Though studies show Bisexuals to be in the majority of the LGBTIQQ community, we are often times discriminated against by all the different segments of that united community. This discrimination white noise is something that I just got used to and worked around like a sore tooth, I just chewed on the other side of my mouth and forgot that my tooth was even sore. Unless you count the times that something caused me to use said tooth in a chomping fashion. Biphobia is like that, when your identity is openly questioned on a repeated basis, from friends, acquaintances, people on the bus, your doctor, therapist and even the government, the identity that keeps coming out in multiple situations gets raw like a nerve.
A few weeks ago I was the recipient of an invitation from the White House, and like much of the email that clutters my inbox from various social causes, I was about to file it away, when another email showed up telling me that I should open the invitation and accept. I was one of many Bisexual activists called on by policy makers to join them at the White House and let them know what we as a group were experiencing. This "joke" email, was a real live invitation to be part of something very real and tangible. A way forward to help my community by telling those in powerful positions just how dismal the numbers were.
As many of you may remember, I worked on the Bisexual Invisibility Report with Lindasusan Ulrich, I organize the Bi/Trans Brunch and attempt to be a speakers Bureau of one for the Bay Area Bisexual Network. All of these tasks can sometimes lead to multiple levels of burnout. So when I was asked to speak before the White House in D.C., I was a little apprehensive of the seeming gag order, where we couldn't tell anyone we were going, or what was being said by anyone at the meeting itself, as this meeting was "off the record". But after I accepted the invite, I was introduced to many that I have known of in the community yet never met outside of email, an intergenerational, multi-faith, and culturally mixed group of people whom I would be working with to present our recommendations.
No longer a speakers bureau of one, I was suddenly recharged and ready to attack the issues. Issues like the fact that stigma is amazingly high, when people were part of a telephone survey about who they would like to live next door to, on a scale of 0-100, the lower the number the warmer the subject was to the group. Scoring the worst numbers were Bisexual men, Bisexual women and IV Drug users. Jewish people scored a little better on the scale right under African Americans, and Gay and Lesbian people scored a right in the middle under pro/anti-choice groups. Oftentimes the researchers who could help to illuminate the issues facing the Bisexual community are relegated to aggregating the data so that the numbers are counted towards Gay and Lesbian data. However, when they pull the Bisexual data out, the numbers are really dismal.
According to recent studies, we have a higher rate of tobacco use compared to all other communities, a higher rate of STI diagnosis compared to the Heterosexual community, a higher rate of heart disease compared to the Heterosexual community, and a higher rate of cancer risk factors and lower rate of screening. All of these issues lead to a poorer health outcome for Bisexuals than for the Gay and Lesbian community with Heterosexual communities having the best health outcomes. These issues are really important to me as a Bisexual activist who works at UCSF, and tries to connect people with community and knowing that they are not alone. Even the mental health outcomes are poorer for Bisexual women in urban settings, when their Lesbian counterparts receive a reprieve from the stress of the rural life, Bisexual women's mental health gets worse. Not to mention the amount of data that we have on Bisexual men is almost nonexistent.
What can we do about these seemingly insurmountable issues. I think we may have made some real steps toward making things better by heading to D.C. this week. Not only did the government acknowledge that we are a distinct group, by inviting us to speak, but there was an acknowledgement from the Mayor of Washington D.C. of Bisexual Pride Awareness Day itself. This was a truly amazing part, even before all the meetings beforehand, getting ready to speak, and creating PowerPoint presentations about what the needs were, there was this one single thing, acceptance. While we are still stigmatized, even though we are the largest segment of the LGBTIQQ community, those who have the potential to be attracted and or love more than one gender are unique and accepted by people in high places.
Another way forward that I see, is the creation of programming to help stem the tidal forces trying to hold us down as a community. As our Bay Area Bisexual Network mission states that we "seek to develop a healthy, vibrant, multicultural bisexual community in the San Francisco Bay Area and to promote better understanding of bisexual lives and issues within the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTIQQ) community and the public." It does indeed get better, and I ask that you join me helping to build a group that can live up to this mission, a group that can step up, and step back, a group of humans who have bad days and pass on the work when needed.
What I learned after the meeting and the acknowledgement, is that we have to stick together as a community and work with our allies and sometimes people who are not allies quite yet, to get to our goal of overcoming stigma and becoming better understood by monosexual and cisgendered communities.
