Thursday, May 22, 2014

Guest Blog: Why Kyle Schickner supports Crystal Bowersox (and thinks you should too)

Bisexual Activist + Filmmaker Kyle Schickner
As anyone who has spent 5 minutes in my company knows, I am the first (and most annoying?) person to rail on and on about supporting Bisexual artists in order to create a Bi Culture that has been missing for the past two decades, so the whole Crystal Bowersox/Michfest dustup is adding some shades of grey to my black & white stance about sticking by Bis.  

On the one hand I actually think it's kind of a big deal for the festival to be embracing such an out and vocal woman who identifies as Bi and not a lesbian, so the progress there is encouraging. 

That being said, I cannot agree with Crystal's decision to still play. 

This is the perfect chance for a stance to be made not only for Trans Folk, but also for Bisexual Women. There is an easy connection to be made regarding the historical open hostility towards Bi women at this festival in the past to what is going on now with the festival banning Trans women (and make no mistake, it's a "ban" despite the festival organizers claiming they are simply "requesting that they not attend").  

It would have been amazing for Crystal to take a stand saying that "just because the festival has "seen the light" when it comes to Bi Woman and excepting her, they obviously still have a long way to go in terms of evolving and she would be uncomfortable performing at a Festival that is openly Transphobic. One day when they allow ALL women to attended she'd love to perform". But she didn't.

My Own Private Michigan HELL by Alison Bechdel 1993

On the other hand, this is a young woman who wasn't even born when the seeds of the Bi Movement were being sown by Lani [Ka'ahumanu], Loraine [Hutchins] and the rest, so to expect her to know the history of our movement and it's checkered past with this festival might be expecting a bit much from her.  We cannot expect every Bisexual person to be all things for all of us.  It's not realistic nor fair.  

However, what we can hope for are more people like Ms. Bowersox to be brave and outspoken and proud about being bisexual in a monosexual world. Let us not forget that she will be stepping up on that stage and there will no doubt be hundreds of closed minded women in the audience who will be openly hostile to someone who wears her Bisexuality so proudly. Crystal  being there does move our movement forward.  
Bisexual singer-songwriter Crystal Bowersox

So yeah, would I have liked her to have taken more of a stand?  Sure. Will I stop supporting her and not buy her music?  Never!

There are not enough of us out and proud in the spotlight and if we want more folks to come out as Bi we have to show them all that there is a safe, loving, supportive community waiting to embrace them with open arms and wallets.

Crystal Bowersox is brave and handling her coming out wonderfully so let's show her some love.  Hell, maybe I'll dress in drag and crash the festival with a "Bowersox this year! Janet Mock next year!"  Who's with me?

Kyle Schickner is an American film producer, writer, director, actor and a bisexual rights activist. He is the founder of FenceSitter Films, a Production company devoted to entertainment for women, and sexual and ethnic minorities. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, where he directs films, music videos, a web series and commercials for his production company FenceSitterFilms.

he first episode of Rose By Any Other Name, a webseries from the mind of  Kyle Schickner is below.