Saturday, April 25, 2009

Quick Hits: this is what Biphobia looks like gay.com style

Quick Hits: this is what Biphobia looks likeObviously quite a few people are really taking the concept of being an "April Fool" to heart this year. Now gay.com one of THE Most Popular online men's personals, chat and social networking sites in the United States decided to post an "Op-Ed" piece in their 'Hot Topics' section entitled "Can Guys Actually Be Bisexual?" And you'll NEVER Guess what they concluded . . . they can't!

Here area couple of gems from the piece:
So what do we make of these guys who define themselves as bi? Are they really fooling themselves as they screw their way down the path to gayhood . . . where men are concerned, if you're having sex with a guy, chances are there's a part of you that's in denial and only time will tell when you'll finally come around to that realization
and then there is this
Women on the other hand are more emotionally driven than men and can, I believe, be bisexual . . . There's something more casual about a woman playing both sides of the field
But you might be saying, after all it's gay.com, men don't actually go to the site for INTELLECTUAL stimulation, so why should we care what they say?
  • becasue the author is not just some random dude spouting off, he is Ari Bendersky, a reasonably well credentialed journalist and should know better

  • becasue a LOT of men log on, including some who are just stating to explore their sexual identity show up and poke around. And this is a place where they form their ideas about the different kinds of people who make up the LGBT Community and, more importantly, how they should treat them

  • and becasue it's the right thing to do
  • -- so do it.

    Here's where to voice your opinions:
    1. submit an Incident Report to GLAAD and ask them to please live up to their mission to defend the LGBT Community against all hate-mongering

    2. post your own Comments about the article, many people repudiating the silly biphobic and sexist remarks can help mitigate their bad example

    3. and if you're feeling especially moved send a complaint to abuse@gay.com and "cc" it to their parent company abuse@planetout.com -- yes sad but true PlanetOut!

    [ed. note] And read the good rebuttle by Ron Suresha Gay.com needs education in bi male sexuality
    and again many thanks to the good people at Queers United for noticing the article and doing something about it.

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    We are all somewhere between straight and gay . . . .

    LGBT - there are many houses in my neighborhoodWe have been told we do not exist, we have been told we must fit ourselves into either the “straight” or “gay/lesbian” boxes, during those bewildering moments when the culture suddenly decides to find us "chic" we are then told that our life-long sexual orientation is something we are doing to be cool . . .

    Recently, the negative feelings against us poured out in their rawest form on to Websites, Comments, Email, Boards, Myspace, YouTube - “I am on a righteous crusade to eradicate the homopho-‘B’-ia in ‘LGBT.’ Bisexuals are hateful, double-crossing, homophobe-collaborating, duplicitous monsters.”

    We gathered together at all levels, from four brave young people on YouTube to the Board of BiNet USA, and got those words banned from YouTube!

    Our community is becoming more energized and active on many fronts (see previous blogs for examples), thanks to our dedicated leaders, the new members swelling our ranks, the many wonderful conferences, and even perhaps the current wave of “bisexual chic”, exemplified by Tila Tequila, who while some have mixed feelings about, but at least it makes people aware that we exist.

    However, at this very wonderful, exciting time in our community, a threat exists, and sadly, it is from within ourselves, and over words and labels. But not even from ugly hate words; instead it is comes from words such as bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, fluid, or even the lack or words, as in “I don’t label myself.”

    It is not widely known, but many of the early gay and lesbian groups were actually founded by bisexuals, to use the early word. Indeed, the idea of our annual Pride Festivities including the Rally and March itself now celebrated worldwide by LGBT Communities across the globe was started 40 years ago by the out bi-identified LGBT leader Brenda Howard. Many of those early leaders had to hide their bisexuality due to the profound biphobia of that era. So for these leaders, and for many older bisexuals, claiming the word “bisexual” has been a life-long struggle. It is a word they now speak out loud with pride and love, a word that rings with affirmation, with struggles hard-fought, some won and some lost, but with memories of a life devoted to making this world a better place for other (say it Loud and say it PROUD!!!!) bisexuals.

