well as new board members. We have a nice mix of experience, skills and areas of interest and I’m very excited to be working with them.”

Highlights of the Strategic Plan 2014-2019 include revised mission and vision statements which refocus programming from the Twin Cities to the Upper Midwest and set targets for growing the size and scope of the organization. Short and long term goals expand the number and variety of the organization’s community programs and the size and scope its conference, BECAUSE.

BECAUSE stands for Bisexual Empowerment Conference: A Uniting, Supportive Experience. It is the largest and longest running conference in the US which is by, for and about the bi* community and allies. Expansion of BOP’s programs will be facilitated by hiring a volunteer coordinator, a first for the organization.

The BOP board of directors is elected by members attending the annual meeting. Additional board members can subsequently be appointed by the board. Anyone interested in working with the board or volunteering with BOP should contact bop@bisexualorganizingproject.org for more information. BOP is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization.

Bisexual Organizing Project, 501(c)(3) PO Box 18143, Minneapolis, MN 55418
www.bisexualorganzingproject.org
To download BOP's entire Strategic plan, click here.

Special note from Faith: I HEART BECAUSE! Everyone who can should try and go. Also, I salute BOP on their journey so far and the stellar plans they have for 2014. Rock ON!

New Bisexual Group in Connecticut!

There is a (relatively) new bisexual group based in Norwalk, CT (Fairfield County, zip: 06850) -- Bisexuals and Allies of Fairfield County.  We formed in July 2013.
 
We meet at the Triangle Community Center (http://www.ctgay.org/), at 618 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850, every other Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. (odd weeks, so if you're looking at a 52-week calendar, we meet on Weeks 1, 3, 5, etc.).  The meetings at TCC are peer support-oriented, but we also do social gatherings like hikes and dinners, which are organized via our Meetup group.
 
The Meetup group, which is private (to protect members who are not out of the closet, and to discourage spamming and trolling), is here: http://www.meetup.com/Bisexuals-and-Allies-of-Fairfield-County/
 
Contact for the group: Sam H. (longpondmaple@yahoo.com)

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Bi Support Group in Indiana!

BiComm Bloomington is a bisexual support group that meets on the second Monday of each month from 6:30-8:30pm at La Casa, IU’s Latino Cultural Center, located at 715 E 7th Street, in Bloomington, IN. Join us for discussion of topics related to bisexuality such as coming out, confronting bi-phobia, stereotypes and discrimination, and bi-specific health concerns.

The group is open to all bi/pan/queer/curious and bi-trans community members & allies of any gender over the age of 18 who are willing to respect the confidential nature of the group discussions.

BiComm Bloomington uses bisexual (or BI for bi-inclusive) as an umbrella term for people who recognize and honor their potential for sexual and emotional attraction to more than one gender. It includes people who identify as bisexual, bi-curious, pansexual, bent, fluid, flexible, omnisexual, ambisexual, queer, unlabeled and more.

If your primary interest in joining our group is to meet people specifically for dating or sex, please pursue other avenues INSTEAD of joining BiComm Bloomington. These include OKCupid.com, BiCupid.com, usbigirls.com and more…

Group facilitator Vanessa Cantrell is a former IU student and currently works at the IU Art Museum. She enjoys making functional and beautiful objects, riding her bike and knitting. Contact her at econista@gmail.com for more information about BiComm Bloomington. To visit the private BiComm Bloomington Facebook Group, please click here.

What Dating Is Like For Bi Men, Guest Blog from Shades of Grey

Are women interested in Bisexual men?

I've recently noticed that the question, "Are there women who are interested or willing to date bisexual men?", is being asked quite a bit online.  Literally, I found this question in three different groups and on one friends Facebook wall.  The following is my response to one of the four posts.

I was pleasantly surprised when I came out to women. I had worried that there would be no one who would want me, but I found out that many women were attracted to me because of my courage, AND what they saw as an opportunity to be with a man who was operating without the traditional baggage str8 men bring to relationships. The down side were the women who just wanted to have freaky sex with me, because they thought it would be somehow "different" or kinky to be with a bisexual man.

