Friday, January 08, 2016

Year's End for the bisexual activist looks like --

Year's End for the bisexual activist looks like --
by Faith Cheltenham, BiNet USA President, 12/31/15

1) Every LGBT newspaper and magazine will sum up the year for the lesbian, gay and transgender community, because bisexuals only exist for one week in September and even that will be forgotten = BIPHOBIA

2)The White House will look back and relish the day gay and lesbian couples won the right to marry, making it clear once more that if you're in a bisexual couple, your rights matter less or not at all (which might be why so many bi folks lose custody of their children to their different sex OR same sex partner) = BIPHOBIA

3) As we remember the suicides that sparked compassion from this year, bi+ teens won't be remembered because there is little to no compassion for them. Their lives and deaths go unspoken, unremembered and unrecalled by gay and straight alike = BIPHOBIA


After a "minor crisis of Faith" this year, I came to terms with my love for working with bi, pan, fluid, queer (bi+) communities. I took a long hard look at whether I want to be doing this work and happily agreed that I did. Ending 2015 with $34k in grants for Binet USA projects certainly helped indicate the tide is beginning to turn for bi people, and I'm ready to keep going for more!

I have, and continue to, make life+ work+balance changes, in particular changing how much I work (no more 19hr days) and who I work with most often and most closely. I remain super committed to having a lot of laughs while working (with Heather Benjamin especially, that girl can make ya laugh).

I am very grateful for the elders I have in my circle, for without them it truly would feel that the mountain I am walking had no beginning or end.

I will always work on multiple fronts for justice as a Black bi queer woman and will work to amplify communities that intersect my own. In the coming year I'd like to see launched a collective space for bi, intersex, trans and asexual communities (BITA? BAIT?) as we continue to see our communities forgotten in the long march for equality. {SIDE NOTE}
Sara Beth Brooks (Asexual Awareness Week co-founder) and Pidge Pagonis (Intersex Awareness Day co-founder) should totally know each other!

OTHER HOPES AND BI DREAMS:, OED, and all others start to meet the Ochs standard when defining "bisexual", so we stop seeing bisexuals discriminated against on the basis of a binary that doesn't exist for us, but does exist against us

☆Moderating a Bisexuality and Pop Culture panel at Comic Con with Alan Cumming, Anna Paquin, Sarah Paulson, Minna LeeTara Madison Avery and Eliel Cruz

☆Funding for training of all LGBTQIA service providers in the world so they know what a bisexual looks like, what their life experiences are and how to care for bisexuals in the wild

☆Overhaul of resources pages for LGBTQIA youth serving organizations, many of whom serve majority bisexual populations without educating those same bisexual populations about bi history, bi culture, bi health disparities, bi suicide, bi murder, bi rape or bi bullying

☆HIV prevention and education work that is fully inclusive of bi community. At the time of this writing, neither I nor Mark S. King (HIV expert and author) can find a single service provider who currently works to target bisexual populations for HIV education, prevention or care. Not a single person in the whole world. This is extraordinarily important to change, in particular for communities of color disproportionately affected by HIV.

☆Broader and deeper work for bi+ people of color, bi+ disability, bi+ mental health, bi+ youth, bi+ rape survivors, and bi+ elders.

☆A Google Glass grant so we can launch The Bi-Face Project to highlight the micro aggressions bi people face daily when disclosing their sexual orientation.

☆BiNet USA PSA's about biphobia, bi discrimination and lived narratives of bi, pan, fluid, queer folks, and maybe Nyle DiMarco could join us and help us put out some ASL signs that we still need like panromantic and biromantic!

☆A Bi/Pan Roundtable with Persephone Olson and other critical leaders in bi and pan communities, so that it is more widely known that we as a community believe all sexually fluid persons are valid and worthy of having their lives saved.

☆More bisexuals of every background at the White House for substantive, impact driven meetings that include them without them having to shout their name. Biiiisexxxxuuuuaaaaalllll!

☆More marches, rallies and direct actions targeting biphobia, bisexual erasure and/or any organization that isn't working yet to end the discrimination, appropriation, rape, murder and violence against bi+ women, men, and gender nonconforming individuals.

If you are not saying our name, you're killing us.

If you're not remembering us, you contribute to our assaults, rapes and violent ends.

If you keep forgetting us, we will help you remember.

☆And finally, my last hope and dream, and it's major, is to get operating and capacity building funding for BiNet USA so we can continue to serve a critical role in advocating, networking and connecting the bi community with itself, as well as to services that will save lives and keep them safe. No bisexual community advocacy organization has had such funding since 1996, but in 2016 let's change that!

May you have a happy and safe 2016, may the Force be with you, and may the BiNet stay strong,

Faith Cheltenham, BiNet USA President

Image Caption: Faith Cheltenham in front of the White House with bisexual pride flag and anti-LGBT protesters. 

Image Credit: Dr. Scout