    However, life has a tendency to get more complex. Some of those who were excluded from Gay and Lesbian groups began to feel that excluding people was wrong, and wanted to build a movement that included all people who were marginalized due to not being completely “normal” sexually. Awareness grew of transgender people, who were also being discriminated against by mainline L and G groups much the same way we were. With this awareness came the knowledge that there are more than two genders, and with feminism came the feeling that rigid definitions of how men and women are “supposed” to be are wrong, and should be struggled against.

    Just as the tendency of this culture to see things in rigid good/bad, either/or, white/black terms causes problems for bisexuals, as it made it hard for people to believe there was an in-between state, the very word “bisexual” became a problem for some people, as they began to feel it expressed the idea that there were only two sexes, male OR female, when we now know that there are intergender people, genderqueer people, sexual mosaics, XXY people, etc., and that gender is a continuum. Words like pansexual or omnisexual began to be used to express the concept of someone who could be aroused by and/or love people of all genders.

    Other people reject labels entirely as a way of totally rejecting the idea that sexual identity is fixed. They also feel that if any group (bisexuals/pansexuals, etc.) is defined, some people will be excluded, and they wish to include all people marginalized by being different sexually.

    Unfortunately, instead of accepting the fact that there are differences among people who are somewhere between gay and straight, a back-labeling phenomenon arose. Suddenly “bisexual” was held to mean people who are turned on by the differences between men and women, but don’t like sexually ambiguous people. There are people like this, but not only was the meaning of the word bisexual switched, somehow it began to have a negative connotation.

    But for the people who had struggled for bisexual rights all their lives to have the meaning of the word they loved and were proud of changed on them, and for it to become negative, seemed like adding insult to injury, especially since most of them were actually pan/omnisexual, going by the new words. So there began to be a schism in those of us somewhere between straight and gay . . .

    The next, hugely problematic word was “fluid”, This word actually is used to mean without boundaries, hard to define, not rigid, inclusive, etc. However, some people took it to mean “changing over time” and felt that if we say that bi/pansexuals’ sexuality changes over time, we are feeding into the Religious Right, who say that sexuality is a choice, and we can all choose to be straight.

    It is clear if you read Lisa Diamond’s research that people are not the same in regard to the stability of their sexual identity. Some are rock-solid stable for their entire lives, and some are more changeable. Everyone is not like us. We cannot judge someone else because they are not the same as we are. To quote the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King:
    "You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh's court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that's the beginning of getting out of slavery."
    We are all somewhere between straight and gay. If the pansexuals judge the bisexuals, and the stable people judge the fluid people, and/or vice versa, our community will fall apart before it even has a chance to come together.

    On the other hand, if we understand that there are different kinds of not-straight/not-gay people, and that’s fine, and some are stable in their sexual identity and some are fluid, and that’s fine too, and we all have the right to identify ourselves exactly the way that suits us best, maybe instead of fighting amongst ourselves, and delighting Pharaoh, we can fight for all the rights that straight people have.

    Then, when each and every L and G and B and T has every single right that straight people now have, we will finally be in the Promised Land and will be able to not worry about labeling ourselves at all, because then and only then it will not matter.
    Interested in this topic? Come join us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.

    Saturday, April 18, 2009

    Quick Hits: and I'll be there, yeah, you've got a friend

    Helping Hands: the gay/lesbian community reacing out the hand of friendship to the bi/pan/fluid communityquote from the article "She Didn't Just Kiss Her" in Out.com in which a new single picks up where Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" left off and is stirring up praise and controversy
    We’ve covered Katy in the magazine several times and we’ve gotten such vicious feedback -- both pro and con. What’s your take on her song and her intentions?
    I read that there’s a lot of outrage in the gay community toward her and a feeling that she’s exploited the gay community, but I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt and find out more before I make judgments on something like that. I’ve done some reading up on her and she seems to be very supportive of the gay community. I think she’s a little bit taken aback by the reaction -- she’s like, “Hey! I love gay people!” I read that both of her parents are ministers and she said, “They’re fine with it and if they’re fine with it I don’t know why other people aren’t fine with it. What’s the problem?” So, as a songwriter and an artist myself, I always give people leeway to express whatever they want to express. I think she was just making her own little statement -- if she’s not gay, she’s not gay. We shouldn’t be offended by that.

