Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Coming Out is a Fad. Coming Into Is All the Rage!

As a Hispanic person, I sometimes don't understand "Coming Out". I mean people never come out as a people of color and I, for one, have never come out as a Hispanic.

Comedienne Wanda Sykes jokes in her latest stand-up act, "It’s harder being gay than being black. There’s some things that I had to do as gay that I didn’t have to do as black. I didn’t have to come out black. I didn’t have to sit my parents down and tell them about my blackness. 'Mom, dad I have to tell ya’ll something . . . I hope you still love me. Mom ... dad ... I’m black.'"

Mr. Aaron Florence, a writer and speaker and an architect of the Bisexual Men's Alliance of DC (BIMA DC). Now don't get the wrong idea, I'm NOT denying the good that's apparent in "Coming Out", like moving from non-acceptance to self-acceptance, being honest with yourself and others, being visible instead of invisible, or experiencing freedom that comes from being "Out".

I just don't understand the other part of "Coming Out". The part that involves continuously telling everyone, "I'm gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, trans, asexual . . ." The part that involves telling and then being assigned a letter of the alphabet. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if the only reason why "Coming Out" exists is because culture segregated people into genophobic closets. (I'm using the term "genophobia" here to not only include the fear of sexual intercourse, but also of sex and of sexuality, in general).

In the recent past, I've met others who do not understand "Coming Out", as well. It's not that they are ashamed of who they are, that they live in culturally imposed closets, or that they're not living in tune with their sexuality. Rather, shockingly, they don't believe there's a need to "Come Out" with a bold confession of their sexual identity anymore and I can relate. "Coming Out" is a fad. Where we once needed people to "Come Out", maybe a day is quickly approaching when future generations won't even know what "Coming Out" means anymore.

Heterosexuals do not come out as Straight. As the cultural mainstream, Heterosexuals are free to "Come Into" their sexuality just like people of race are free to "Come Into" their racial and ethnic identities.

Sometimes people of race have to deny that they are not of one race or another. I often have to refute that I am not Indian, Persian, Middle Eastern, etc. It would be absurd to say that by admitting I'm actually Mexican that I've "Come Out", since I've never had an experience where I've had to hide my Hispanic'ness.

I doubt most of us are any good at hiding what's apparent anyways. In fact, hang around me long enough and the essence of my racial identity is apparent - true also with my sexuality. I have "Come Into" both quite honestly, quite naturally.

"Coming Into" sexual identity seems more genuine to the human experience than "Coming Out".

I've said once that being brown is not defined by the way I speak, the food I eat or the music I choose to listen to. Being brown, by its very nature, cannot be identified solely by the mind and is continual, spiritual and beyond the restrictions of any classification. Likewise, being straight, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, or whatever sexual identity we subscribe to is not defined by how we speak, or what we choose to wear, or who we socialize with.

It is in essence – intangible and constant, ethereal and beyond the boundaries of human stereotyping.
Aaron Florence is a writer and speaker (his day job is in Geekery and Organizational Development). He has been a Speaker and Keynoter at various colleges, universities, and conferences throughout the US playing the role of provocateur. He enjoys flirting with the topics of religion/spirituality, culture, marriage and sexuality, amongst other things. He lives in the Washington, DC area and is an architect of the Bisexual Men's Alliance of DC (BIMA DC). We Were There - Bisexual Men's Alliance of DC (BIMA DC) and other bisexual/pansexual Groups: National Equality March Washington DC October 11th 2009About BIMA DC, he says, "I believe in the power of fringe communities. How much closer to the edge can one get than Bisexuals? It's this group that will push our understanding of sexuality and relationships in the 21st Century."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Letter From Out Bisexual Director Kyle Schickner of FenceSitter Films about new Web TV Series 'Rose By Any Other Name . . .'

Hi Cool bi-folk and bi-folk supporters,

Just wanted to let those who don't know about it (and a nudge to those who do) to check out and support the very first bisexual themed web series (or any series for that matter) "Rose By Any Other Name..." a romantic comedy about a lesbian who falls in love with a man and then they must deal with the fallout (Spoiler Alert: turns out, she's bisexual after all!)