The Bay Area Bisexual Network celebrates 25 years of bringing bisexuals together with a reception and a reading by two bisexual authors, Jan Steckel (Mixing Tracks) and Betty Blue, who also writes as Jane Kindred (The Fallen Queen). Founded in 1987, BABN works to develop a healthy, vibrant, multicultural bisexual community in the Bay Area and to promote understanding of bisexual lives and issues in the GLBT community and the wider public. — with Jan Steckel, Betty Blue and Jane Kindred at The GLBT History Museum.
Trans Day of Remembrance is one of the hardest days for me because it makes me confront the fact that trans people, more often than not trans women of color, are demonized by the dominant culture. It hurts my heart to hear that upwards of 265 trans people have been taken from this world too soon this year, and in horrific ways. After losing friends in both the bi and trans communities over the years, I decided that we needed to create space for all of us to get together and build community. Thus, the Trans Bi Brunch was born as a positive response to TDoR. This brunch happens on the 4th Saturday of the month, 12:30pm at a local eatery called Crepevine on Church at Market, and it is a space where the trans and bi communities connect.
I hope that you will join me and others in the bi and trans communities to remember our 265+ dead this year by going to the many Trans Day of Remembrance events across the globe. Last night I was honored to be part of the Trans Flag raising in the Castro, by blessing the marchers, the flag and the entire community I was overcome with a sense of our connectedness across gender and sexuality.
In the coming week their will be three more TDoR events in the Bay Area:
San Francisco, California
Will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance event
on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 5:00pm
Please join us for San Francisco’s Transgender Day of Remembrance 2012.
We will meet at SF City Hall at 5pm and march to the City of Refuge
(1025 Howard St.) in SOMA.
If you do not wish to join the march, you can also come directly to
the City of Refuge, where the main TDOR event will begin at 6pm.
San Francisco, California
Will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance Shabbat
on Friday, November 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav
Led by Martin Rawlings-Fein
290 Dolores Street, San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
Will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance event
on Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 6:00 – 10:00pm
at the Billy DeFrank Ballroom
938 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126
Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center http://www.defrank.org
My reading for the raising of the trans flag:
Prayer for Transgender Day of Remembrance by Rabbi Reuben Zellman
"God full of mercy, bless the souls of all who are in our hearts on this Transgender Day of Remembrance. We call to mind today young and old, of every race, faith, and gender experience, who have died by violence. We remember those who have died because they would not hide, or did not pass, or did pass, or stood too proud. Today we name them: the reluctant activist; the fiery hurler of heels; the warrior for quiet truth; the one whom no one really knew.
As many as we can name, there are thousands more whom we cannot, and for whom no Kaddish may have been said. We mourn their senseless deaths, and give thanks for their lives, for their teaching, and for the brief glow of each holy flame. We pray for the strength to carry on their legacy of vision, bravery, and love.
And as we remember them, we remember with them the thousands more who have taken their own lives. We pray for resolve to root out the injustice, ignorance, and cruelty that grow despair. And we pray, God, that all those who perpetrate hate and violence will speedily come to understand that Your creation has many faces, many genders, many holy expressions.
Blessed are they, who have allowed their divine image to shine in the world.
Blessed is God, in Whom no light is extinguished."
Resources for Transgender Day of Remembrance:
Transgender Day of Remembrance, a guest post by Jane KindredSome resources for TDoR. A piece by Jane Kindred the author that BABN just honored at our 25th Anniversary Kickoff for her ability to write beyond gender and sexuality in her books.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.
Trans People SpeakI AM: Trans People Speak is a campaign created by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
Please join BABN as we celebrate 25 years of bringing bisexuals together by coming to our 25th Anniversary Kick Off with two amazing Bifabulous Authors, Jan Steckel and Betty Blue (a.k.a. Jane kindred) as they read from their collected works and honor us with their presence and words.
Please watch for more 25th Anniversary social events before the end of the year, hopefully a movie night, and a winter holiday party. Stay tuned!
Founded in 1987, BABN’s mission is to develop a healthy, vibrant, multicultural bisexual community in the Bay Area and to promote a better understanding of bisexual lives and issues within the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer community and the public.
Friday, November 16, 2012
7:00pm until 9:00pm
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco, California 94114
View Map · Get Directions
Let's all raise out glasses to being visible on this Bisexual Visibility Day. Celebrate Bisexuality Day is observed on September 23 by members of the bisexual community and our supporters. In another step forward for LGBT advocacy, the city of Berkeley, California announced it would recognize “Bisexual and Bi Visibility Day” on September 23. City Council Member Kriss Worthington wrote to his peers in support of the effort, saying it would encourage citizens to “recognize and celebrate bisexuality history, bisexual community and culture, and the bisexual people in their lives.” The measure passed with unanimous support.
