At least 65 people gathered on Thursday, February 4th, 2010 to attend the first ever bisexual/pansexual/fluid/queer sexual organizing institute at Creating Change. We spent the first part of the day brainstorming about the things we need and want in terms of Bi/queer inclusion in the Lesbian and Gay communities. For as often as we write “LGBTQ” there’s not a lot of inclusivity for the B or the T.
Many people expressed tremendous joy at being a room with so many other people who identified openly as bisexual, omnisexual, pansexual, queer or something else. One woman said “I can’t believe how great it feels to be in a room with 65 bi people.” Of course, some people identified as bi-allies but their presence validated the tremendous need for bi/pan/fluid/queer inclusivity.
Time and again people shared the pain they felt being excluded from within their own community. People shared stories of hiding their bisexuality from friends who were gay and straight, expressing a feeling of never fully fitting in.
The walls of the room were covered in papers from brainstorming sessions for bi/pan/fluid/queer organizing from years ago, and we spent one of the first parts of the day making new ideas of things we wanted to see from a bi movement. We identified tons of needs and desires and after a rousing discussion we identified four main goals.
1) Education & Outreach
2) Intersectionality of Equality
3) Community Building/ “Bi Infrastructure”
4) Mentoring New Leaders
But let’s be serious, activism isn’t that neat and tidy. I’ve got 3 pages of scrawling notes and I’m gonna queer it up and throw some out at ya…
We want: to erase bi stigma, we want to find out how to work with the existing national lgbt organizations for bi inclusivity and to localize resources. We want inclusive cultural representation in art and media. we want information and education, we want to be more proactive with the media and less reactive. we want to increase our visibility. we want to celebrate the bi celebrities and get away from that “oh it’s a publicity stunt” lens. we want to work on trans inclusion and the intersection of bi/pan/queer/fluid sexual orientation with race, religion, ethnicity, ability, age, socio-economic status, etc etc. we want to grow our voices and fight against biphobia. we want to STOP the INFIGHTING and CELEBRATE OUR MULTIPLICITY OF IDENTITIES.
“it’s not a phase, it’s my life” is the new slogan people were sporting on shirts and buttons. we want recognition that, despite what Miranda on “Sex and The City” (btw I love that show so don’t get me wrong), bisexuality is not “just a layover on the way to gay-town.” There were people ranging in ages of about 16-70 at least. It was funny, that SATC episode, and I laughed, except that perpetuates exactly what we are fighting against here.
We came up with some really great ideas, but I’m going to save that for a separate post. More on bi organizing later.
I am thrilled that the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network set me up to come to the conference and this was a great way to start off Creating Change 2010.