Ah, the end of the fiscal year brings many things with it, new budgets to create, records to unearth and reconcile, and vacations to take – lest the days be lost. So, I combined my time off with a whirlwind tour of the bisexual world Manhattan style.
My first stop on Thursday, May 29th, was the 21st Lambda Literary Awards. The awards were held in New York this year and I had been invited to be one of the four judges for the bisexual category. Having jumped at the opportunity, I wanted to see the capstone event of the award being handed out. I actually had the pleasure of sitting close – without knowing until the announcement – to the winner, Jenny Block, author of Open, a memoir about Block’s own open marriage. To me, the book reads as an elegant manifesto for both bisexuality and polyamory.
Friday, I took a day to enjoy other aspects of New York. On Saturday, I was part of the Putting the “B” in the LGBT Summit sponsored by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center and the Bi Writers Association. Through Bi Writers, I was part of the organizing committee for the event that included a keynote address by Robyn Ochs, one of the foremost bi activists working today, and panels dealing with the myths that haunt the bi community, marriage, the military, working with the media, and being more inclusive of bisexuals.
The summit was capped off with dinner at a local restaurant and followed by Bi Lines II – also held at the Center – a celebration of bisexual artists and performers. Four of the finalists for the Lammy – including Block – read from their nominated books. There were other writers at the podium as well as scenes from a one-woman play and musical performances.
And yes for the record, I was co-host for the evening. Let’s just say this was a working vacation, and I have never been so pleased to spend my vacation time working – OK, I’ve never been pleased to spend my vacation time working, but this was a special case.
You see, I managed to reconnect with the larger bi community out there – in fact, to reconnect with the queer community. Since the event was in New York, my initial contributions to the effort were mainly through email and telephone. Once I got to New York, I was able to be present to and at events that brought queer folk together from around the US at a minimum. Present, though, were bi people of every age, color, marital status – including open and monogamous – not to mention bisexuals married to both same-sex partners and opposite-sex partners. Why, there was even a whole transgender contingent.
What I saw was our community – our beautiful bisexual community – together in all its variety. Now, this in only the third year a bisexual category has been present within the Lambda Literary Awards, only the second iteration of Bi Lines, and only the first summit on bi inclusion in the media. But, all of this shows how vibrant and alive our community is. To paraphrase Twain, rumors of our non-existence are greatly exaggerated.
We may be marginalized within the larger BLGT community, as author/speaker Keith Boykin put so well in his introduction to the bisexual and transgender Lammy awards, but we are alive and kicking. We have been and we remain an integral part of the fight for BLGT civil rights, even though the G, the L and even the T nowadays seem to get the most play. It doesn’t matter: We bisexuals are here, steady and sure.
And now dear readers to you: What are you doing to increase bi visibility and to declare for our community? What alliances are you building? What political action are you undertaking? What art are you creating? Speak out. Speak loud. Speak proud. We’re all in this together.