    Within in the gay community I think there’s that sentiment of “Either you’re for us or you’re against us” -- even the bisexuals are often given a hard time of it for being “uncommitted” -- but that’s so limiting.
    There are so many voices amongst us. It’s almost like reverse discrimination sometimes within the gay community. We need to be as open-minded toward them as we want them to be toward us.
    giving much love to singer/songwriter Jen Foster, writer Noah Michelson and Out.com for having the wit and courage to speak truth to power

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    [Op-ed] Are Bisexuals the glue that holds Poly together?

    Are Bisexuals the glue that holds Poly together?I have been having this conversation with some folk about polyamory and bisexuality. The short story is that there was a question as to whether it was rare to see relationships of two men and one woman, and why that is the case?

    While there were many responses to that question the observation was made that in a situation like that where there was two men and one woman, it would be easier for the group to be str8 because of the fact that one woman can easily handle two men. But in the reverse situation where there were two women and one man, it would be advantageous for the women if they were bisexual since the man will probably be incapacitated at some point leaving both women longing for more. At this point in the conversation, someone made the comment that while bisexuals aren't necessary to whole poly relationships together, they certainly do help. That got me to thinking.

    In most poly situations I know of, the folk ARE bisexual . . . . but that may be because I am bi and therefore have a natural affinity for bi community. Perhaps the majority of poly folk aren't bisexual, I don't know. That's why I am posing this question.

    Are Bisexuals the connection that makes triads, and quads, so common? Not to say that we are needed for poly relationships, but if you remove the bisexuals from the equation . . . . would the numbers of poly community be drastically reduced or just unnoticeably reduced?

    Groove Thang

    Tuesday, April 07, 2009

    this is what Biphobia looks like: columnist Michael Musto asks 'Are Bisexuals Real?'

    Stop Biphobia Now!The totally tired and decidedly un-fabulous Michael Musto a gossip columnist for the Village Voice has come out with a biphobic, anti-scientific column titled "Ever Meet a Real Bisexual"? questioning the legitimacy of bisexuality. In it he says (among other silly things):
    "Everyone always says they're bisexual, blabbing on and on about how "sexuality is fluid, and I don't really like labels"--but usually I find these are just gay men who are afraid to come out. I know there are real bisexuals out there--mainly because I've heard that there are--and I do think it's a lovely idea to actually crave sex with people regardless of gender. I'm just wondering how real a phenomenon this is, as opposed to a smoke-and-mirrors coverup designed to keep antsy gays in the closet.

    Most of the guys I know who say they're bisexual end up doing Bette Davis impersonations after a few drinks, and when you invite them to an all-girl bar, they get excited, thinking you mean Splash. But do you know anyone who REALLY is equally attracted to both men and women and effortlessly glides between those two dating pools without a second's thought or self-consciousness? If so, do you ever suspect they're full of shit?"
    Suggesting bisexuality is a phenomenon, or that bisexual men are closeted liars is offensive and outright wrong!

    While some who say these bigoted things may think they are being funny, cute and amusing not to mention raising the hit rate on their columns a notch or two or some well-meaning people may just chalk it up to "sibling rivalry" within the greater LGBT Community -- annoying but not to serious, in reality the biphobic rants of Michael Musto, Dan Savage, et al. are just as toxic as Fred Phelps, James Dobson's Focus on the Family and their ilk are to the greater LGBT Community.

    They give legitimacy to troubled souls of the kind we ALL know too well, (such as the recent YouTube incidents) and help to incite hatred and violence against the bisexual/pansexual and fluid community.

    Take Action
    Contact Michael Musto and tell him biphobia has no place in the Village Voice or anywhere else for that matter.