Read about the measure here and see some of out local BABN leaders quoted in several articles:
Berkeley Lawmakers Recognize Bisexual Pride Day KOLO-Sep 21, 2012
Bisexuals may get their day in Berkeley San Francisco Chronicle-Sep 17, 2012
Berkeley Becomes the First City to Proclaim 'Bisexual Pride' Day TheBlaze.com-Sep 20, 2012
Berkeley becomes first US city to declare Bisexual Pride Day ...Washington Post-Sep 18, 2012
Berkeley Lawmakers Recognize Bisexual Pride Day ABC News-Sep 19, 2012
Berkeley lawmakers recognize Bisexual Pride Day Huffington Post-Sep 18, 2012
Berkeley lawmakers recognize Bisexual Pride Day The Associated Press-Sep 18, 2012Berkeley lawmakers recognize Bisexual Pride Day Seattle Post Intelligencer-Sep 18, 2012Berkeley to consider declaring Bisexual Pride Day Ventura County Star-Sep 18, 2012Berkeley ready to proclaim Bisexual Pride Day Sacramento Bee-Sep 18, 2012
Berkeley founds first official Bisexual Pride Day Salon-Sep 19, 2012
What a great crowd of people at brunch today, I am really glad to know you all. I hope you all have a great day for tomorrows festivities, whether you have plans for Folsom, or celebrating Bisexuality Visibility Day. Have a wonderful time!
We meet for brunch on the 4th Saturday at 12:30pm-3ish at Crepevine (Church and Market), hope to see more of you at the next brunch and get to know more of this fabulous community.
B'vracha and Thanks!
CAPS Town Hall: "Straight with a Pinch of Bi": Men's Sexual Flexibilities and their Implications for HIV Prevention, 6/15/12
Héctor Carrillo and Amanda Hoffman
"Straight with a Pinch of Bi": Men's Sexual Flexibilities and their Implications for HIV Prevention
Friday, June 15th, 2012
12:00 - 1:00 PM
50 Beale/13th floor/McKusick Conf. Rm.
BABN Pride Events
Trans March, Bi-Dykes, and Parades Oh My!
5th Annual Bi-BQ
When: Wed, June 20, 5:00pm – 11:30pm
Where: Dolores Park (map)
Description: 5-7 BBQ and potluck in Dolores park, 7-8:45 Bi Talent and Mixer at Dolores Park Cafe, 8:45-9:15 Bi promenade through the mission, 9:30 Bi-Candy: Frameline Bi Shorts at the Victoria. https://www.facebook.com/events/293820014038371/
When: Fri, June 22, 3:30pm – 6:30pm
Where: Dolores Park (map) Description: "Trans Generations: Define Your Moment" See & Be Seen @ Dolores Park with Jennifer and Martin (look for the Trans and Bi Pride flags) 3.30 - 6.30 March to UN Plaza @ 6.30 Performers and Speakers TBA After party: Bustin' Out 7!! The OFFICIAL Trans March AfterParty!! https://www.facebook.com/events/350283011691662/
Brunch for the Bi and Trans Communities @ Crepevine
When: Sat, June 23, 12:30pm – 1:30pm Where: Crepevine, 216 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114-1311 (map) Description: Let's make this Pride a special one and come on out to the monthly Brunch for the Bi and Trans Communities at the Crepevine. Find out when and where to meet out bi community for the Dyke March & Pride Sunday and recount what we were all doing the evening before at the Trans March. Your hosts the Bay Area Bisexual Network (BABN), TransGender San Francisco (TGSF), Congregation Sha'ar Zahav (CSZ), and the Trans March really want to bring the communities together in an intentioned way and build a stronger community. https://www.facebook.com/events/398339726873790/
San Francisco Dyke March
When: Sat, June 23, 3pm – 6pm Where: Dolores Park (map) Description: Dolores Park Stage: 3-7 pm Join Shelli at the Dyke March for a Bi-Dyke group and dance all the way to the Castro at 7pm with your bi sisters.
SF Pride Visi-BI-lity Bi Contingent
When: Sun, June 24, 10am – 2pm Where: TBD Off Market Street Downtown (map) Description: 2012 Bay Area Bisexual Network Pride Contingent Information Theme: Visi-Bi-lity, be as visible as possible and show your bi pride colours! Most of the time bisexuals are hidden, basically defined by the gender of their partner. Pride is one day of the year when we can be seen clearly for who we are, Visi-Bi-lity, whether we are in a same gendered relationship, an opposite gendered relationship, a poly relationship or no relationship at all, whether we are cisgendered, transgendered, genderqueer or just queer, we are all bisexuals and we deserve to be seen for that - the hot, fun people we all are. So use this page to invite all your friends and we will have the best turnout ever.
