Tuesday, May 26, 2009

[BiNet USA] Prop 8 Upheld, Struggle for Equality Continues







Media Advisory

Date: 05/26/2009 1:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time Contact: press@binetusa.org 1-800-585-9368

The BiNet USA board of directors is disappointed by Tuesday's ruling of the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8's state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but the board also has resolved to support new efforts to rescind it. To that end BiNet USA has signed onto the community letter supporting a November 2010 ballot initiative to repeal Prop 8.

While the court ruled that procedurally the proposition was legally placed on last year's ballot and approved by a majority of those voting, we nonetheless agree with the court's original ruling that the Constitution guarantees fair and equal treatment for all people, which includes the right to marriage equality. The new constitutional amendment is plain on its face: one class of people is denied civil protections accorded to others. This is a dangerous precedent.

We are heartened that the court upheld the validity of the same-sex marriages that occurred between the time of the court's first ruling and the subsequent passage of Prop. 8.We are also heartened by recent rulings and votes in several other states to allow same-sex marriage. It's a simple matter of justice and equality.

Repeal Prop 8: Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere ~Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.As bi-identified people, we are able to marry when the person we fall in love with happens to be of a sex different than our own but not when the partner of our choice happens to be of the same sex. Along with our gay, lesbian and straight-identified allies/family members/friends/partners, we must continue to work for our full civil rights -- for the option of legal marriage between two loving adults regardless of sex.

Bi-identified LGBT Activists LindaSusan Ulrich and Emily Drennen getting married in their beautiful wedding dresses - And Bi-identified LGBT Activist Emily Drennen getting arrested today protesting Prop-8 (in her same lovely wedding wedding dress)So the battle continues, and we ask backers of BiNet USA to redouble support for the upcoming latest struggles.

Now approaching its 20th year of existence, BiNet USA is America's Civil-rights and advocacy organization for all bisexual, pansexual, fluid and all the rest of us "somewhere in between" people as well as their lesbian, gay, transgender, "straight but not narrow" and questioning friends and allies. BiNet USA facilitates the development of a cohesive network of independent bisexual/pansexual, fluid and friendly communities; promotes bisexual, fluid, pansexual and inclusive visibility; and collects and distribute educational information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity with an emphasis on the bisexual/pansexual, fluid and allied communities.

For more information, please visit us on the Web at:

www.binetusa.org
binetusa.blogspot.com
www.myspace.com/binetusa
www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44503625428

and for press inquiries, please call 1-800-585-9368 or email press@binetusa.org

Tags: Prop 8, Marriage Equality, Same Sex Marrige, California

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Monday, May 25, 2009

[BiNet USA] Honor Our Servicemembers and Vets This Memorial Day By Overturning DADT







Media Advisory

Date: 05/25/2009 12:40 AM Eastern Daylight Time Contact: press@binetusa.org 1-800-585-9368
"As a bisexual in the military, there is no distinction in terms of punishment, no refuge in being bisexual. You get the same consequences; you don't get half a discharge." ~~ Cliff Arnesen, Bisexual Veteran and Current President of New England GLBT Veterans October 2001
On this Memorial Day BiNet USA take the opportunity to once again express its full support of the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) and the implementation of nondiscriminatory practices in the armed services of the United States.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have honorably served in the armed forces throughout its history; military personnel are expected to be disciplined and professional -- for opponents of LGBT Servicemembers to suggest that the presence of such a person would bring chaos and disciplinary problems to the military is to insult the professionalism of that very military and to call into question the integrity of ALL service members.

A professional is a professional, skills are skills, and the best people are needed in all ranks at all times, regardless of sexual orientation -- as long as they behave in a professional, disciplined way. To deny our defending/fighting forces and ancillary aides the support they need (such as Dan Choi a West Point Graduate and an Arabic translator and lieutenant in the US Army who was just dismissed for being gay) is nothing short of foolhardy.

Also on this Memorial Day, we pause with the rest of the country to remember all the LGBT Servicemembers who have fought and died for the very liberty we hold so dear, and that so many wish to take from us -- even within our own ranks of fellow citizens.

We also pay tribute to those who are -- or wish to be -- members of the military but who are discriminated against, even as they hope to defend the very liberty that would have them deny their very right to free speech: Don't tell? That sounds contrary to the First Amendment. Don't use the best and the bravest? That sounds un-American. Remember what the Pledge of Allegiance says on this Memorial Day, a pledge LGBT people inside and outside the armed forces have fought and died to uphold: "With liberty and justice FOR ALL."

