Raffle prizes and snacks, too! It's a fundraiser for BABN with a donation requested. No one turned away for lack of funds!
Please spread the word, and join us!
This will be an evening variety show, from 6 till 9pm, on El Rio's lovely back patio. Featuring live music from The Bi Half of The Buds, amazing moves by Three Sisters Bellydance, alluring burlesque by Isis Starr, award-winning poetry from Jan Steckel, inspiring words from Lani Ka'ahumanu, comedy from Nick Leonard, and more entertainment from other talented members of our community.
Raffle prizes and snacks, too! It's a fundraiser for BABN with a donation requested. No one turned away for lack of funds!
Please spread the word, and join us!
Lately there has been a 2013 PEW post taking over my social media feed, trumpeting their bisexual research, using problematic language and monosexist questioning techniques to get biased answers from the LGBT community. You may be saying, “Mono-what?” Well, Monosexuality is the romantic or sexual attraction to members of one gender only. One can be gay, lesbian, and straight and be considered monosexual. Bisexuality is conversely a romantic or sexual attraction to more than one gender. Now that we have the Mono/Bi discussion out of the way, Monosexism, is the structural privileging of “monosexual identities and behaviors,” as Shiri Eisner and others have been talking about for many years both digitally, and in print.
What does monosexism have to do with the PEW study? Isn’t it great that PEW is even including bisexuals in their study? On the surface the study looks inclusive, and to some degree it is a great attempt at being bi positive. Where the PEW study goes to a monosexist place is in the crafting of their questions. Questions like “Q.12 - Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose, or strongly oppose allowing gays and lesbians to adopt children?” Not only does this question not include bisexuals, but completely ignores the transgender community as well. Another question caught my eye, “Q.6 - How much discrimination is there against each of these groups in our society today?, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Gays and lesbians, Women, and Muslim Americans are the only groups presented. It seems as if the PEW might need a visit from a bisexual community organization like BiNet USA, the Bisexual Resource Center, or Bisexual Organizing Project to find their way out of the Gay and Lesbian rut in which they have found themselves. By presenting an LGBT study, and primarily asking questions about gays and lesbians they are creating a monosexist space, where bisexuals are left out of the sexuality equation.
Women are included in the above discrimination question, yet on page six of the report they state, “there is more perceived acceptance of bisexual women (33% a lot) than of bisexual men (8%).” Part of this answer is the continued sexualization of women in general, but bi women in particular are sexualized for just being their full selves. Bisexuality in women is encouraged, fetishized in fact, for the male gaze. It isn’t as if women should be surprised by these numbers, we see the sexualization of women everywhere from the billboards that hang above freeways and off of buildings, to the covers of magazines. Let’s face it, sex sells. What doesn’t sell is male sexuality that isn’t monosexual. At the White House Bisexual Roundtable in 2013 the one of the items that we used data from was a study where heterosexual people found ratings on 101‐point feeling thermometers were less favorable for bisexual men than any other group, save injecting drug users.
Another place where the PEW study went horribly wrong, like a train wreck that you can not look away from, is the question the PEW group asked of the entire group, “Here are a few activities some people do and others do not. Please indicate whether or not you have done this each of the following: Been a member of an LGBT organization…, or [Attended] LGBT pride events,...” this is where language matters when discussing events or organizations. What came out of this particular question was, “When it comes to community engagement, gay men and lesbians are more involved than bisexuals in a variety of LGBT-specific activities, such as attending a gay pride event or being a member of an LGBT organization.” One of the reasons that this language is problematic is that bisexuals have been made unwelcome at gay pride events for a very long time, and bisexual leaders have even petitioned NYC Pride to include bisexual representation in their grand marshal pool. To be clear, if you were asked about joining a group, or event, where the organizers regularly forget that you are community members, calling you allies and such, or straight, because you are in a mixed gender couple, like Brenda Howard, the "Mother of Pride", who was edited out of the website from the 2014 NYC Pride, Heritage of Pride, you might be upset by even the question. It is no wonder that “gay men and lesbians are more involved than bisexuals” in pride events or LGbT organizations which routinely ignore, or are hostile to bisexual participants.
According to the Supporting and Caring For Our Bisexual Youth report, authored by Amy Andre, bisexual youth "are less optimistic about their futures than their non-LGBT counterparts, less engaged in their communities and schools, and highly susceptible to sexual harassment." When PEW asked a question about the future of their communities acceptance 10 years from now, 58% of bisexuals, say society will be a lot more accepting in the coming years, as opposed to 71-76% of gay men and lesbians. This is one place that the PEW confirmed current research on bisexuality. If our identities are not important, our events not important, and our voices silenced, perhaps it is due to the false binary of sexuality that people place upon bisexuals, “Are you straight and gay?”
The good news is however, that we have a voice, silenced or not, which has gotten a boost lately. Kate Brown, the governor of Oregon, is a an out and proud bisexual. The first known bisexual to become a governor in the United States. Currently there is no breadth or depth of bisexual civic leaders like Brown, whereas there are a plethora of people for gay men and lesbians to find inspirational. One can count the number of out bisexual leaders in government on one hand, Governor Kate Brown and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. It was no stretch for find that according to PEW “Gay men and lesbians are more likely than bisexuals to see a lot of value in people knowing someone who is LGBT and in the influence of public figures who are open about being LGBT.”
