The Bisexuals In Uganda

lgtbIn the past few months, so many of the BLGT blogs and organizations have been writing about the possible anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. Proposed by an extremist religious group. There are also rumors that some homophobic politicians in the USA here have been supporting this group.  The bill makes any type of behavior that is not heterosexual a crime punishable by death, and it goes after anyone who in any way helps BLGT people—if you are a parent or a friend who knows someone who is queer and you don’t turn them into the state, you could be executed as well! It has been proposed supposedly to “protect children from homosexuals who recruit.” There has been much pressure from both domestic and international groups on the Ugandan government to drop the proposed bill, and many Ugandans of all orientations and political affiliations are against it as well. The most recent development is that instead of execution, BLGT people and their allies might face life imprisonment. Even more disturbing is that a chapter of the Kill the Gays movement is organizing in Newark, New Jersey.

As I’ve been reading about this bill, I’ve wondered where the bisexuals in Uganda stand in all of this. Obviously many of them face the same threat as the gay Ugandans, but they may or may not experience threats unique to them as well—and are they even out as bisexuals and visible in this fight for human rights? If some of them are married to opposite sex partners, and could possibly hide—dare they risk coming out and fighting alongside their queer brothers and sisters, even though they risk imprisonment, torture, and death? The answer turns out to be a resounding yes.

I got invited to this face book group, and I started researching more about bisexual organizations in Uganda and what they are doing to combat the bill. I found a blog and a listing about Bisexual Movement Uganda. On a list of BLGT organizations on Wikipedia, this group is listed as “a group of university students fighting for a livable environment for all LGBTs in Uganda.” Their website says: “The vision of Bisexual Movement Uganda is to have a well organized Bisexual Movement in Uganda which is aware and capable of advocating and defending for their fundamental Human Rights.” It goes on to list some great goals and objectives, enumerate the many problems facing all BLGT people in Uganda, and explain how Bisexual Movement Uganda is working with other Ugandan BLGT groups to try and change social attitudes and fight for equality.

Bisexual Movement Uganda fights against the bill and for the rights of all BLGT people in Uganda, while affirming and contributing to a positive and visible bisexual identity, and giving bisexual people in Uganda a place to turn to that reaffirms their needs and identity. The overall message is one of empowerment and unity, and a courageous way for Uganda’s bisexual community to show that they are not afraid to speak up and stand by their BLGTQ brothers and sisters.

Here in our own bisexual community, as we also join in the fight to help all BLGT people in Uganda, let’s especially remember to do what we can to help out  Bisexual Movement Uganda, as well as other organizations fighting for BLGTQ rights in Uganda, by spreading the word about its existence, giving donations, and any other way we can.

Bisexual Veteran Talks About DADT and Community

bisexual-prideCliff Arnesen is the president of the New England Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Veterans, Inc., and a bisexual veteran who has worked tirelessly to help end the destructive military policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell(DADT).  His organization lobbies on behalf of BLGT vets and service members, and also provides services to those who have been discharged under DADT, as well as those who have to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, poverty, homelessness, and several other issues.  This past week Arnesen was kind enough to answer some interview questions.

Interview is from an email Q & A Session

Bi Social Network—Maria: How has Don’t Ask Don’t Tell affected you personally and how do you think it affects the bisexual community?

Cliff Arnesen: I know several service members who have been discharged under DADT. Some were discharged because they admitted their orientation, as they could not stand to live their lives as a lie; and others on hearsay; that has now been changed by Secretary of Defense Gates. The DADT policy specifically includes language in the Dept. Of Defense to discharge bisexual service members, along with gays and lesbians.

The Department of Defense Regulations Regarding DADT Policy State that if you make “Homosexual statements” you are suspect:

“You make a statement that demonstrates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts. This may include language or behavior that a reasonable person would believe intends to convey the statement that you are a homosexual or bisexual.

U.S. military regulations say this about bisexuals in the military:

“Bisexual means a person who engages in, desires to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual AND heterosexual acts.” “A member [of the Armed Forces] shall be separated if the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual; unless there is a further finding that the member is not a homosexual or bisexual.”

Bi Social Network—Maria: Can you tell us a little bit about your organization and what you all do?

Cliff: Here is our mission as stated on our site:

The New England Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Veterans, Inc., is a not-for-profit, membership based, support organization for homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered and heterosexual, active duty, reserve and veteran members of the United States Armed Forces, their families, friends and supporters.

Priorities include: providing assistance with upgrades of all less-than-honorable military discharges based upon GLBT sexual orientation(s), VA benefits awareness, and advocating on behalf of GLBT veterans who suffer from AIDS, Homelessness, PTSD, Gulf War Syndrome, Blindness, Drug & Alcohol Abuse, Institutionalized discrimination, and other problems.