'Which Is The Gay One?' - Chan Lowe, an editorial cartoonist with the Sun-Sentinel in Southern Florida, illustrated the injustice of the 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' law in his recent blog

Now approaching its 20th year of existence, BiNet USA is America's Civil-rights and advocacy organization for all bisexual, pansexual, fluid and all the rest of us "somewhere in between" people as well as their lesbian, gay, transgender, "straight but not narrow" and questioning friends and allies, BiNet USA facilitates the development of a cohesive network of independent bisexual/pansexual, fluid and friendly communities; promotes bisexual, fluid, pansexual and inclusive visibility; and collects and distribute educational information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity with an emphasis on the bisexual/pansexual, fluid and allied communities.

For more information, please visit us on the Web at:

www.binetusa.org
binetusa.blogspot.com
www.myspace.com/binetusa
www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44503625428

and for press inquiries, please call 1-800-585-9368 or email press@binetusa.org

Tags: Memorial Day, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT)

# # #

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Quick Hits: Out Of The Mouths Of Babes and Students

From the well-know Bi-identified LGBT Scholar, Author and Activist Dr. Loraine Hutchins comes this classroom gem:Old Time Picture of Female Scholars
Last week I gave a take-home exam for end o-the-semester in my Intro to LGBT Studies classes at Towson University. One of the questions I asked was for them to give an example of some of the common mistakes scientists have made in researching bisexuality.

The students know about the (ed. note widely disparaged) July 2005 New York Times “Gay, Straight or Lying,” piece by Benedict Carey because I critique it in class. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, look it up. You’ll find some researchers tried to prove no men are “really bi” by hooking their penises up to a size meter while showing them 2 minute long segments of male/male and female/female porn and since very few men got hard watching both in that amount of time it was concluded that few men are bi.

I loved one of the answers of one my students wrote: “. . . them not getting hard to the pictures of the women could be due to a number of reasons, including the fact that their penis is attached to wires.”
Says the amused Dr. Hutchins, "I LOVE this job!"

Quick Hits: Abby Is A Dear and Accurate Too

In her column of Tuesday, May 19th 2009 "Dear Abby", a doyenne among American Advise Columnists gave a lovely, levelheaded and amazingly accurate answer to a worried reader.

Dear Abby - Photo of the writers of Dear Abby, Pauline Phillips and her daughter Jeanne PhillipsThe column is entitled "Son Struggles To Accept Dad's Preference For Men" and in it a reader who signs himself "Caring Son In Miami" expresses confusion and concern that his now 83-year old widowed father is dating men and women. While the Son makes it clear that he and his Dad have a good relationship and that his family is not now and has never been homophobic, the Son says " I'm shocked that the fact he is gay has been so difficult for me to accept." and asks for help so that he might become more accepting.

In her answer, Ms. Jeanne Phillips writing under her pen-name of Abigail Van Buren calmly tells the Son that "Your father appears to be bisexual, which means he is attracted to both men and women." And then proceeded to give reassuring, low-key and sensible advice.

We all say "Hurrah!" for both explaining that LGBT People are everyday folks and nothing to get excited about AND for resisting the temptation to acquiesce to the idea that any same gender attraction should automatically be labeled "Gay" and accurately telling it like it is. People feeling moved to send her notes of thank should Click Here and fill out the easy to use form.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Note From the New BiNet USA Prez

By Gary North

Belated greetings (board members took their new positions in late April). It’s been a busy month in Lake WoBiGon (sorry, Garrison), so that’s why I’m only now getting to write this (and with a special thanks to our never-ever-sleeps webmaster, who has inserted all sorts of links in this essay):

  • Biphobia has been running rampant lately (why right now is a mystery to me, but I’ll blame the economy, global warming, bad hair days . . . ), so BiNet USA's supporters and Rapid Responders have been countering the attacks immediately, consistently and repeatedly (donate now so we can continue the fight!).


  • At the same time (not so coincidentally?), same-sex marriage has been approved by courts or legislatures in several states, and there’s a move afoot to try to repeal Prop. 8 in California), so we have yet another fight on our hands.


  • And I’ve been so swamped with work after two more rounds of layoffs that I haven’t had time to say hello. So: Hello!


  • Gary B. North,2009  President of BiNet USAAllow me to introduce myself: You know Methuselah? Well, I haven’t been around the bi movement THAT long — but nearly. Actually, I’m the political/theoretical-construct love-child of Robyn, Lani, Loraine, Alan, Barry, Alexei, Luigi . . . hey, it takes a community to nurture a community, yuh know — and to comprehend what BiNet USA and the bi movement are all about.