Initially LOGO, the LGBT-themed TV Channel that is already broadcasting FenceSitter Film's Strange Fruit on it's rotation, was interested in having it be a weekly series but at the 11th hour they got cold feet and back out, worried that the show would "offend their lesbian viewers". They did not seem to understand how many bisexual, fluid, pansexual and bi-supportive viewers they stood to attract. They said they really loved the concept and that they'd love to reassess the show if we went and shot a couple of episodes, to see if the lesbian characters are dealt with respectfully.

So we decided to turn the show into a web series (what with bisexual community being so web-savvy), and with help from American Institute of Bisexuality the first episode debuted October 11th 2009 (National Coming Out Day). . . If we can show LOGO (and even a few other bigger networks) that the show is drawing a large web audience they will have to consider putting the show on the air. I of course do not need to illustrate how HUGE having a show deal openly and honestly with bisexuality would be.

So please, become a fan of the show on Facebook and do whatever you feel you can to get the word out. Early buzz is key.

Here is the link to the first episode:


Each Sunday at 6PM (Hollywood Time of course) a new episode will come out. Please feel free to spread the word, rate the clip and make a comment (all these things LOGO will be looking at).

Thank you all for your support of not only FenceSitter Films but for all things bisexual!

Yours,
Kyle Schickner
FenceSitter Films

Friday, October 09, 2009

[National Equality March]: Young Bisexual-Queer Identified LGBT Activist Fights for Homeless LGBT Youth

Ms. Chloe Noble who describes herself as a Bisexual Queer American, a Human Rights activists as well as an outspoken campaigner for Homeless LGBT Youth was one of the speakers this Sunday at the National Equality March on behalf of both the Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual & Queer-identified Community(s) as well as on behalf of Queer Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


MEDIA CONTACT:
Chloe Michelle Noble
Mobile: 801.708.9515
Email: noble(dot)echo(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @chloenoble
Website: www.pridewalk2009.org


HOMELESS YOUTH PRIDE WALK 2009 AND OPERATION SHINE
IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NATIONAL EQUALITY MARCH
WASHINGTON DC


Two activists, Chloe Michelle Noble and Jill Hardman are walking across the United States to raise national awareness for the LGTBQI homeless youth epidemic in AmericaTwo activists, Chloe Michelle Noble and Jill Hardman are walking across the United States to raise national awareness for the LGTBQI homeless youth epidemic in America. Chloe, 27, is a radically outspoken campaigner for homeless youth rights and identifies as Bisexual Queer. Jill, 29, is a human rights activist and identifies as Queer.

The walk, which began in Seattle, will cover 6,000 miles, (3000 of it on foot). They will be living out of their backpacks for most of their journey, which will give them a unique opportunity to film homeless youth all over the United States. "We are living out of our backpacks," says Noble. "But we are not using any resources for homeless youth. We are choosing to live within homeless youth communities temporarily, so that we can document this epidemic and raise awareness within each state."

When walking, the two walkers will be on foot six to nine hours a day, or 10 to 15 miles completed with 35-pound backpacks. They estimate Homeless Youth Pride Walk 2009 to take almost nine months to complete.

Almost 40% of homeless youth in America identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Queer, or Intersex. A reason why LGBTQI Civil Rights are inseparable from the epidemic of homeless youth in America, says Noble, is because Queer youth make up almost a third of their population. "This diverse group of Queer youth has a profound and powerful voice," says Noble. "We want to support them in their progress and give them a platform to stand on. Studies show that many LGBTQI homeless youth who receive appropriate guidance, support, and resources, eventually become successful members of the community. By raising awareness we hope to inspire others to make sure more resources are available to all homeless youth for this reason."

Operation Shine 2009 was created so that inspired citizens could participate in Homeless Youth Pride Walk, without having to leave their city. "Numerous people ask us if they can walk with us across the country." says Noble, "But we can not provide them with adequate resources or protection. So we are incorporating the passion of these activists with their local communities in creating city-wide "Shines", that empower the communities we walk through. Operation Shine is also an opportunity for the American community to stand with the homeless LGBTQI youth and all homeless youth, who are suffering a very intense and morally appalling form of nationwide discrimination."

