Though studies show Bisexuals to be in the majority of the LGBTIQQ community, we are often times discriminated against by all the different segments of that united community. This discrimination white noise is something that I just got used to and worked around like a sore tooth, I just chewed on the other side of my mouth and forgot that my tooth was even sore. Unless you count the times that something caused me to use said tooth in a chomping fashion. Biphobia is like that, when your identity is openly questioned on a repeated basis, from friends, acquaintances, people on the bus, your doctor, therapist and even the government, the identity that keeps coming out in multiple situations gets raw like a nerve.
A few weeks ago I was the recipient of an invitation from the White House, and like much of the email that clutters my inbox from various social causes, I was about to file it away, when another email showed up telling me that I should open the invitation and accept. I was one of many Bisexual activists called on by policy makers to join them at the White House and let them know what we as a group were experiencing. This "joke" email, was a real live invitation to be part of something very real and tangible. A way forward to help my community by telling those in powerful positions just how dismal the numbers were.
As many of you may remember, I worked on the Bisexual Invisibility Report with Lindasusan Ulrich, I organize the Bi/Trans Brunch and attempt to be a speakers Bureau of one for the Bay Area Bisexual Network. All of these tasks can sometimes lead to multiple levels of burnout. So when I was asked to speak before the White House in D.C., I was a little apprehensive of the seeming gag order, where we couldn't tell anyone we were going, or what was being said by anyone at the meeting itself, as this meeting was "off the record". But after I accepted the invite, I was introduced to many that I have known of in the community yet never met outside of email, an intergenerational, multi-faith, and culturally mixed group of people whom I would be working with to present our recommendations.
No longer a speakers bureau of one, I was suddenly recharged and ready to attack the issues. Issues like the fact that stigma is amazingly high, when people were part of a telephone survey about who they would like to live next door to, on a scale of 0-100, the lower the number the warmer the subject was to the group. Scoring the worst numbers were Bisexual men, Bisexual women and IV Drug users. Jewish people scored a little better on the scale right under African Americans, and Gay and Lesbian people scored a right in the middle under pro/anti-choice groups. Oftentimes the researchers who could help to illuminate the issues facing the Bisexual community are relegated to aggregating the data so that the numbers are counted towards Gay and Lesbian data. However, when they pull the Bisexual data out, the numbers are really dismal.
According to recent studies, we have a higher rate of tobacco use compared to all other communities, a higher rate of STI diagnosis compared to the Heterosexual community, a higher rate of heart disease compared to the Heterosexual community, and a higher rate of cancer risk factors and lower rate of screening. All of these issues lead to a poorer health outcome for Bisexuals than for the Gay and Lesbian community with Heterosexual communities having the best health outcomes. These issues are really important to me as a Bisexual activist who works at UCSF, and tries to connect people with community and knowing that they are not alone. Even the mental health outcomes are poorer for Bisexual women in urban settings, when their Lesbian counterparts receive a reprieve from the stress of the rural life, Bisexual women's mental health gets worse. Not to mention the amount of data that we have on Bisexual men is almost nonexistent.
What can we do about these seemingly insurmountable issues. I think we may have made some real steps toward making things better by heading to D.C. this week. Not only did the government acknowledge that we are a distinct group, by inviting us to speak, but there was an acknowledgement from the Mayor of Washington D.C. of Bisexual Pride Awareness Day itself. This was a truly amazing part, even before all the meetings beforehand, getting ready to speak, and creating PowerPoint presentations about what the needs were, there was this one single thing, acceptance. While we are still stigmatized, even though we are the largest segment of the LGBTIQQ community, those who have the potential to be attracted and or love more than one gender are unique and accepted by people in high places.
Another way forward that I see, is the creation of programming to help stem the tidal forces trying to hold us down as a community. As our Bay Area Bisexual Network mission states that we "seek 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 (LGBTIQQ) community and the public." It does indeed get better, and I ask that you join me helping to build a group that can live up to this mission, a group that can step up, and step back, a group of humans who have bad days and pass on the work when needed.
What I learned after the meeting and the acknowledgement, is that we have to stick together as a community and work with our allies and sometimes people who are not allies quite yet, to get to our goal of overcoming stigma and becoming better understood by monosexual and cisgendered communities.
We're having a 2013 Pride Bi Contingent planning meeting at Church Street Cafe in SF Wed March 13 from 7-8pm, if you or your networks are interested in contributing to the vision.
The Bay Area Bisexual Network celebrates 25 years of bringing bisexuals together with a reception and a reading by two bisexual authors, Jan Steckel (Mixing Tracks) and Betty Blue, who also writes as Jane Kindred (The Fallen Queen). Founded in 1987, BABN works to develop a healthy, vibrant, multicultural bisexual community in the Bay Area and to promote understanding of bisexual lives and issues in the GLBT community and the wider public. — with Jan Steckel, Betty Blue and Jane Kindred at The GLBT History Museum.