It is obvious to me as someone in leadership of a bisexual specific organization, that PEW needs to become a more culturally competent organization for the bisexual community before crafting the questions to represent that community.
Download the 2013 report here: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/06/SDT_LGBT-Americans_06-2013.pdf
It is that time of year again when with your help and monetary donation, the Bay Area Bisexual Network (BABN) can continue to help educate the greater Bay Area community about bisexual invisibility. We hope that you, the greater Bay Area community, can help to make our dreams of a drop in space and peer led group at The Center, more social events and extra programming happen in 2015.
BABN has a long history of providing outreach and social events for those in the bisexual community, their allies, friends and families. With your donation, our mission of developing a healthy, vibrant, multicultural bisexual community in the San Francisco Bay Area can be furthered. We will also be able to promote better understanding of bisexual lives and issues within the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual (LGBTIQA) community and the larger public.
Supporting this broad array of services, your contribution of whatever you can afford makes a tangible difference in our struggle to live our lives in visible ways, as well as to support the education and betterment of the LGBTIQIA community. With your help, the Bay Area Bisexual Network will continue to provide essential services for bisexual people in need of social connection, education, and visibility.
To those who have supported us with time or money in 2014: huge huge thanks for helping us remember where we have been and for the time and money that you spent in coming and/or planning events. This year we hosted the BiMonthly BABN Brunch for the Bi and Trans Communities, Co-Sponsored Bi Candy: Bisexual Short Cinema with the Frameline Film Festival, marched in SF Pride as the BiConic: BABN SF Pride Contingent, celebrated BiVisibility Day Happy Hour and Karaoke at The Mint as part of BiVisibility Week, continued the Bi Boys' Happy Hour in its second year, and welcomed almost 300 distinct new members to the facebook group, that added to the over 840 members on our mailing lists makes us an organization with over 1100 members.
Help us prove that we can be a strong community. Time is running out for your donation to be counted in this years quarter, but with your help, we can make our financial goal of $1000 and enter the new year with real momentum. If everyone just gave $1 we could make our goal and set the tone for the New Year!
Please visit GoFundMe to donate whatever amount feels comfortable and join us in January for the BiMonthly BABN Brunch for the Bi and Trans Communities.
We, the undersigned members of the bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, fluid, queer and unlabeled (bi+) community - representing an ethnically and racially diverse group - express our sadness and outrage at the lack of justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The racist motivations surrounding their deaths and the prejudiced failure to secure legal justice for them and their grieving families has had a profoundly debilitating effect on us all.
We understand that these recent deaths are not isolated incidents, but part of a long-standing, persistent pattern of systemic racism and anti-black violence. Black and Brown people of all genders, orientations, ages, abilities and backgrounds are being targeted for these injustices. These abuses must not continue.As individuals and as diverse organizations, we act in solidarity with people of color in our bi+ communities, our cities, and our nation to collectively address this human rights travesty. We call on our members to join us in our unified demand for racial equity and an end to police brutality. Let us work together for justice, alongside the protesters and organizations engaged in this struggle, and especially in support of groups led by Black and Brown people.
This is a time to affirm that #BlackLivesMatter. Inaction and silence is not the solution. This is a time to join in the struggle to dismantle systemic racism. This is a time to elevate and amplify Black voices in our unified demand for justice. This is a time for action.
The time for justice is now.
PLEASE SIGN BELOW TO BE ADDED TO THIS #BlackLivesMatter SOLIDARITY STATEMENT.
Public Link to List of Supporters of the Statement: http://bit.ly/161e2IX
Sign Here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15jmY5YyMcTR-keMI4autKXFhg8IMlfI9tWnaGXFIAdk/viewform?c=0&w=1
Pick up your tickets here:
Tricks & Treats: All Gender Queer Party at EROS T-Wood/EROS/queerlysf Friday, October 31, 2014 at 8:00 PM - Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 2:00 AM (PDT) San Francisco, CA
Tonight is still Rosh Hashanah, the second day is tomorrow, and I returned to my home with my family from Tashlich with an inbox full of email about a debate that seems to happen every year. This year I joined the bi community and posted a selfie with my Giants hat, my Bisexual Pride shirt, the one with the pink, blue, and purple triangles, and shared the shot for the "My #bisexuality looks like... hashtag to go along with Bisexual Awareness Week.
What I found surprising, from reading recent articles, is that some still think that bisexuality doesn't look like me, and by that I mean... well trans. It really is astonishing that there are still people who confuse binary and bisexual. You would think that there were enough identity police knocking on our doors from outside the community, but we have a few within the larger LGBTIQQA acronym.
I am here to say that I am a very proud Jewish trans bisexual. Some may not think that the identities are compatible, or that a trans person could self identify as bi, and not pan, or queer, as an article from the Task Force just put out there once again, but I am here to tell you about intersectionality. It is a great word that touches everything in the world.