The San Francisco Shine was held at the Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro, on July 10 2009, and was hosted by Larkin Street Youth Services.Operation Shine will take place in some of the cities they walk through. Operation Shine Seattle was held on May 22, and was hosted by YouthCare. The LGBTQI youth in Portland were so moved by PrideWalk that they organized a "Shine" within 24 hours! Operation Shine Portland was held on June 6 at SMYRC, co-hosted by OutSideIn. The San Francisco Shine was held at the Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro, on July 10, and was hosted by Larkin Street Youth Services. And the Salt Lake City Shine, which drew in a couple hundred participants, was held on July 25, hosted by the Utah Pride Center.

The message that these women want to present to Washington DC is one of hope and empowerment. "We are asking Washington DC to participate in Operation Shine, because it is a reflection of the love and passion that already exists in your communities. This is an opportunity to shine a light on youth homelessness. Homeless youth deserve to be seen and heard," says Hardman, "We are also shining a light on the hard working organizations that are doing whatever they can to make a positive impact in the lives of these youth." Operation Shine DC is hosted by Sasha Bruce Youthwork; other organizations participating include the Wanda Alston House, Justice for DC youth, SMYAL, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Covenant House Washington, and the National Network For Youth.

"This is an opportunity to experience the power that the American community has when we unify toward a common cause; and to say to our nation, no longer will we stand by and watch as our youth are driven into the streets to live in unbearable conditions, simply because they are unwanted or Queer," says Noble. "These youth have proven that when supported and loved, they rise from their adversity, overcoming seemingly impossible circumstances; and despite all that has happened to them, they often become the very leaders within the community that once told them they were of no worth."

When one of us is assaulted or dehumanized, all of us are assaulted or dehumanized, says Noble. When a portion of our society lacks the compassion and integrity to allow all citizens even their most basic human rights, the impact is intensely polarizing ad inhumane. This is why the battle is dividing our country in two. According to statistics, LGBTQI youth who are kicked out of their homes go on to be homeless where they are more at risk than their heterosexual peers for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, chemical or alcohol dependency, discrimination and death. "There is a movement happening in America, and we're calling it Operation Shine," says Noble. "Now is the time for us to stand with those who would bring families together, not tear them apart. Now is the time for us to feel the impact that senseless discrimination is having on children all over this country."

The two walkers will arrive in Washington DC around October 3rd. The Washington DC Shine is scheduled for October 9, where participants will meet at the Sasha Bruce House for a meet and greet luncheon from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. Leaders of the DC community will then speak at the DC Shine at 1:00 pm. Participants will be given time and materials to make rally signs and banners, then everyone will march to the US Capitol at 2:00 pm.

People who support Homeless Youth Pride Walk 2009 can "virtually walk with them" by following their website. Supporters can get updates on this website, which includes includes interactive media tools, such as Google Maps, Twitter, YouTube, and Kyte TV. After Noble and Hardman return home from their walk, all of the footage from PrideWalk2009 and Operation Shine will be posted on the website; which will be loaded with videos, photos, and posts collected on their journey.

Here is our schedule in Washington Dc which will coincide with the National Equality March:
OCT. 9, 2009 - OPERATION SHINE WASHINGTON DC
www.pridewalk2009.org

OCT. 10, 2009 - IMPACT: Queer and Allied Youth Raise Their Voices! www.nemimpact.org

OCT. 10 - 11, 2009 - NATIONAL EQUALITY MARCH www.equalityacrossamerica.org

####

A LETTER FROM CHLOE NOBLE TO THE AMERICAN COMMUNITY

My name is Chloe Noble. I am proud to be a Human Rights activists and Bisexual Queer American. I am also a former homeless Queer youth.My name is Chloe Noble. I am proud to be a Human Rights activists and Bisexual Queer American. I am also a former homeless Queer youth. This is my story . . . . .

We are walking simply because we believe that our youth should not have to live on the streets, wondering how they are going to get their own needs met.

Many American citizens are not aware that there are sometimes as many as 1.6 million homeless youth in America. These youth often brave the elements huddling for safety under bridges, in abandoned buildings and make- shift camps, that are eventually raided by law enforcement without warning. Some states, such as Utah, don't even have a shelter for homeless youth. There are few safe places for homeless youth to develop roots of their own and receive the support they need to reach their full potential. The organizations and shelters that are able to support these youth are often in need of adequate resources, funding, and legislation.

