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Bisexual Identities Often Erased in Rush to Marriage Equality

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Robyn Ochs and Peg PrebleRobyn Ochs and her partner, Peg Preble, tied the knot after the ban on same-sex marriage was overturned in Massachusetts, the first U.S. state with marriage equality. Ochs and Preble were happily together for seven years before racing to the altar in a mad dash to beat any further legal challenges by then-Gov. Mitt Romney or others opposed to marriage equality. They wed May 17, 2004 making national news and history as one of the first same-sex couples to marry.

Ochs and Preble’s photo was used nationally and they were labeled a lesbian couple repeatedly, even by The Washington Post, to which they gave an exclusive interview headlined, “A Carefully Considered Rush to the Altar: Lesbian Pair Wed After 7 Years Together.” The pair quickly became poster children for “gay marriage.” The problem? Ochs not only identifies as bisexual but is a renowned bisexual activist.

Ochs taught classes at Tufts University on bisexual identity and sexual politics, something that was mentioned in the original Post article, and has dedicated her career to educating straight and LGBT people alike on the bisexual community. She is known for speaking nationally on bi erasure, biphobia, and monosexism (the idea that heterosexuality or homosexuality is superior to non-monosexual orientations). Yet the very thing Ochs works to eradicate happened to her.

“I contacted the journalist after the otherwise beautiful story came out and she apologized, saying she didn’t have anything to do with writing the headline,” Ochs said.

What happened to Ochs is more than just a useful anecdote for her talks all over the country about bisexual erasure. It’s an example of how bisexuals are left out of marriage even when fighting for it on the front lines.

Authored By Eliel Cruz – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Image via Robyn Ochs and Peg Preble

Bisexuals Need to Come Out

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Bisexual…But part of it really does point to a long-standing challenge when it comes to bisexual visibility: Your sexuality may exist inside your head, but most people are going to judge your orientation by who you’re partnered with. And so monogamous married people tend to “read” as gay or straight, but some may actually be bisexual. “When you’re bisexual or pansexual, but you’re in a long-term relationship, your bi/pansexuality can become invisible,” Greta Christina, the author of Coming Out Atheist and expert on all things coming out sexuality-related or not, explained to me. “People often assume that you’re gay or straight, based on who you’re involved with now–and it kind of eradicates your history and your identity.”

This is a problem because, as the gay rights movement has shown, visibility helps–a lot. There are many myths that proliferate about bisexuals, including the myth that they are oversexed and can’t be monogamous, a myth that King was pushing with this line of questioning whether he intended to or not. These myths exist in no small part because there aren’t a lot of visible bisexuals to act as a counterpoint. Many of the uglier myths about gay people have faded in recent years as more gay people have come out and forced people who believed in ugly myths to rethink their opinions. Having just one out gay friend or family member, for instance, doubles the chance a person supports the right to same-sex marriage.

Christina, who writes about these issues frequently at her website, says that the importance of visibility is a major concern. “I sometimes find myself working my bisexuality into my conversations and my writing, even in awkward and irrelevant ways, just to make it visible. ‘As a bisexual, I prefer roasted vegetables to steamed ones.’ That’s silly–but it’s better than entire swaths of my self and my life being eradicated.”

Authored By Amanda Marcotte – See the Full Story at the Daily Beast

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Check Out Portland’s Bi Brigade

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

There are few resources available in mainstream LGBT media intended specifically for bisexual people. Most resources are limited to those who are monosexual — those who are primarily Portland Bi Brigadeattracted to only one gender. While many LGBT organizations include B in the acronym, few actually provide bi-specific resources.

A group of bisexuals based in Portland, Ore., is trying to change that with a self-produced series of videos and interactive blogs. Bi Brigade seeks to offer insight and advice from bisexual people, for bisexual people. The group launched its first video last month, and provided The Advocate with a sneak peek into the project.

“We intend to destroy monosexism through the creation of visible, valuable, and tangible bisexual community,” Cameron Kude, the creator of Bi Brigade, tells The Advocate.

Authored By Eliel Cruz – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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USA: Bisexuals at the Table

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

BisexualOn Monday, Sept 23, 2013, I found myself in Washington, DC, in a room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. With me were 31 other bi activists from around the US – and one from Canada – to meet with White House staff and federal government officials for an historic event, a true first of its kind. The meeting was a bisexual public policy roundtable, and there was a total of about sixty of us in attendance.