I've watched attitudes about bisexual men change over time and then change again. They are changing now. The internet has been a huge contributor to that change. Yes, there is stigma. Yes, there are some women who are loudly anti-bisexual men. The thing about it though, is, if I had never gotten honest with the women I desired, I never would've found the ones who desired me.

Its natural for people, str8, gay or otherwise, to want to have as large a pool of sexual options as possible. By being honest, in either direction, we reduce our "imagined" options. I say "imagined" because we like to "think" we can be with anyone, as long as they don't know the "dirt" on us. Its not true...that's a fantasy. Everyone doesn't want any one person, no matter how beautiful and attractive they might seem to us. There is always someone who will reject us. For me, being honest is an acceptance of that...it is a pre-emptive strike that weeds out the ones who are "definitely" not an option. It leaves ONLY the potentials and the ones who will at least respect me for who I am.

The world looks different when we are surrounded by people who KNOW us, Love us, and embrace us...for us.

Hiding the truth keeps us separate from the ones who are waiting to love us. It keeps us in the fear that worries about things that haven't happened. It keeps us asking, without end, what if, what if?

There are actually women who do "seek" out bisexual men...there are more women who are "available" and "willing" to date an intriguingly honest and interesting man who happens to be bisexual.

I understand what its like to love women, to find it easy to date men, and not want to "risk" losing forever the connection to women over a label. I'm in a relationship and still find myself surrounded by women who either date bi men or are willing to consider dating bi men.

Times ARE changing. Even understanding of who is bisexual amongst women is changing. Women who are bi for their male partners or who are non-reciprocating pillow princesses for oral are being scrutinized for their deeper motivations. There are people with various levels of maturity outside of and within the bisexual spectrum. Making ourselves accessible to the ones who are grown enough to relate to us first requires our own willingness to value our true selves more than we value others attention and validation. It doesn't mean giving up our "privacy"...but it does mean giving up some of our "secrecy". One does not have to be a flag waving, parade marching, activist to be true to oneself and inner circle...but one has to embrace the fullness of ones being to shine bright enough to "attract" the ones we seek.

That's my truth....

For more check out the A. Shade Grey Blog

Monday, January 06, 2014

Guest Blogger Bekki Charbonneau On Being Bi/Pan In College

I'm going to get a little personal here, so please bear with me.

I am a queer woman. I flip-flop between identities. I have been "straight," then "bisexual," then "pansexual," then a weeping puddle in the middle of the floor (which has occurred frequently enough to be considered an identity, in my opinion).

I often feel "not gay enough" to hang out in queer spaces; I feel like an intruder or a wannabe. I have had friends "jokingly" tell me that I should just "pick a side already." And sometimes I actually contemplate it: I would just be happier being straight, and I wouldn't have to deal with homophobia as frequently! Besides, some men are hot. I could deal with being straight.

But then I see a really pretty girl, so I think, "I'll just be a lesbian. Many men don't bother learning about social justice because of their privilege, and I don't want to date someone I have to educate. It's too much work. And some girls are just lovely."

But then I see a very attractive guy.

See the problem?

It gets even more confusing when it comes to people who don't fit into either "box." I've dated FTM trans* men, and I've been attracted to MTF trans* women, as well as a handful of androgynous/non-binary people. If I didn't have internalized biphobia and confusion before, I really have it now.

I often get concerned about how many of the qualities I'm attracted to in a person are a result of growing up in a heteronormative, patriarchal society. I am often attracted to masculinity (either in cisgender men or in male-identifying persons, and occasionally in women with masculine characteristics). Am I attracted to masculinity simply because I have been raised in a society that places on a pedestal and reveres all things male?