It is a privilege to live in a safe and warm home surrounded by a family who loves and respects you - a privilege that is taken (sometimes with force) from the homeless youth that grace the streets of our nation. For almost 600,000 of these homeless youth, this privilege is stripped from them because they identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The Social Justice Movement is inseparable from the epidemic of homeless youth in America, where LGBTQ homeless youth make up over a third of the homeless youth population.

These LGBTQ youth go on to be homeless, where they are more at risk than their heterosexual peers, for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, chemical or alcohol dependency, discrimination and death. Do you know *13 youth die each day from homelessness? (Statements Journal, 17 August 2008)*

There is a movement happening in America and although it is quiet . . . . . . it runs very deep. We have witnessed first hand the suffering of these children and we say - enough. Now is the time for us to stand with those who would bring families together, not tear them apart. Now is the time for us to feel the impact that senseless discrimination is having on children all over this country. Now is the time to understand that this impact directly affects all LGBTQ people. When one of us is assaulted or dehumanized, all of us are assaulted or dehumanized. When a portion of our society lacks the compassion and integrity to not allow all citizens even their most basic human rights - the impact is intensely polarizing and inhumane. This is why this battle is literally dividing our country in two and driving beautiful children into the streets to live as animals.

We have been sorely disappointed in some of those who dare to call themselves defenders of family values. What is the value of allowing children to live homeless on their own without any real means of growth or stability? What is the value in withholding freedom from others? There is no peaceful reason to invest in these harmful ideologies. There is no peaceful reason to abandon a child.

We have great faith in what we are doing, because we have been deeply moved by the courage and strength of homeless youth. We have seen them make the transition into adulthood under sometimes unbearable circumstances. With appropriate guidance and support we have also seen them become leaders in our community. Although very few in our hometown (Salt Lake City), because resources for homeless youth are scarce.

We have great faith in what we are doing. Because we have been deeply moved by the patience, tenacity, and creativity of those who serve homeless youth - even with inadequate resources.

I want the hardworking and heartfelt members of our national community and community organizations, to start getting the adequate resources, funding, legislation, and support they need to resolve these issues. Our society in general and our systems of care have a duty to serve these youth and to make sure they are protected inside and outside of the home.

The bottom line - these youth need assistance NOW and they need it without exception.

While we are enjoying our service work here and excited to band together in our passion to end homelessness, we understand the grave danger and profound suffering that these youth face everyday. We realize, this underground society of children are not often seen or understood by those outside of it.

Our joy comes in serving them and helping to aid them in their recovery. We are also preparing ourselves, and the readers who are following our website, for the hardship they will see once we begin to document the lives of these children.

What we have seen and experienced has appalled and astonished us. We have been moved to tears and sometimes even rolling with laughter. We have grown to love this unseen nation of youth and long to reach out to them in every way we can.

They are the children of the Urban Jungle. And we are ready to help them tell their stories of personal defeat and of triumph. Collectively, their story is one of great courage and surprising wisdom. They have much to teach us. We are ready now to hear them, to see them, and if they so choose......to help them any way we can.

There is a movement happening in our nation, a crying out for justice that will not relinquish its hold . . . . . . and we are calling it OPERATION SHINE AMERICA. PrideWalk 2009 and OPERATION SHINE were created to raise awareness of the Queer homeless youth epidemic in America.

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams

"Burn Brightly without burning out." - Richard Biggs
"All you need is the thing you've forgotten, and that's to learn to live with what you are." Ben Folds
"Our youth are not failing the system; the system is failing our youth. Ironically, the very youth who are being treated the worst are the young people who are going to lead us out of this nightmare." - Rachel Jackson

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

[National Equality March]: Where To Meet At The March

For everyone who is planning to march with the Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual & Queer-identified Contingent at the National Equality March here is the info on where we are all assembling prior to lining up to march:

When: Sunday October 11th 2009 at 10:30 AM -- we will leave from there for the march at 11:00 AM
Where: Caribou Coffee -- 1101 17th Street NW, Washington DC USA 20036      202.223.6828
Nearest Metro: Farragut North on the Red Line at 17th and L Streets NW
Bisexual/Pansexual people Meet at Caribou Coffee1101 17th Street NW, Washington DC USA 20036 at 10:30 AM leave for march at 11 AM


Also PLEASE CHECK HERE for more on All The Great Events by and for Bisexual/Fluid/Pansexual people and our friends, families and allies that will be going on around Washington DC during the National Equality March weekend.

Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual & Queer-identified Contingent at the National Equality March Washington DC October 10th and 11th 2009

And for general National Equality March info please check these sites:

o Main Website
o Blog
o Facebook Page
o Youtube
o Twitter

o March Route & Other Maps/Directions
o Schedule of Events

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Out Bisexual Amy Andre to Head San Francisco Pride

PRESS STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
October 6, 2009


Amy Andre to Head San Francisco Pride
The Pride Committee Announces New Executive Director

San Francisco, CA – 6 October 2009 – The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee announced today that Amy Andre will be the next person to head the organization as its executive director. The announcement concludes a national search that began in March of this year.

Out POC Bisexual Amy Andre to Head San Francisco Pride: October 6th 2009

Andre takes the position following the departure of the organization's previous Executive Director Lindsey Jones who stepped down in July. The organization has been under the leadership of Interim Executive Director Joshua Smith who left the board of directors to assist Pride in the transition of its top staff position.

Board President Mikayla Connell stated,
"We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Amy Andre to the Pride team with her wealth of talent, experience, and history of activism as we continue planning and preparing for the fortieth anniversary San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade in June of 2010. In the capable hands of Amy Andre and our Board of Directors, San Francisco Pride will continue to build on the momentum that this organization has achieved with the dedicated support of our members, volunteers, and community over the past decade."
Interim Executive Director Joshua Smith stated, “Amy brings together a unique mix of skills, which builds upon our past while preparing us for a bright future.”

Along with an MBA, focusing on nonprofit management, from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a master’s degree in sexuality studies, focusing on LGBT community issues, from San Francisco State University, Amy Andre has over a decade of experience working in various capacities with local and national LGBT nonprofit organizations.

As a Point Foundation Scholar, Andre earned her MBA this past Spring. Prior to that, she worked at Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, criss-crossing the nation to educate thousands of employees and executives at Fortune500 companies such as Wal-mart, Hyatt, and Motorola about LGBT rights. Before coming to Out & Equal, she served as Vice President of the Board at Open Enterprises, a cooperative where she worked for almost seven years.

Bisexual Health: An Introduction and Model Practices for HIV/ STI PreventionThe co-author of "Bisexual Health: An Introduction and Model Practices for HIV/ STI Prevention", a book published by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, BiNet USA and the Fenway Institute. Andre has articles in Curve Magazine, Alternet.org and The Bilerico Project, among dozens of other publications. A film aficionada, she is also the director of the internationally-screened documentary On My Skin/En Mi Piel, about a mixed-race transgender man and his family, and volunteers annually to curate the Bi Request program at Frameline’s San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.

A lifelong Bisexual and LGBT activist originally from the East Coast, Andre has lived in San Francisco since 1997. She currently resides in the Castro with her fiancée, filmmaker Kami Chisholm, PhD.

Regarding her selection, Andre commented,
I’m honored and delighted by this opportunity to be a part of Pride. Celebrating ourselves is one of the most important, courageous, affirming, and, yes, even political, things we as an LGBT community can do. This year’s theme is Forty and Fabulous. But, of course, Pride has always been fabulous, and we’ve got even more wonderful things in store! I’m really looking forward to working with the incredible staff and Board.
Andre will begin her position as the new Executive Director on October 15

###

The San Francisco Pride Celebration Committee is a non-profit membership organization founded to produce the San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade. SF Pride is dedicated to education, to the commemoration of LGBT heritage and to the celebration of LGBT culture and liberation.

A world leader in the Pride movement, SF Pride is also a grant-giving organization through its Community Partners Program. Since 1997, SF Pride has granted over $1.6 million dollars from proceeds of the Pride Celebration and Parade to local non-profit LGBT organizations and those organizations serving the HIV/AIDS and breast cancer communities.

2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade. The theme is "Forty and Fabulous" and the event will be held over the weekend of June 26 and 27, 2010. With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than a dozen community-run stages and venues, the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation. The two-day celebration is free and open to all.