    . . . What’s that? You say didn’t even KNOW there’s a bi movement? And you don’t know who those people are whose first names I just rattled off? Well, stick around and pull up a chair(person) . . . Or in this case, a prexy.

    Being president of BiNet USA actually only means being president of . . . a lot of presidents. You see, unlike herding cats (my task when I was president of a local union; I can show you the scratch marks), BiNet USA’s leadership structure is simple: Everyone is in charge, and NO ONE tells ANYONE what to do.

    . . . OK, that’s oversimplifying matters a bit; let me try again: Everyone is in charge of speaking out for themselves; each person is her or his own president, in charge of leading, defining and explaining who they are to the rest of the world and to each other. One of the great founding tenets of BiNet USA is that NO ONE speaks "ON BEHALF OF" "the bi people" or "all bi people" or any other such construct/conceptualization of a bi populace, collection or group. We each speak for ourselves because we’re such a diverse network/coalition of individuals and there is no "one way" to be "bi" — heck, most of our supporters don’t even like the word "bi" itself: too constricting, antiquated, imprecise, etc. (More on that in a future essay, but here’s just one example: "Bi" tends to mean having the capacity to feel attractions toward certain males and females . . . so where does that leave attractions by or toward transgendered persons and other gender-minority people? Ah, semantics . . .)

    However, we’re united in a common cause — several actually (yet another future essay) — and find strength in numbers.

    So, why was I willing to take on the task of being president of a bunch of independent presidents (after years of stepping away from BiNet USA to take care of family matters)? Well, basically because it's primarily operational and NOT MEANT to be "the" spokesperson for "all" bi/fluid/poly/insert-your-own-label-here people.


    Keep in mind that BiNet USA (emphasis on “NET”) was simply the formal recognition that an ad hoc grassroots NETWORK of local and regional bi groups and individuals had begun to spring up with 1987’s March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights (the B and T words would be added to the names of future marches thanks in large part to early BiNet USA activists). BiNet USA as an entity was founded at the first North American Conference on Bisexuality in San Francisco in 1990 (which means our 20th anniversary is next year in June!!! Watch for details!!!).

    Over the course of the next several months, the collective nature of the network (i.e., no president or board) was discussed, defined, crystallized and formalized, culminating with an announcement of BiNet USA’s existence and name at the end of a meeting in Seattle. (The Associated Press refused to even distribute a one-sentence announcement, grrr...).

    The collective/consensus nature of the network has been a healthy hallmark of BiNet USA's existence and functioning, and we’ve pretty much operated with that structure ever since — after all, we’re at heart a national NETWORK of groups and individuals, and it was never intended that we would stand alone and apart from the network(s) that formed BiNet USA in the first place.

    All well and good, but it’s difficult to ask folks to donate to a grassroots "network" that doesn’t exist as a formal/legal entity and therefore can't offer tax deductions on those donations. And as time went on, it became increasingly
    impractical and untenable to interact with other "real" organizations without ourselves having a formal/legal designation/recognition as a "nonprofit organization."

    Therefore, thanks to Barry, Victor, Luigi and several others BiNet USA leaders (forgive me if I've conflated or forgotten some folks — you know how all those bi people look the same and blend together: If you've seen one bi person, you've seen them all, right?...), an application was made to the federal government, and in late July 1995, we received our preliminary "letter of determination" as a 501(c)3 nonprofit org. (Formal recognition usually takes several years and for us ended in late 1998 or so, but we were able to start accepting donations as of July 24, 1995 — and speaking of donations, ahem . . . )

    Anyways, one of the requirements of being a "formal” organization is that we needed to have bylaws (not bi laws, you punsters; bylaws — what is it with these English-speaking bi people that they have to make puns??? . . . Must be genetic or something in the hypothalamus . . . ), and the bylaws generally must create the legal positions of president — Ah-ha! You see where this discussion is headed! — as well as vice president, secretary/treasurer (or both) and a board. Voila: a formal structure.

