Tuesday, May 26, 2020

We said what we said, again.

Last communication about this “flag controversy”:

We strongly reject and refute any assertion that BiNet USA claimed, or ever claimed the bisexual pride flag. When we spoke out to bisexualtshirts.com, we had questions about what community groups they were part of; instead of that group contacting us directly, they attacked us.

Next, our own former board members, to our regret-added to this controversy as well as members of a fledgling collective of bi, LGBTQIA and straight advocates associated with us. It’s easy to get confused about what was said, and when, and by who: so we’re keeping our blog and Twitter open for a while so you can compare our tweets, our statements and what we hold to be true.

Instead of reading clarifying tweets; former board members and volunteers strongly suggested BiNet USA intended to file copyright and/or trademark to OWN A FLAG. As if a country, a flag, or any people could be owned; as if the history of our organizers suggested anything but constant support of other bi organizations, communities and people-often at great risk to ourselves and our health as visible, out bisexuals.

As the community organization that helped generate the flag, we were asking a question about organizations benefiting from sales from the flag while we hoped for even more. BiNet USA has never tracked the use of the flag for any reason, including financial; our grant writing to fund our organization has always centered on direct advocacy to bi communities, particularly of color.

Considering the rich history of non-white bi communities being excluded from the aforementioned direct advocacies, it can make sense when white bi community members (including persons who fiercely, casually or ostensibly identify as “white” or with the social project of Whiteness) respond with communications that center their entitlement; even suggesting they are the ones being stolen from.

Such tensions are even more heightened in this time of COVID; we recommend the work of the scholar Claire Hemmings to better understand the history of these tensions within BiNet USA and larger bi+ communities and organizations: https://www.amazon.com/Bisexual-Spaces-Geography-Sexuality-Gender/dp/0415930820


We ask that you remember who we are, what we are, and what we do now as we continue our work, even as we continue to intentionally remove ourselves from social media and digital realms. We do this in part because of the rich history of attacks on BiNet USA going back decades. We think all advocates should feel safe, healthy and able to engage in this time of the virus when it’s even more difficult for people to connect.

Too often these attacks have included dogwhistle messaging, using coded racist/Global White Supremacist, classist and specifically anti-black terminologies to couch alleged concerns about the viability of community advocacies led by non-white people, while at the same time specifically leveraging the participation of community advocates of color toward these motives. Read more about it in “Dog Whistle Politics” and works like it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17847530-dog-whistle-politics

There are those in bi community who would submit that the assertion of the above is somehow a distraction from the contexts of conversation of Bi+ advocacy. We submit that any such contention is without merit at best, and actively and intentionally deleterious at worst. To crib from the work of Black woman scholar/activist KimberlĂ© Crenshaw, any Bi+ activism that doesn’t see itself as actively and intentionally intersectional is useless. Bi experience always exists on vectors of privilege and lack around race,class,ability,sexuality,gender expression (or lack thereof) ,age,national status and more. Any purported “advocacy” that refuses to recognize this reality is pointedly worthless.

Further reading:
https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/the-difference-between-a-karen-and-a-becky-explained-1842708257

While we respect the former BiNet USA board members and volunteers' concerns about the work BiNet USA is currently doing, we encourage BiNet founders, former volunteers and other interested parties to get to work right away like our team has been engaged recently. We suggest community leaders of bisexual organizations reach out directly to Juba Kalamka, MFA about their concerns; so far ZERO bi leaders have asked for that conversation.

You may reach him at vp@binetusa.org to discuss opportunities for your organization to learn more about the current work of BiNet USA, and how you might be engaged in its future. Please keep in mind BiNet USA as an organization does not have the resources or capacity to respond to every individual request.

During our direct advocacy work around Coronavirus, we aren’t attempting to assess bi+ status (or more pointedly, the ability/inclination to flag wave as such in contexts which might be life threatening) among the many in need when our country faces 100,000 dead.

Like you, we mourn the too many already gone. We continue to fight globally for every bisexual we can, including A, who we still support on his journey to be a safe African parent and Christian bisexual.

The work we’re doing has already helped popularize protocols we see other organizers using for “contactless drops” and assistance that’s not purely based on the ability to mutually give. We have been engaged in this work since the first week of March when we did our first food delivery. We hope to keep seeing more and more bisexuals giving; whether it’s online or off, so many of us have open, full and huge hearts.
We look forward to the next iteration of BiNet USA, whatever it looks like under Juba Kalamka’s leadership along with his current board. Since Mr. Kalamka isn’t a website developer or social marketer, but instead has 30 years of experience in visual art, publication media, digital music performance/production, event development and HIV testing linkage to care/prevention health advocacy in marginalized communities, we know the future of BiNet USA is bright beyond measure.

We want everyone to have access to #bisexualhistory, including over 400,000 website files from binetusa.org from the years 1987-2020. Please email vp@binetusa.org for access to these files with the subject line “BISEXUAL HISTORY FILES REQUEST” so the VP may add you to a list of individuals being sent links with old files, photos, blog posts and critical work from BiNet USA.

It is our hope that the above clarifications, restatements and disclosures are helpful.

In service, and wishing you safety and wellness,
Members of the Board of BiNet USA including VP and President

Sunday, May 03, 2020

FURTHER LEADERSHIP CHANGES COMING, JUBA KALAMKA BECOMES PREZ ON 1/21/21

By BiNet USA President, Faith Cheltenham, thefayth
With additional edits/support from Juba Kalamka, BiNet USA VP

Per BiNet USA Board of Directors vote on May 2nd, 2020, for protection and safety; the names and personal information of BiNet USA employees, volunteers and board are no longer available to the public, unless otherwise legally required.