That day happened to be National Celebrate Bisexuality Day. For years, bisexual activists have asked for a place at the proverbial table. Now we finally had one. We had three hours to state our case and share with the federal government the unique and debilitating challenges facing our community, to hear from them the things they were doing or want to do to partner with us for change, and to build relationships that will hopefully save and improve bisexual lives.

Sounds very active, huh? Jam-packed? It was! Then why did I use the passive-voiced, “I found myself” in the opening sentence of this essay? That’s because that’s what I did. Oh, I worked to get myself in that room. I worked hard to keep myself in that room, and I busted my butt to make the most of my time in that room. But I also found myself in that room.

Authored By Amy Andre – See the Full Story at the Billerico Project

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USA: White House Held First Meeting on Issues for Bisexuals

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

BisexualThe White House held another first-of-its-kind meeting this week, this time to discuss the issues US bisexuals face.

Dot 429 reports:

Some people might see the idea of discussing bisexual issues as redundant; the B in “LGBT” does, after all, stand for “bisexual,” and legislation such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is inclusive of the bisexual community. However, the president of BiNet USA, Faith Cheltenham, told the Washington Blade, “Our community is definitely in desperate need. When we do come out, the things that happen to us are different than what happens to gays or lesbians. We won’t get promoted sometimes because we’re out and people think we’re flaky.” Cheltenham, who is married to a straight man, pointed out that many bisexuals suffer discrimination from both the gay community and the mainstream community. She also cited a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which found that sixty-one percent of bisexual women have been on the receiving end of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking due to their sexual orientation, compared to forty-four percent for lesbians and thirty-five percent for straight women.

Bisexuality gets so little coverage on both the mainstream and LGBT press – believe me, we’re always on the look-out for articles and news relating to our bisexual brothers and sisters. So it’s great to see this meeting taking place.

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USA: Majority of Bisexuals Stay in the Closet, New Poll Says

Friday, August 9th, 2013

titleA Pew Research Center poll revealed a surprising fact about Bisexual Americans – only 12% are out to friends and family. Edge Boston reports:

While 77 percent of gays and 71 percent lesbians said they are out with most of the important people in their lives, only 28 percent of bisexuals said the same. A mere 12 percent of bisexual men said they are out with friends and family. The poll highlights a gap that speaks not only to different coming out experiences, but also to a community in which bisexuals don’t feel as accepted as the acronym might suggest. So in a time of monumental strides toward equality, why do the majority of bisexuals – the largest segment of the LGBT community – stay in the closet?

I’ve never understood the stigma that’s been attached to being bisexual. While I consider myself 100% gay and may not therefore fully understand it, I could say the same for my straight friends and family, and yet I expect them to support me. So why should we treat our bisexual friends and family any differently?

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Should Bisexuals Forego Marriage Until Everyone Can Marry?

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Should Bisexuals Forego Marriage Until Everyone Can Marry?This is the first in an ongoing conversation between two bisexual activists. A.J. Walkley and Lauren Michelle Kinsey are both monogamous, bisexual, cisgender females who are in long-term relationships. A.J. is in a relationship with a cisgender male, and Lauren is in a relationship with a cisgender female. Both A.J. and Lauren are committed to remaining visible as bisexuals in spite of society’s tendency to want to label A.J. as heterosexual and Lauren as a lesbian. Together they came up with the idea for “Bi the Bi: Two Bi Writers on Big Bi Issues” as a way to help eliminate stereotypes and bias against people in the bisexual community.

Question: Should bisexual people in the United States who are in opposite-sex relationships forego marriage until all people have the right to marry the person they love?

A.J.: I have thought long and hard about this question as the relationship I am currently in has gotten more serious and long-term. I am in an opposite-sex relationship with a cisgender male going on four years now. Marriage is a subject that is never far from our minds, nor my mother’s, for that matter. For many it seems like the next logical step for us to take. I live in Arizona, and I keep thinking about what that would mean if, instead of my boyfriend, I was in a same-sex relationship. If marriage was something we both wanted, it wouldn’t matter: We couldn’t get married, period. I am a staunch supporter of marriage equality for all, and no matter who I am with at a given point, a large part of me feels like I should not enter into the institution of marriage until everyone is allowed. I don’t intend to speak for all bisexual people, but for me personally, I think I would feel a little guilty if I were to get married right now.

See the Full Story at The Huffington Post

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