Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Note On Civility in Bi+ and Bisexual Online Spaces aka it's OK to be nice


Photo caption: Image that says Be Kind for Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle

- A NOTE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF BINET USA - 


Recently while attending an LGBT caucus at Netroots Nation, a young bi Latina asked her fellow attendees to be more thoughtful about their use of language.

She tearfully explained that as an undocumented queer woman, she didn't have the same opportunity for education on ways to frame oppression that others had. Yet she said she had a valid experience and was ready contribute if given the chance to, but some of the "big words" being used made it harder for her to follow the conversation.

I was struck by her bravery and was impressed that I wasn't the only one in the caucus ready to acknowledge education privilege, whether it be access to broadband internet, LGBT studies coursework in college or just the luxury of time to read and discuss new concepts surrounding the complexities of identity.

In that same vein, I think it is *critical* that people in our BiNet USA Facebook group (and larger community) understand our group to be a public, safe space for all people who are bi, pan, fluid, queer, multisexual, non monosexual, omnisexual, polysexual, or any of the 30+ personal identity labels that have come into existence within the bisexual movement over the last 50 years of our organizing.

As such, our group and other social spaces will frequently include questions from people about labels and identity development. Please be remember to NOT "bite the newcomers" and avoid "identity policing" even while you hold firm in defense of fluidity and the bisexual orientation, label, and community. Please also be aware that our group and other BiNet USA spaces are a safe space to be bisexual, so using that word here to describe oneself and/or OUR community is acceptable and encouraged.

If we have folks that consistently have issues treating their fellow members with civil discourse and/or attack mods, they will be removed and banned permanently. Generally, you will find mods will give the benefit of the doubt to posts that might seem problematic at the start. We do this because we have a deep desire to see everyone ‪#‎makeittotomorrow‬.

That said we have a zero tolerance for harsh statements and angry accusations (that's what our binetusa@binetusa.org email address is for). Kidding! Not really!

For further safety and support for our members, we've also turned on the feature that allows our group to have moderated posts! This feature was previously unavailable to us and is a welcome addition from Facebook.

If you have questions or concerns, please private message (PM) moderators of our group like myself Faith Cheltenham (President of BiNet USA), Aud Traher (Vice President of BiNet USA), Lynnette MFadzen (Secretary of BiNet USA), Gary B. North (Treasurer of BiNet USA) or Cynthia Connors (revered bisexual elder who you might have seen in historical photos organizing alongside bi icon Brenda Howard in decades past). We have other admins as well, each of them unpaid volunteers for a non-profit organization celebrating 25 years of advocating for bisexual communities.

Every ‪#‎bivisibilityday‬ and #‎biweek‬ we end up with new members who may be unfamiliar with our community, it's history and it's longstanding tradition of being HOME to intersectional dialogues that give us LIFE.

In 1991, Black bisexual theorist and poet June Jordan called the bisexual movement a "mandate for revolutionary Americans planning to make it into the twenty-first century on the basis of the heart, on the basis of an honest human body, consecrated to every struggle for justice, every struggle for equality, every struggle for freedom".

And in 2013, Jewish trans icon and genderqueer author and scholar Kate Bornstein wrote, "Bisexual movements don’t get enough credit for breaking the either/or of sexual orientation. And they did it long before gender scholars, activists, and radicals came on the scene."

We strive to represent a collective legacy online, one that uplifts our shared experiences while amplifying the need for services and support for a community too often left behind by straight and gay alike.

Thank you for your continued contributions to our Facebook group and any opportunities you find to validate each other there!

Sincerely,
Faith Cheltenham, BiNet USA President

SUGGESTED FURTHER READING

Not sure about the lingo on the internet? Here's a translate tool!
http://www.lingo2word.com/




Don't know much about gender identity and want to know more about how you can support your bi+ trans and sisters, brothers and nonbinary siblings? Check out these awesome infographics!

Interested in educating yourself on how deeply bisexual erasure has impacted the vast majority of LGBT Studies coursework?
https://fliponymous.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/bisexual-identity-development-or-youre-out-of-your-box/

How about some levity?
http://www.bisexualweek.com/memes/