Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day -- Hug These Action Items!*

*... and an Activist!

Here's a wrap-up of what we accomplished at the first officially recognized Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Organizing Institute* at Creating Change in Dallas TX on February 4th 2010.

But first: Did you know that Bi Visi-BI-lity Day was originally on Valentine's Day before it was moved to Sept. 23? It's true! But EVERY DAY is Bi Visibility Day if you make it so.

BiNet USa President Gary North addresses the Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Institute at Creating Change in Dallas TX in Feb 2010That's why nearly 70 activists gathered the Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Organizing Institute, and over the course of the day, we discussed what the next steps should be in the movement. After much discussion to identify goals, we broke into four groups to pinpoint action items: Campus, Resources, People Of Color (POC), and "the big 3" -- BiNet USA, the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) and the American Institute on Bisexuality (AIB). Of course there are many other affinity groupings (Veterans, Elders, Health-care, Economics, etc.), but this was a start.

The idea is that these set (or re-set) in motion the bi/pan/fluid/queer/allied/people-who-like-other-people movement* for the coming year -- we'll be keeping in touch to check on each other's progress, and you can, too: as an activist or supporter. If you're not already on them some good places to start are the BiNet USA Yahoo Group/Email List, BiNet USA on Twitter as well as the BiNet USA Facebook Group.

A special thank you to our facilitators and speakers, especially Robyn Ochs (whose introduction to the group I so totally botched "from memory" without using my notes that I'm still mortified!); Amanda Morgan, Angel Fabian, Denise Penn, Ellyn Ruthstrom, Estraven, Faith Cheltenham, Luigi Ferrer, Matt Goodman and Mike Szymanski.

And an extra-special thanks to Matt and DFW BiNet for terrific hosting, and especially NGLTF leader Rea Carey, Creating Change leader Sue Hyde and all the others who made Creating Change so successful (be sure to take a look at the photos of our incredible Hospitality Suite, the Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Organizing Institute and our Dinner Out on our Facebook page!)

Sincerely,
Gary North
President, BiNet USA

* I semi-facetiously suggested that since "bi" is too binary and other folks prefer to rally around other monikers and/or don't like to have the word "sexual" in there, we call ourselves "PAFKABs": People Also Known As Bisexuals ... but I don't think it'll catch on ...

Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Organizing Institute at Creating Change 2010 in Dallas Texas
The Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Organizing Institute
at Creating Change in Dallas Texas USA
Thursday, February 4th 2010


Brainstorming Session Results:
What We’re Going to Organize Around Starting This Year With follow-up coordinating discussions June 2010 / September 2010 / December 2010 / March 2011

Overview
After Robyn Ochs gave same opening remarks to inspire and challenge the gathering, leaders of BiNet USA and the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC)put the movement into historical perspective and gave their own thoughts about where we are “at” and where they want it to go, as did and a non-bi-group-affiliated individual (the American Institute of Bisexuality (AIB) reps spoke later in the day).

This led into introductions of all attendees, followed by four breakout discussion groups (determined by simple count-off) to discuss what issues people wanted to organize around starting this year – which is the 20th anniversary year of BiNet USA and the 25th anniversary year of BRC. Once the groups reconvened as a meeting of the whole to present their findings, four themes emerged:

A. Education and Outreach (Reaffirmation)
B. Intersections of Equality
C. Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Infrastructure (Community Building)
D. Mentoring New Leaders

Then the gathering broke into four affinity groups to identify ways we will jointly, collectively and coordinately implement these goals. The four self-identifying groups were:

1.) Campus
2.) Resources
3.) People of Color (POC)
4.) The "Big 3": National Groups representing the interests of the Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Communities

Here are summaries of what each group subsequently pinpointed as goals/action items to work on throughout the next two years:

1.) CAMPUS/STUDENT/YOUTH (Youth Are Leaders)
  1. Education and Outreach – Reaffirmation
    1. Introducing bi programming early on in year
    2. colleges partnering
    3. discussions with ground rules
    4. “safe zone”/ally training that include bi
    5. discussions with other cultural/etc groups
  2. Intersections of Equality
    1. use of administration and other connections
    2. making an effort to support other groups, attend their events
    3. intra-/extra-/inter-campus community
    4. discussion with other cultural/etc groups
    5. invite bi individuals from outside campus
  3. Bi Infrastructure
    1. addressing bisexuals at the beginning of events/semesters
    2. if possible, umbrella organizations
    3. specifically design Big 3’s websites for youth/students
  4. Mentoring New Leaders – collaborative programming
    1. advertise in community at large and specifically high school students
    2. mentor existing leaders on bi/trans issues
    3. mentor bi activists on how to include students
    4. using our power as paying students to demand change and access to resources

2.) RESOURCES
  1. Education and Outreach – Reaffirmation
    1. viral video campaign for empowerment
    2. resource kit (DVD, pamphlets, 20-item checklist
    3. posting your story as a bisexual, fluid, pansexual or queer-identified person on a site
  2. Intersections of Equality
    1. providing a space for all bisexual, fluid, pansexual and queer-identified people in general as well as spaces for POC, student, etc. who identify as bisexual, fluid, pansexual and queer-identified
    2. providing resources for all parts of the community (POC, elders, students . . . )
  3. Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Infrastructure
    1. start locally, let yourself be a resource
    2. reach back to rural areas to help them get to where more progressive cities are
    3. DFWI pamphlets to get ideas for starting organizations for bisexual, fluid, pansexual and queer-identified people
  4. Mentoring New Leaders
    1. committing to offering yourself as a mentor
    2. maintain your own resource list (friendly/inclusive people/business), and provide it to the overall community
3.) PEOPLE OF COLOR (POC)
  1. Education and Outreach – Reaffirmation
    1. Within communities of color ------ \
      1. intersections
    2. Within LGBT communities -----------/
  2. bisexual, fluid, pansexual and queer-identified community about poc issues
    1. Inclusive identity
    2. Diversity of expression
    3. Checking assumptions
    4. Deconstruct notion of masculine & feminine
    5. Innate within community
    6. Ask how I express it and/both
    7. Interactive web reaching GL comm[unity] from place of strength
    8. No translatable word/phrase and be OK with that
    9. Churches – communities of faith
    10. TV/radio personalities
    11. Racial/ethnic/low income community – gatekeepers
    12. Personal visibility
    13. Early in life – all, high school, growth groups, other schools
    14. Social justice orgs
    15. Create spaces
  3. Intersections of Equality
    1. Both/and – racial equality and ___
    2. Inseparable ID
    3. Unrelenting on non-separation
    4. Being an ally:
      1. allowing people to speak for selves
      2. one on one
      3. checking in
    5. Diaspora/globalization
    6. Not ignoring parts of ID
    7. Intersections of oppression
    8. Celebrating ID
    9. Power analysis
    10. Lifting people up
    11. Recognizing privilege and being accountable
  4. Bisexual, fluid, pansexual and queer-identified Infrastructure (community building)
    1. Bring Prides Together (Latino, African American, etc.)
    2. How can we ally each other
    3. Exposure & promotion
  5. Support groups
      1. Discreetness, location, wording
      2. Separate form the L&G
      3. Explore shame & stigma imposted by culture
    1. Showing up for one another
    2. Positive, pleasurable bi health/sex ed – free available contraceptive for all
  6. Mentoring New Leaders
    1. Peer to peer
    2. Embrace new ideas
    3. ID previous leaders needing to pass torch
    4. Visibility in numbers
    5. Anyone can be a mentor
    6. Mentorship program well-rounded
    7. Leaders – outreach and change; inclusiveness of opinions
    8. Further development of diversity curriculum (being specific and deliberate)
    9. Exchange programs
    10. Campus – face-to-face
    11. Community centers, high schools, etc.
    12. Accountable for each other to teach
4.) The "Big 3": National Groups representing the interests of the Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual and Queer-identified Communities Continue to offer and grow/enhance their services to the above three groups:
  1. Research: the American Institute of Bisexuality (AIB)
  2. Organizing/Coordinating: BiNet USA
  3. Resources: the Bisexual Resources Center (BRC)