In September 2019, the current board of BiNet USA approved the future disclosure of all private donations made by Faith Cheltenham via BiNet USA. This was part of an agreed upon step-down plan with thefayth after board service as the most active board member, volunteer and staff member of BiNet USA from 2004-2018.

On May 2nd, 2020, the BiNet USA board (members: 6 [six]) agreed to fast-track this accounting, including externally prepared financial statements outlining each individual, city and/or "bisexual" organization that directly benefited from donations, grant funding, and fundraising directed by Faith Cheltenham and BiNet USA (usually completed via direct payment to the needy bisexual via Paypal, Venmo or Zelle).

This accounting including prepared statement is forthcoming within 3 (three) months and will include the name, city and organization that benefitted from direct donation from BiNet USA members and employees.

This accounting is not offered to make up for public assertions of thefayth, Faith Cheltenham (and attendantly, BiNet USA) "stealing the bisexual pride flag", but to better set the record bisexual as to the historic accomplishments of BiNet USA volunteers including thefayth’s significant and sizable donations across bisexual communities with intersectional emphasis, alongside so many other individuals who contributed.

Further, BiNet USA Board was informed by a former President of her intentional executive decision to bypass board approval for the original flag, we were not aware of this, and we hope to learn more about this context.

Read about our video interview project:
http://binetusa.blogspot.com/2020/05/about-bisexual-pride-flag.html

STATEMENT ON USE OF BISEXUAL PRIDE FLAG


STATEMENT ON THE USE OF BISEXUAL PRIDE FLAG

BY BINET USA PRESIDENT, thefayth
With assistance and edits from Juba Kalamka, BiNet USA VP

As of May 2020, BiNet USA CEASES AND DESISTS OF ALL USE OF THE BISEXUAL PRIDE FLAG; using only when necessary the bisexual people of color flag, as co-created in 2019 by thefayth, Faith Cheltenham.

Further, BiNet USA denies all responsibilities of past or future claims for any bisexual pride flag use,or any use of any previous property created by former volunteers, staff and employees of BiNet USA, including the bisexual pride flag, Celebrate Bisexuality Day aka Bi Pride Day and Bisexual Awareness Week.

BiNet USA is not the bisexual community. BiNet USA has no responsibility to specific bisexual organizations or organizers unless jointly agreed upon. BiNet USA rejects any responsibility to any other bisexual organizations and organizers unless its organizers, staff and volunteers are compensated.

No member of bisexual communities may use photos, written words or messaging from BiNet USA web, digital or written materials without it’s express permission.

No member or bisexual communities may use photos, written words or messaging from thefayth, Faith Cheltenham without her express permission on behalf of bisexual communities; even previously provided.

Any license previously given from thefayth, Faith Cheltenham for “bisexual community” photos, written word or messaging is expressly revoked.

Friday, May 01, 2020

About the bisexual pride flag...

About the bisexual pride flag...
A statement prepared by the board of BiNet USA.

 MYTH: The Bisexual Pride flag is open for use by everyone for any purpose, including the confederate flag.

FACT: The Bisexual Pride flag has been repeatedly misappropriated for commercial uses that are antithetical to the humanity of bi+ persons everywhere, such as imposing the Confederate flag “Stars and Bars” upon the Bisexual Pride flag. From cafepress.com: “Bisexual Pride flag with the Confederate Stars and Bars superimposed on it. These colors run both ways!”

WHERE WE GO NEXT: On May 1st, 2020, the International Day of the Worker, BiNet USA, requests the removal of “bisexual confederate” flags, baby clothes, bibs, keychains, and other items from the internet. We direct others to participate by visiting cafepress.com to request the removal of items based on infringement.

 CLARITY CHECK: The bisexual pride flag is intended for bisexual community use. The community has long been able to utilize it for the creation of gifts and goods to help benefit ourselves and each other. BiNet USA continues to support the independent bisexual seller and is working to bring more bisexual products into market. We are currently advocating for bisexual sellers to have direct licensing relationships with corporations selling bisexual pride merchandise. We want to be clear: we are a nonprofit organization. We frequently donate our time and energy and promote others’ work without the aim to make any money personally. Even when we get paid, we consistently work overtime day after day. One way you can help is to support the advocacy of BiNet USA and our relationship building with bi+ sellers. You can also email us to get on our list to see more goods and products sold using BiNet USA outreach, networks, and support. Email vp@binetusa.org with the subject line: Bi Products to join in.

MYTH: The bisexual pride flag was created by small-business owner Michael Page by himself. FACT: BiNet USA launched the bisexual pride flag on bicafe.com in 1998 as part of a two-year outreach effort that also included the creation of Celebrate Bisexuality Day. The co-creators of the Bisexual Pride flag are identified as: Wendy Curry and GG Raven Wilbur, also creators of Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

WHERE WE GO NEXT
We are collecting video testimonials from the co-creators of the bisexual pride flag, the person who came up the idea (“Michael Page”) and from organizers who were active during the launch of the bisexual pride flag. We will release these videos, phone calls, and written records via our blog, binetusa.blogspot.com. Board member, professional author and editor, Ron Suresha, will help lead this effort which originated from an idea from a longtime bi community leader in Chicago, IL.

BiNet will present these interviews on social media and blog to ensure that the persons who contributed to the creation, development, and generation of the Bisexual Pride Flag have the opportunity to tell their origin story.

 LINK TO HELP WITH CAFEPRESS: https://www.cafepress.com/p/terms-conditions#infringement