    So, while the "president" of BiNet USA could be defined as "a bi leader" or "leader of (the) bi people"(gotta love the quaintness of the simplistic mass media mindset), in reality that’s not how we work: Remember, we are consensus-based and we’re supposed to be a network — we don't tell groups and individuals what to do, they tell us. (More about membership in a future essay.) So in BiNet USA’s case, the "president" is primarily a facilitator, not a pontificator ( . . . of course, you wouldn’t know that based on the length of this essay, would you? . . . ); the president presides over the operations of the legal entity (the organization) and meetings of the board of directors. But the prez, vp, sec/treas, etc., are only formal legal designations (albeit with real, legal responsibilities); the REAL structure of BiNet USA — the way we REALLY get things done — is still by consensus. (We only rely on board votes and Robert’s Rules of Orders when we need to do so for legal/parliamentary reasons or when consensus simply can't be reached, which is rare.)

    In other words, it was never the intent of BiNet USA's founders (myself included) to have political positions such as a president or a board (originally we had a steering committee of six to ten equal members), but we have these offices out of necessity for legal/bureaucratic reasons and to get certain work done. So being president of many bi presidents is a challenge and honor — but primarily a function; YOU are the real leaders.

    You are the leaders in your communities, groups, campuses, jobs, neighborhoods and everyday lives. THAT'S where the field work is done; THAT'S where change is made; that's where prejudice is overcome and where biased people become enlightened and educated.

    BiNet USA’s role is to help you do that work: by giving bi people a chance to be heard at the national level, by making sure they have a seat at the table, by being a forum for activists and rapid responders; by helping supply materials and speakers; by networking with other organizations; by maintaining and updating our websites and online forums; by creating task forces as need be (literally); by being a touchstone, centralized clearinghouse and point of contact for media and the larger national community; and by guiding individuals to find local resources that can help them if they are struggling to fit their bi feelings into their lives and be accepted for "being" bi or having bi feelings — and to try to create local support if none exists in their geographic areas.

    All that said, can I be as much a dynamo as our immediate past president, Wendy Curry? No of course not: It turns out there are actually five Wendy Currys — how else to explain all that she accomplished and all the energy she expended? (And did we ever adequately thank her? No, but here’s a start! THANK YOU WENDY!!!! More on her work in future essays.) Can I be as much a dynamo as past president Denise Penn? Of course not; she’s one of those forces of nature (in a good way!). Can I live up to the pace, expertise and accomplishments of her predecessors? Hardly; they kept BiNet USA going through thick and thin and stayed true to the causes of civil rights, fairness and ending prejudices (and throwing great parties!). And can I live up to my role models: the bi activists out there who have carried the day without having a title of any sort other than their names? I blush at even contemplating such a presumption. No, I'm none of those — but collectively we all are.

    So send us some money right now ($10 or more from each person on our Yahoo Groups, Facebook Group, Myspace Page can help us maintain our websites, phone and postal box; click on the PayPal Icon or send a check to our PO Box; $5? $1? SURE!!!); volunteer to help as a speaker, board member, regional rep, graphic artist, computer programmer, content provider, web aide, blogger, researcher, fundraiser or other; and for gosh sake, stay active and get involved at the local or state level as a visible bi person (or whatever moniker you prefer). Be the change. Be proud and out. Practice visi-BI-lity. ( . . . oh, again with the puns . . . )

    Thanks for reading this; next time I'll try to be less windy!

    [BiNet USA] BiNet USA Elects 2009-2010 Board and Officers at Annual Meeting







    Media Advisory

    Date: 05/18/2009 3:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time
    Contact: press@binetusa.org 1-800-585-9368


    At their annual meeting, BiNet USA's Board of Directors recently elected new officers and appointed a new member to the board:

    President (president(at)binetusa(dot)org): Gary North (CA) -- journalist and instructor; longtime activist: co-founder BiNet USA; founder Long Beach (CA) bisexual support group; founder 'Bisexuality: News, Views, and Networking' the first (1988) national bisexual newsletter; occasional blogger.

    Vice President (vp(at)binetusa(dot)org): Luigi Ferrer (FL) -- marine biologist and environmentalist; current Executive Director of Pridelines Youth Services; longtime activist: co-founder and former president BiNet USA; member Bi Resource Center (BRC); previously executive director of the Bisexual Foundation, Body Positive Resource Center and Contract Manager Massachusetts Department of Public Health HIV/AIDS bureau.

    Secretary/Treasurer (secretary(at)binetusa(dot)org): Margaret Rood (Metro-DC) -- longtime activist: founder and organizer of DC Bi and Lesbian Married Women's support group; former secretary/treasurer of Bi Network DC; former regional organizer for BiNet USA.

    Board Member (boardmem1(at)binetusa(dot)org): Estraven (NY) -- therapist with specialization in LGBT issues; longtime activist: BiNet USA Liaison to the Genderqueer/Transgender Community; founder and facilitator of Westchester (NY) Bisexual Discussion Group.