Trans Day of Remembrance is one of the hardest days for me because it makes me confront the fact that trans people, more often than not trans women of color, are demonized by the dominant culture. It hurts my heart to hear that upwards of 265 trans people have been taken from this world too soon this year, and in horrific ways. After losing friends in both the bi and trans communities over the years, I decided that we needed to create space for all of us to get together and build community. Thus, the Trans Bi Brunch was born as a positive response to TDoR. This brunch happens on the 4th Saturday of the month, 12:30pm at a local eatery called Crepevine on Church at Market, and it is a space where the trans and bi communities connect.
I hope that you will join me and others in the bi and trans communities to remember our 265+ dead this year by going to the many Trans Day of Remembrance events across the globe. Last night I was honored to be part of the Trans Flag raising in the Castro, by blessing the marchers, the flag and the entire community I was overcome with a sense of our connectedness across gender and sexuality. In the coming week their will be three more TDoR events in the Bay Area:
San Francisco, California
Will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance event
on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 5:00pm
Please join us for San Francisco’s Transgender Day of Remembrance 2012.
We will meet at SF City Hall at 5pm and march to the City of Refuge
(1025 Howard St.) in SOMA.
If you do not wish to join the march, you can also come directly to
the City of Refuge, where the main TDOR event will begin at 6pm.https://www.facebook.com/events/374274065988154/
—–San Francisco, California
Will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance Shabbat
on Friday, November 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav
Led by Martin Rawlings-Fein
290 Dolores Street, San Francisco, California
—–San Jose, California
Will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance event
on Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 6:00 – 10:00pm
at the Billy DeFrank Ballroom
938 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126
Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center http://www.defrank.orgMy reading for the raising of the trans flag:
Prayer for Transgender Day of Remembrance by Rabbi Reuben Zellman
"God full of mercy, bless the souls of all who are in our hearts on this Transgender Day of Remembrance. We call to mind today young and old, of every race, faith, and gender experience, who have died by violence. We remember those who have died because they would not hide, or did not pass, or did pass, or stood too proud. Today we name them: the reluctant activist; the fiery hurler of heels; the warrior for quiet truth; the one whom no one really knew.
As many as we can name, there are thousands more whom we cannot, and for whom no Kaddish may have been said. We mourn their senseless deaths, and give thanks for their lives, for their teaching, and for the brief glow of each holy flame. We pray for the strength to carry on their legacy of vision, bravery, and love.
And as we remember them, we remember with them the thousands more who have taken their own lives. We pray for resolve to root out the injustice, ignorance, and cruelty that grow despair. And we pray, God, that all those who perpetrate hate and violence will speedily come to understand that Your creation has many faces, many genders, many holy expressions.
Blessed are they, who have allowed their divine image to shine in the world.
Blessed is God, in Whom no light is extinguished."
Resources for Transgender Day of Remembrance: Transgender Day of Remembrance, a guest post by Jane KindredSome resources for TDoR
. A piece by Jane Kindred the author that BABN just honored at our 25th Anniversary Kickoff for her ability to write beyond gender and sexuality in her books. http://www.transgenderdor.org/
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. http://www.transpeoplespeak.org/
Trans People SpeakI AM: Trans People Speak is a campaign created by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
BABN OrganizerMartin Rawlings-Fein
Please join BABN as we celebrate 25 years of bringing bisexuals together by coming to our 25th Anniversary Kick Off with two amazing Bifabulous Authors, Jan Steckel and Betty Blue (a.k.a. Jane kindred) as they read from their collected works and honor us with their presence and words.
Please watch for more 25th Anniversary social events before the end of the year, hopefully a movie night, and a winter holiday party. Stay tuned!
Founded in 1987, BABN’s mission is to develop a healthy, vibrant, multicultural bisexual community in the Bay Area and to promote a better understanding of bisexual lives and issues within the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer community and the public.
Friday, November 16, 2012
7:00pm until 9:00pm
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco, California 94114
· Get Directions
Let's all raise out glasses to being visible on this Bisexual Visibility Day. Celebrate Bisexuality Day is observed on September 23 by members of the bisexual community and our supporters. In another step forward for LGBT advocacy, the city of Berkeley, California announced it would recognize “Bisexual and Bi Visibility Day” on September 23. City Council Member Kriss Worthington wrote to his peers in support of the effort, saying it would encourage citizens to “recognize and celebrate bisexuality history, bisexual community and culture, and the bisexual people in their lives.” The measure passed with unanimous support.Read about the measure here and see some of out local BABN leaders
quoted in several articles:Berkeley Lawmakers Recognize Bisexual Pride Day
KOLO-Sep 21, 2012Bisexuals may get their day in Berkeley
San Francisco Chronicle-Sep 17, 2012
Berkeley Becomes the First City to Proclaim 'Bisexual Pride' Day
TheBlaze.com-Sep 20, 2012Berkeley becomes first US city to declare Bisexual Pride Day ...