The bisexual community, and yes we have one, is one of the most intersectional places that I have ever landed. We are constantly calling each other, and others across the LGBTIQQA community, on being non-inclusive, not giving everyone a place at the table, racism in our midst and outside of our community, classism, sexism, cissexism, you name it, and then we hopefully dialogue. Sometimes we don't call out these things, or we fail, and get right back up and into our seat on the committee that we are working with, and try try again. Missing the mark is a huge theme in the High Holidays, believe me, I miss that mark all the time. These little pockets of growth are how we build community, by making mistakes and growing from the experience.
Just because I am Jewish, doesn't mean that I can take off my sexuality and hang it up when going to shul, I don't think anyone really can, it also doesn't mean that I have to choose which side of the mechitza I should be on, in fact I am an excellent fence sitter. I am a whole person, and should be accepted as such. When people confuse bi with binary, I feel like a large chunk of my identity is being questioned. Imagine if you will, being told that you do not exist, or shouldn't, by someone who feels that they have the authority to police gender and sexuality. When things like that happen to me, I feel invalidated as a bi trans person. In a time when Jews are thinking about T'shuvah, or the spiritual practice of returning to a place of re-alignment with G!d, and the people with whom we share our lives, there is something out of alignment with calling bisexuality binarist.
Robyn Ochs has a wonderful definition of bisexuality that dispels the myth that bisexuality has any part in binary oppression. “I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.” The key word here is "more than one", whereas, if one were only attracted to one gender be that gender your own or another the result would be mono-sexuality.
A.J. Walkley talks about this problem as "an incredibly common stereotype of all bisexuals" in her HuffPo column Bi the Bi: Two Bi Writers on Big Bi Issues and her co-author Lauren Michelle Kinsey points out that "The word "bisexual" doesn't imply that there are only two genders any more than the words "heterosexual," "homosexual" or lesbian do." The idea for the Bisexual Awareness Week was brought forth from the need to define ourselves. If one looks up the dictionary definition, one will see the binarist definitions come from outside of the bi community. (Though this hasn't always been the case. Read Shiri Eisner)
As Travis Mamone puts it in their blog Bi Any Means "a). most bisexuals do not use the binarist definition of bisexuality and b). many bisexuals actually identify outside the gender binary." Mamone goes on to quote Verity Ritchie's vlog on YouTube "Heterosexual comes from the word hetros, which means "different." Homosexual comes from the word homo, which means "the same." So if you were to apply the word bi--which means "two"--if we apply this in the same way we apply hetro-and homosexuality, then we've got "different" and "the same." So bisexuals are attracted to people who are different and people who are the same."
Definitions wont change anyone's mind, I know this from many years rehashing this topic in the world of bisexual and trans community work. What I do know is that I am a person, I am intersectional in my own life, I am Jewish, I am trans, I am bisexual and I am a parent. I want my kids to grow up in a world where they don't have to write blog posts stating that they exist in the world with their own identities. I don't want my children to feel like they have to defend themselves against people who have different definitions of who they are in their hearts.
What I want for my children, and all our progeny, is this simple thing. The freedom of self identification without someone policing their gender and /or sexuality.
Bay Area Bisexual Network
This blessing for the bi community was crafted for use by synagogues wanting to acknowledge their bi members especially during the Bisexual Awareness Week, which falls on the same week as Rosh Hashanah in 2014.
Blessed are you, Adonai our G!d, Holy One of Blessing, who allows us to be open about our lives, see beyond gender, and blesses us with myriad affections to share with our loved ones.
ברוך … שמאפשר לנו להיות פתוח על את חיינו, לראות מעבר למגדר, ומברכים אותנו עם חיבה מספר עצום לחלוק עם יקירינו
With these words the congregation blesses all who are open about their lives, see beyond gender, and have multiple ways of showing their affection. In essence, it is an open blessing that one may adapt for the many aspects of ones life, and not just an allution to ones sexuality. This blessing is heavily informed by Robin Ochs' Definition of Bisexuality: “I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
We are a proud co-sponsor of Bisexual Awareness Week!
Themes and Hashtags For Bisexual Awareness Week
In addition to the usual hashtags (#bipride, #bisexual, #BiDay, and #BiVisibilityDay), the following hashtags will be used on given, corresponding days during #biweek:
Sunday 9/21 #BiHistory
Monday 9/22 #BiFacts
Tuesday 9/23 My #bisexuality looks like…
Wednesday 9/24 #BiMedia
Thursday 9/25 #RecognizeBiMen
Friday 9/26 #BiTrans
Saturday 9/27 #BiAllies
BABN Pride Events
The next Bi Boys' Happy Hour is on July 7 (Monday). Mark your calendars! http://www.meetup.com/Bi-Boys-Happy-Hour/events/172519302/
Bay Area Bisexual Network is based in San Francisco with members from all over the Bay Area. Our mission is to develop a healthy, vibrant, multicultural bisexual community in the San Francisco Bay Area and to promote better understanding of bisexual lives and issues within the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community and the public.