Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 080515 Contents 24 // 8.5.2015 // SFGN.com //
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Oh, yes. The sense of isolation I felt as a Black woman
at #NN15 was amplified by biphobia, both external
and internal. When I introduced Jennicet Eva
Gutiérrez at the #QPOCNN15 caucus I co-organized, I
mentioned that multiple people had asked me whether I
would go to the White House and be disruptive, to which I
told them, "what makes you think I haven't?"
My friends are dying, we are recovering from brutal
rapes (5 time winner there myself), and when we battle
suicide there's nearly a 50 percent chance we won't win.
Imagine knowing 50 percent of the largest part of the
LGBT community might not #MakeItToTomorrow. Then
imagine no one giving a shit.
Instead they increase my chances of being raped by
promoting the appropriation of bisexual bodies and the
rape of bisexual women in media. Instead they tell me
bisexual is binary and I should be uplifting transgender
voices instead of speaking about bisexual people. How dare
they remove transgender bisexuals from the picture and
erase decades of our work together?
I would not be a bisexual organizer without transgender
support, mentorship, advice, friendship and radical
solidarity. I want to honor and acknowledge just a few of
the trans folks who taught me what I know and allied with
me. Those whose oppression was bound up with mine, so
we shook chains together!
Shirley O Bushnell, Kylar Broadus, Diego Miguel Sanchez
Apr, Monica Roberts, Tara Madison Avery, Bamby Salcedo,
Jake Finney, Mara Keisling, Theresa Sparks, JoAnne
Keatley, Masen Davis, Kale Likover, Hayden L Mora, Scout,
Raja Gopal Bhattar, Jay Brown, Ashley Love, Loree Cook-
Daniels, Allyson Robinson, Pauline Park, Aud Traher and
to so many others, thank you for being everything to me
and "the B in LGBT," which many of you, but not all, also
The 2013 Bisexual Community Issues Roundtable at the
White House would never have occurred if transgender
meetings at the White House hadn't happened first. Folks
might tell you the B fought to be added to LG and now its
time for T but the truth is we've ALL always been there
since the beginning. Surviving with nothing but ourselves
and each other.
historically have always
shown up together, not
always working together
but *in alignment.* Add in
bi/trans organizers working
both sides in NY, SF, DC, and
LA from the 70's onward?
Once we started fighting for
4 letters, we are the ones who
made the LGBT movement
So how dare we accept
the state of affairs and
bleak future for elders like
Yosenio Lewis who in 1996
co-organized the first ever
meeting of Bi and Trans leaders with White House officials
or coordinated and facilitated the first national Latino/a
Help Yosenio: http://www.youcaring.com/yose-io-v-
How dare the LGBTQ community allow the B to exist
only in name? To allow our elders to die off with their
valuable archives trashed, and their memories and means
for success discarded.
This ageism intersects bisexuality as our youth are
reeducated against their own cultural heritage and our
elders are denied their due. For without providing spaces
for intergenerational dialogue, our gains are lost. We
lose people from movement work. We lose institutional
knowledge, organization development, and the desire and
commitment for diversity. And we lose bisexuals, like 5
young people dead by suicide in just the last 3 months.
In letting bisexuals down, we impede progress. For at
every intersection work is
being done on the backs of
bisexual organizers who do
not find their bisexuality
critical and central to their
work. This internalized
increases their minority
stress and amplifies the more
intersections that apply.
The first step for relief
from this "psychic murder"
as Dr. Heru Khuti perfectly
put it? Say the word bisexual.
Put it in the conversation,
say it in the hallway, next
to kids, in passing, or on
the elevator. Part of how
I know that bisexuals are
everywhere is because I
openly identify myself as
time I got on an elevator
at Netroots Nation, I came off with an extra bisexual.
Bi plus organizers were present in labor, immigration,
reproductive justice, feminism, racial justice, disability,
and dozens of movements.
Here was a bi, there was a bi, everywhere there's a bi.
A few of them couldn't use the word to describe
themselves but I'm proud to say there were dozens that
would use bi, pan, fluid, omni, or no labels. And they
would tell me their stories of invalidation, diminishment
and rejection, usually just from the last hour! At every
intersection inside of intersectional work, bisexuality is
ignored. It feels fairly global and monolithic. Borg-like, the
geeky me would say.
But we are bigger.
All of us? Is a whole hell of a lot. Target people with
*any* capacity to be attracted to more than one gender and
you're potentially looking at over 14 percent of the general
population and over 80 percent of the LGBT community.
With bi plus individuals in every community, you're able
to creatively problem solve and scale up, basing metrics off
the demands our intersections constantly generate.
If two of the Black queer women who co-founded
#BlackLivesMatter are behaviorally bisexual and identify
as bisexual or pansexual, why aren’t we seeing that
intersection of their life celebrated and affirmed by
media, whether it’s LGBT or mainstream? By discussing,
amplifying and intersecting bisexuality, we save many
lives. It is also critical to keeping our collective boundary
crossers alive, safe, and healthy. So we don't lose them like
we lost Sylvia Rivera, Brenda Howard, June Jordan, Iris De
La Cruz, Freddie Mercury, Bessie Smith or Billie Holiday.
That LGBTQ people will sleep with bisexuals and straight
people will rape and beat us is not an acceptable outcome
for any group of people. My movement will include
bisexuals or it will not move.
column by the bi
Reflections from a Black Bi Queer
Woman Organizer at Netroots Nation
Originally from San Luis Obispo, California, Faith Cheltenham is the current
President of BiNet USA, a national non-profit advocacy organization
for bi people. Faith’s been an LGBT activist for 15 years and is also an
accomplished writer, poet, and stand-up comic. Faith is mom to two-year-old
Storm, step-mom to six-year-old Cadence, and wife to Matt in a very modern
family in Los Angeles.
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