Then there are all the stereotypes I have to consider. "Bisexuals/pansexuals just want to have it all! They want to have sex with everyone!" Well, that's certainly not me. By nature, I'm not a very promiscuous person, and I'm a tiny bit of an intimacy-phobe. "Bisexuals/pansexuals are just straight people who want to experiment while they're young." Experiment? I'm not a scientist; I'm just some confused dork who has too many crushes on too many different types of people. And if that stereotype were true, then what is "straight"? Are there degrees of straightness?

Sometimes my tendency to ruminate and overthink these issues causes me to sigh (or scream, depending on the day) and throw my hands up; I just want to be attracted to whomever I'm attracted to! Why is this so difficult?!

I'll be straight with you (or bi with you? or pan with you?); I still don't have it all figured out. I spent last night bemoaning the fact that going to Spectrum (the LGBTQ+ student group on my campus) meetings are so difficult because despite the fact that I have a crush on 35 percent of the room (true story), I still don't feel comfortable telling everyone why I'm there, for fear of being pressured into securing a label for myself.

But I have figured out a few things (probably):
  1. Sexuality is fluid.
  2. Sexual fluidity varies in viscosity for different people.
  3. If you identify as something, it doesn't matter who you're dating/have dated/have never dated. You are who you decide you are, and nobody should be able to tell you otherwise.
  4. Don't make assumptions about other people's sexualities. I don't care if you know a boy who has been in a three-year relationship with another boy. He might not be gay (or even a he).
  5. Not a lot of people have it all figured out. As I've shared my personal confusion, a lot of people have confided their own struggles to me as well.
  6. Living in a binary-obsessed society is the pits.
So go out there and make out with whomever you please. Or with no one at all. Your call.
Reprinted with the author's permission.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Guest Blogger Matthew Powell Ruminates on Freedom

Screaming is all I felt like doing today.  More and more each day, the anger I feel seems to intensify.  I am not free.  I am lucky.  But nowhere near free.  I am lucky and cursed.  Freedom appears to be mine until I get to the edge of my enclosure to see the bars.  Others are in smaller cages where the bars are all they see.  This rage I have sometimes feels powerful enough to bring the entire zoo of a world down.

We are having to ask for the right to marry the person we love.  We are having to ask to not fire us from our jobs.  We are having to ask to let us help others by donating blood.  I am tired of asking.  Freedom means living a life that makes you happy without harming anyone.  We are loving, productive members of society but we are having to ask to be equal.  We are already equals.

I said I was lucky.  I am bisexual and I married someone of the opposite sex.  People assume I am straight.  This, I guess, makes certain parts of life easier.  Such as, I was allowed to marry the person I love.  They allowed me.  If she were a he,  I would not have been allowed.  When she was in the hospital having surgery, I would not have been allowed to stay the night with her.  She would have been alone.  There was no one else that could have been with her. I am lucky because I can be with her but I know that if I never found her, I could have easily fallen in love with a man.

I said I was cursed.  I am bisexual and I married someone of the opposite sex.  People assume I am straight.  There has to be a billboard (or a website) announcing my sexuality to everyone.  Years of denial hid my own sexuality from me.  When I came to accept it, it felt like the clichΓ©d boulder was lifted from my shoulders.  No one told me it was the dam holding back the flood of emotions that were repressed as well.  I have reached the end of my enclosure.  I now see the bars and know I am not free.

With each passing moment I try to find a productive outlet for this ire.  To my chagrin, something prods the flames and the inferno begins anew.  So many wonderful events have occurred in the recent times.  Some states are allowing same-sex marriages.  I should be applauding.  In my eyes, though, they are simply marriages.  And we had to ask.  So the cages and enclosures are becoming more spacious.
…..But I am not free.

Author Matthew Powell resides in
a town called Pocatello in southeast Idaho currently going through an internal struggle to keep a non-discrimination ordinance in place for their LGBT community. Matthew is part of a group pushing to get people out to vote this coming May to support non-discrimination against LGBT people. Reprinted with permission from The Humanity Engine.

 To become a guest blogger for BiNet USA please email president@binetusa.org.