Bi Visibility Day: “I was invited to the White House to discuss bisexuality.”

purplehouseThe White House asked me to come talk to them.” Every time I say those words, I can’t help but grin. The bisexual/bi-plus community has had other meetings with members of the administration (as far back as the Carter administration), but they were requests from us to talk to them. On Monday (22nd September), they asked us to visit.

Whenever the administration requests an off-the-record meeting, attendees are not allowed to discuss specifics. The privacy allows individuals to talk freely. As much as I’d love to share the details, I need to respect the condition.

The eight policy briefs decided, however, have been made public. These focus on the following: Data Collection; Education; Employment and Entrepreneurship; HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care; Immigration and Asylum; Mental Health and Suicide Prevention; Physical Health; and Violence. More information on these is available here

For this piece, however, I would like to share my own feelings and “takeaways” from the day…

“Bi-plus” – The Bisexual Organizing Committee coined this term to describe the umbrella that covers people who have the capacity to love move than one gender. Whether your label of choice is bi, bisexual, pansexual, fluid, or other (all of whom were represented at the policy brief), the bi-plus umbrella welcomes you. Since it is a “b-word,” this umbrella term can be used when discussing LGBT issues.

Bisexual elders – Several of us older bisexual activists are busy doing other things – raising kids, animal rescue, foster care, LGBT activism, working on our careers. Because of this, we might not necessarily feel we fit in with our local bi social groups. With that said, many of us still feel the need to connect with our peers. Getting reconnected was a start. We need to continue to look into meeting the needs of this demographic.

Organising sub-groups – It can often feel threatening if some part our community wants to socialise. If a pansexual discussion group, monogamous bisexual support group, or bi bear-rafting group is advertised, those of us who don’t qualify may feel rejected. As leaders, we need to help people understand that embracing diversity doesn’t mean white washing. When we block subgroups, we risk losing those people entirely.

Bi-plus energy – There is something indescribable about being in a bi-plus space. There’s an energy, an excitement, an affirmation that comes from being part of the majority. My husband compares this to being a musician. He can go for years without playing out. He’s still a guitarist. He can still keep up his chops. But part of him is only complete if he gets to share that part of himself with others who appreciate it. I didn’t understand how much I was missing until I went to DC.

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Wendy Curry

Twice on the board of BiNet USA (volunteer coordinator, 1998-2001; president 2006 - 2010), Wendy Curry has worked to increase visibility and acceptance for the BiPlus community for 25 years. With Michael Page, and Gigi Raven Wilbur, she was responsible for create Celebrate Bisexuality Day (now celebrated in 17 countries). Her work was recognized with awards from PFlag and The Bisexual Resource Center.

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