Washington Post-Sep 18, 2012Berkeley Lawmakers Recognize Bisexual Pride Day
ABC News-Sep 19, 2012Berkeley lawmakers recognize Bisexual Pride Day
Huffington Post-Sep 18, 2012Berkeley lawmakers recognize Bisexual Pride Day
The Associated Press-Sep 18, 2012Berkeley lawmakers recognize Bisexual Pride Day
Seattle Post Intelligencer-Sep 18, 2012Berkeley to consider declaring Bisexual Pride Day
Ventura County Star-Sep 18, 2012Berkeley ready to proclaim Bisexual Pride Day
Sacramento Bee-Sep 18, 2012
Berkeley founds first official Bisexual Pride Day
Salon-Sep 19, 2012
What a great crowd of people at brunch today, I am really glad to know you all. I hope you all have a great day for tomorrows festivities, whether you have plans for Folsom, or celebrating Bisexuality Visibility Day. Have a wonderful time!
We meet for brunch on the 4th Saturday at 12:30pm-3ish at Crepevine (Church and Market), hope to see more of you at the next brunch and get to know more of this fabulous community. B'vracha and Thanks!
[San Fransisco CA]: Please join us at our Bisexual and Trans* Brunch as we gather to celebrate Bisexual Pride Day/Bi Visibility Day (2012) on Saturday September 22nd from 12:30-3ish at the Crepevine
on Church St at Market.
Pay for your food at the counter. While no purchase is required, a small something or another will keep Crepevine happy with us. Vegan and vegetarian options available. Wheelchair accessible. Kid friendly menu/high chairs available. Look for the Bi/Trans Brunch sign.
Celebrate Bisexuality Day is observed on September 23 by members of the bisexual community and our supporters. In another step forward for LGBT advocacy, the city of Berkeley, California announced it would recognize “Bisexual and Bi Visibility Day” on September 23. City Council Member Kriss Worthington wrote to his peers in support of the effort, saying it would encourage citizens to “recognize and celebrate bisexuality history, bisexual community and culture, and the bisexual people in their lives.” The measure passed with unanimous support.
The Crepevine is conveniently located on MUNI surface Lines F, 37, J, 22 and not far from the N Judah at Church and Duboce. Right around the corner from the Church Street station (K, L, M) . The 16th St BART station is also not far (about a 15-20 minute walk or a short bus ride on the 22). Pay for your food at the counter. While no purchase is required, a small something or another will keep Crepevine happy with us. Vegan and vegetarian options available. Wheelchair accessible. Kid friendly menu/high chairs available.
All Bisexual/non-monosexual people, Trans* people/Gender non-conforming people along with All our Friends, Family and Allies are welcome and encouraged to attend this event.
For more details of to RSVP, please email email@example.com
I am pleased to announce the time and location for the Bisexual Contingent to gather for the 2012 Pride Parade!
Our assembly point is on Spear Street between Mission & Howard
. We should be in place and ready to start marching by 10:00am
latest, which means assembling and decorating the car at 9:00am
. My cell phone (and I text) is 510-213-1222
. I have unlimited calls and texts so reach out to me if you need info!
It is possible, as often happens, that there will be delays and we don't start exactly on time. But don't count on that! Come early and hang out with the cool bisexuals! Make new friends! Remember to bring water in a plastic bottle (no glass), sunscreen, hat, snack food, decorations, and wear comfortable shoes or bring a pair to change into.
If you haven't attended a contingent monitor training session
and are intending to march with us, please, please consider attending - it's just 1 hour of your time and will allow us to have our car! We need at least 2 MORE PEOPLE to attend training or we won't be allowed to take the car in the Parade!
If you do attend, mark 'BABN' on the card at the end of the class, and please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last 3 training sessions (attend only the 1st hour, no RSVPs required, just show up on time):
Tuesday, June 19, 2012Contingent Monitor & Safety Training
Training Capacity: 175
The San Francisco LGBT Community Center
Rainbow Room1800 Market St, SF
Wednesday, June 20, 2012Contingent Monitor & Safety Training
Training Capacity: 175
The San Francisco LGBT Community Center
Rainbow Room1800 Market St, SF
Friday, June 22, 2012Contingent Monitor & Safety Training
Training Capacity: 500
Larkin Hall, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium99 Grove St, SF
This is going to be a great year! Happy Pride!!!
San Francisco, CAhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/jdavidsondesign