Help Us Underwrite Our Events in the Coming MonthIf you would like to help underwrite any number of events like the, SF Pride Contingent, ice cream socials, panel discussions, monthly peer-led support groups, bi-weekly social groups and hopefully even a small drop-in community space at the San Francisco LGBT Center, please click the link below for our new WePay page. The Bisexual Resource Center, our fiscal sponsor, has graciously allowed us to create a direct fundraising page that will allow us speedier transfer of funds.
Bay Area Bisexual Network Donation Page
Bay Area Bisexual Network is based in San Francisco with members from all over the Bay Area. Our mission is to develop a healthy, vibrant, multicultural bisexual community in the San Francisco Bay Area and to promote better understanding of bisexual lives and issues within the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community and the public. Thank you all so much for your support in becoming a stronger community organization through direct action and volunteerism. I cannot think of a proper way to thank the giants, whose shoulders we stand upon. Lani, Maggie, Ann, Jack, Joe and all the people who held the banner through all the storms that have ravaged our community.
Watch here for more announcements about a 25th Anniversary Event, yes, it has been 25 years, and we will be creating a great event to celebrate the future of the bi community!
Bay Area Bisexual Network
An update on our Bisexual Contingent progress for Pride 2012:
Jan Steckel has volunteered the use of her car for the Parade. She can fit 2-3 other folks inside if anyone needs a ride instead of marching. Keep in mind there are no ins-and-outs: if you are in the car you must remain in the car for the whole time and if you are marching you cannot stop the parade to get in the car. We could use a driver if anyone wants to contribute that way.
We will decorate the car on the day so bring crepe paper in bisexual colors (purple, blue, pink), painter's tape (it's blue!), and any signs/posters/banners you may have. I am still working on getting the official banners and flags back.
We need 4 people to attend contingent monitor training and sign as being specifically for the BABN car. If we don't get that, we can't have the car. We need at least 2 people to be contingent monitors in addition to the 4 for the car.
Contingent monitor training sessions schedule here: https://register.sfpride.org/event/html/safety-training-2012.pdf
(You only need to attend the first hour of any of these and you don't have to register in advance, just turn up on time. I'm going Saturday June 2 from 1-2pm at the Center in SF.)
One theme suggested for this year is "Bisexual Invasion". The Boston Bisexual contingent is using this one so we would be in solidarity with them if we choose this theme. Think ray-guns and outer space gear. Any other ideas?
We have just enough funds to cover both the contingent & the car ($311), but if anyone feels moved to donate a few dollars for decorations, please contact Lani on email@example.com .
That's it for now! This celebration depends on YOU so let me hear your thoughts!!
First question is: how many people intend to march with us? That will determine how many contingent monitors we need. Can someone put out a poll on the Facebook page to ask that group and report back here? I'm not on Facebook so I can't do it myself.
2-25 persons marching = 2 Contingent Monitors
26 to 50 persons marching = 4 Contingent Monitors
51 to 75 persons marching = 6 Contingent Monitors
Second question is, how many people would be unable to march if we did not have a car? This will determine if we get one or not, and how many additional contingent monitors we need for the wheels (1 per wheel is my recollection).
Third question is, how many people are willing to attend contingent monitor training, besides myself? If we don't have enough to get a car, that will end the discussion quickly.
Fourth question is, if I can't get the banner and flags back from last years coordinator, how will we identify ourselves?
Lastly, who has an idea for a simple theme? In recent past we've done: switch-hitters, fence-sitters, bisexuals in paradise, invisiBIlity. Suggestions that didn't get selected were Famous Bisexuals in History, marriage-related stuff (having couples of various gender orientations dressed in wedding garb paired, maybe even square dancing so they trade off), and Green Bisexuals (as in, sustainability).
My new suggestion for this year is to take a cue from a Star Trek episode, which featured a race war between people who had one side black and one side white, and the "opposite race" had the opposite sides black and white, like this:
Perhaps we can come up with something like this using the Bisexual Colors?
Thanks for any suggestions or help,
Our mission is to foster a sense of bisexual/Pan+ community and promote better understanding of bisexual+ lives and issues within the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community and the public.
Our Informational Blog Recently Made Number 38 on the Top 50 Bisexual Blogs!