    Now approaching its 20th year of existence, BiNet USA is America's Civil-rights and advocacy organization for all bisexual, pansexual, fluid and all the rest of us "somewhere in between" people as well as their lesbian, gay, transgender, "straight but not narrow" and questioning friends and allies, BiNet USA facilitates the development of a cohesive network of independent bisexual/pansexual, fluid and friendly communities; promotes bisexual, fluid, pansexual and inclusive visibility; and collects and distribute educational information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity with an emphasis on the bisexual/pansexual, fluid and allied communities.

    For more information, please visit us on the Web at:

    www.binetusa.org
    binetusa.blogspot.com
    www.myspace.com/binetusa
    www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44503625428

    and for press inquiries, please call 1-800-585-9368 or email press@binetusa.org

    Tags: Bisexual Community, BiNet USA, Board of Directors, Gary North, Luigi Ferrer, Margaret Rood, Estraven

    # # #

    Sunday, May 17, 2009

    Call to support Budapest Pride

    Today, May 17th, is the International Day Against Homophobia. This was chosen as the day of the event because this is the day that homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1992. Today also follows on the heels of hearing about the protestors arrested in Moscow for trying to bring attention to the plight of LGBT people in Russia. Irina Fedotova, a 30-year-old public relations consultant, who has been beaten up twice by extremists, says "It's very difficult to be openly gay in Moscow." "It causes problems with your family, at work, and in the community. You can be beaten up on the street, on public transport or when you leave a nightclub."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR1j49qfV2Y

    Homophobia runs deep in Russia and the former Soviet Union, and the organizers of Budapest Pride, the Rainbow Mission Foundation, have asked for our help.

    Their Website is:

    http://www.budapestpride.hu

    Take solidarity with the 14th Budapest Pride! In the past two years the gay festival and pride march suffered atrocities. The organizers are asking for your help. How can you express your solidarity?

    Come visit Budapest! Let us be a huge crowd! Express your solidarity in person! We warmly welcome everyone at the 14th Budapest Gay Festival (a film and cultural festival) from 5 to 12 July, and especially at the Gay Pride March from 3 pm on 11th, Saturday.

    Send us a video message! Make a few seconds long video message with camera, skype, etc., which contains the phrase ‘Budapest Pride’ and says that you will be there in person or support us in spirit. We are making a similar spot with Hungarian participants; you can join this project with your video message.

    Support Budapest LGBT Festival! As we haven’t found enough sponsors, the sustainability of the festival has become endangered. We need a minimum of 10 000 Euros to organize our festival. If there are 500 people to offer 20 Euros each, we will be able to stage the festival. We are happy to receive donations of any size. Donations are easy to send through the PayPal system on our website:

    http://www.budapestpride.hu/00.html

    Saturday, May 02, 2009

    From the sublime to the ridiculous

    There is a beautiful bisexual video on YouTube:



    On the other hand, regular readers of this blog will know that there are also very sad and misguided people who have turned society's homophobia and biphobia inward against themselves and also against members of their own LGBT Community.

    For example we are currently dealing with just such a troubled soul who alternately calls himself Tim or euroboy11 and puts out things with the misleading titles like "Save Our Community", "LGQT Pride", "Honor Our Pride" and so forth. But behind these names lurks an unhappy person who takes delight in harassing and bullying bisexual people. He has been doing this on various venues including YouTube for several months now.

    Some of what he he says is very disturbing "hate speech", so the bisexual community and their friends worked together to get his account suspended so he could not use it to harrass people, but he has come back with new accounts saying the same terrible things time and time again.

    He recently put up his own anti-bisexual hate video, amusingly enough crudely aping some of the style and wording of of the right-wing anti-LGBT Hate Group National Organization for Marriage's much spoofed spot "Gathering Storm", -- proving I suppose that in the end, a bigot is a bigot is a bigot --- which the alert bisexual crew on YouTube and the members of BiNet USA quickly spotted and got suspended about 15 minutes later.

    However, he has simply moved it to his old Web site, (putting the lie to his boasts that he has some "super-secret" new Web site . . . yes he does go in for the paranoid and over dramatic). So please click here for: The Web form to fill out to get that shut down too.

    And remember, PLEASE DON'T FEED THE TROLL!!! He feeds on negative attention. There is no sense in arguing with him. Just report him, block him, thumbs down and mark his comments as spam.