    Contact GLAAD and ask them to please live up to their mission to defend the LGBT Community against all hate-mongering in the media
    and many thanks to the good people at Queers United for noticing the article, knowing it was wrong and immediately doing something about it. They are a good source of info for the LGBT community and would be a helpful addition to anyone's blogroll.

    Wednesday, April 01, 2009

    Never Mind April In Paris - Spend It In the Twin Cities instead

    Here is just some of what will be happening this April in Minneapolis Minnesota:Here is a note describing some of these events sent out by Anne Phibbs, Ph.D. the Director, GLBTA Programs Office University of Minnesota at their Twin Cities Campus:

    I am writing to invite you to an important community discussion about how we, as "GLBT activists and organizations" can more effectively understand and serve those parts of our communities with bi/fluid/pan sexual orientations & identities. This is an opportunity for any and all activists working in any capacity on GLBTA/queer issues - paid staff, volunteers, and board members - to come together and start talking about what we are - and are not - doing, as both organizations & individual activists.

    We're fortunate to have internationally-recognized bisexual author and educator Robyn Ochs in town for the BECAUSE Conference - and she's agreed to join us for this important discussion. I am hoping this Forum is just the beginning of continued discussions on this topic - and other topics focused on inclusivity in our communities.

    Please consider attending - and please forward this email widely. Specifics of the Forum are listed below, as well as on the GLBTA Programs Office website.


    Bisexuality-Inclusion Forum featuring Robyn Ochs
    Tuesday, April 21st 2009 12:00 noon to 2:30 pm
    Sabathani Community Center, 3rd floor Conference Rooms (d1 & d2)310 East 38th Street Minneapolis, Minnesota USA (near OutFront Minnesota offices)
    How can GLBT organizations effectively serve our bisexual/fluid/pan communities? What information and conversations do we need to have to ensure that our social justice movements are truly inclusive? Join internationally-renowned bi author & educator Robyn Ochs for presentation & dialogue is intended for staff, volunteers and board members of organizations working for GLBT equality. Free and open to the public.
    A light lunch will be available while supplies last. Sponsored by OutFront Minnesota, PFund Foundation, Twin Cities Pride, Twin Cities Quorum, and the GLBTA Programs Office.

    BECAUSE 2009: Midwest Conference on Bisexuality Bisexual Empowerment Conference: A Unique Supportive Experience! Friday April 17, 2009 thru Sunday April 19, 2009 at the Coffman Memorial Union on the Twin Cities Campus of the University of MinnesotaHere is the information for the Sunday, April 19 2009 Minnesota premiere of a new film focused on bisexuality: Bi the Way. As part of the upcoming BECAUSE Conference, we're bringing this film, along with one of the filmmakers, Josephine Decker. It will be an excellent opportunity for education around bi issues, as will the conference in general. To check out the conference, go to:

    BECAUSE '09 - Theme: "Images"
    Bisexual Empowerment Conference: A Uniting, Supportive Experience
    Date: April 17-19, 2009
    Coffman Memorial Union University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus
    300 Washington Ave. SE Minneapolis, MN 55455
    www.becauseconference.org
    Our theme this year is IMAGES -- taking a look at Images in Media and Art of Gender Expression and Sexuality

    The BECAUSE Conference is the premier weekend event in the Midwest for bisexuals, queers, trans, bi-curious, questioning, and all others, regardless of identity. 2009 will mark the 15th BECAUSE Conference. Join us and become part of history!
    Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns - I hope to see many of you on the 21st!

    Anne Phibbs, Ph.D
    Director, GLBTA Programs Office
    University of Minnesota

    There is a lot going on for the bi/pan/fluid communities in Minnesota and in the "Twin Cities" of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in particular. There are a number of lively groups and communities including: Bi Minnesota, Minnesota Bisexual Gals Club and the Twin Cities Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP). It is also the home of Bill Burleson an out bi-identified LGBT STD/HIV prevention educator, activist and writer. Among his many accomplishments, Burleson is the author of "Bi America: Myths, Truths, and Struggles of an Invisible Community", writes a regular column on bisexual issues for "Lavender Magazine" and producing a weekly Minneapolis cable access television show "BiCities!"