Also, to the extent permitted by law, the organization morally opposes the inhumane “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and all sodomy laws of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which are arbitrarily applied against homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered service members; and encourages our own members, as well as other groups in a position to do so, and to support their repeal.

Bi Social Network—Maria: What kind of opposition have you faced with regards to your work and where has it come from? Are most anti-DADT organizations you’ve encountered inclusive of bisexual people?

Cliff: Personally, I wish we as human beings did not have to label our sexual orientation(s). But, as is the case in the U.S. Military where bisexuality is “specifically” encoded as a basis for discharge, I must “speak up” when it is not fully integrated in the equation of the generic “gays” in the military,”  that is espoused by many gay organizations.  The same is true for both the gay and straight media – whether intentional or unintentional.

Therefore, in order to secure human and civil rights—not special rights—and win the battle against the military and gain acceptance within society, I submit that all GLBT people must have, and maintain the mindset that “we are family.”

Otherwise, we are shooting each other in the foot!  So, to the “family” I state that bisexuality is NOT a counterfeit behavior. It is a true “sexual orientation.” The fear lies within the mindset of people that oppose the concept of bisexual people as having “heterosexual privilege.”

To those folks I state that people have lived and died without ever having found love in this world. So, love is where one finds it. Thus, no love by anyone of a specific sexual orientation or gender identification or expression should be judged by others! We GLBT people must remember that we are all children of God. We need each other to fight the real enemies: the religious right; perverted organized religions [and] cults; fundamentalists; conservatives; white supremacists; and so many others who hate GLBT people and use the Holy Bible as a means and tool to try and justify their sick hatred of us—collectively.

We must ALL band together to fight the injustice of the aforementioned dark forces of evil. Otherwise, we defeat the very purpose of trying to secure human and civil rights for each other—which is the ultimate injustice!

To this effect, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

So, I rest secure in the knowledge that [all] GLBT people have a rightful place in the universe and within our society, as we are God’s children, and God does not make mistakes!

As for myself, I have learned in my painful journey through life that “love is where one finds it.”

Bi Social Network—Maria: Do you think Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will be overturned?

Cliff: Yes! But, I pray it will happen before the November mid term elections. Many Americans are angry at President Obama and Democrats about the healthcare bill, and the backlash will be felt far and wide.

Bi Social Network—Maria: What can we in the bisexual community do to support your work?

All my bisexual brothers and sisters need to be “visible” in terms of writing or calling President Obama and members of Congress to let them know that YOU are BISEXUAL and want the policy repealed. Ditto, for [all] [g]ay newspapers and media which “omit” the term [and] name bisexual in their respective articles.

And lastly, here is a letter which our board wrote to President Obama; as well as a photo of my testimony before Congress.

“As a bisexual in the military, there is no distinction in terms of punishment,
no refuge in being bisexual. You get the same consequences; you don’t get half a discharge.”
–Cliff Arnesen Quote from Lesbian News: October 2001

Bi Social Network—Maria: Thank you so much for your valuable input!

Sunday’s Rainbow “Torch Run” from San Francisco to Cologne

Germany, Will Launch World’s Largest Gay Sports Event

Symbolic “Rainbow Run” will travel to New York, Vancouver, Sydney, Amsterdam and Chicago before heading to Germany for this summer’s Gay Games

eventsSan Francisco, CA – Less than 10 days after the Olympic flame was lit at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the LGBT sporting world will begin its own countdown to the 2010 Gay Games that take place later this year in Cologne, Germany. The International Rainbow Memorial Run (IRMR) gets underway on Sunday, 21 February, 2010 at 10:00 am in the San Francisco National AIDS Memorial Grove.

Every four years, the Rainbow Run helps the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) celebrate the lives of those who have graced the Gay Games movement and served or participated in the Games. “In many ways, this is our own ‘torch’ run,” said Brent Nicholson Earle, founder and organizer of the IRMR, “and we begin by renewing our connection with San Francisco, ‘our Athens,’ the city of our birth.”

San Francisco Celebration

On Sunday, 21 February 2010, the FGG will launch the official countdown to the Cologne Gay Games with a press conference and quilt ceremony at San Francisco’s National AIDS Memorial Grove. Led by event creator, New York activist Brent Nicholson Earle, the event celebrates friends of the Gay Games lost to AIDS and other diseases, including US Olympian and Gay Games founder Dr. Tom Waddell.

After performances by Cheer San Francisco and remarks by California State Senator Mark Leno and San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty the special Memorial Rainbow Flag will be carried on a symbolic run to San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium, the founding stadium of both the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers, and the home of the Gay Games I (1982) and Gay Games II (1986) Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The AIDS Memorial Grove is located at Middle Drive E at Bowling Green Drive in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Kezar Stadium is at 334-670 Kezar Drive, at the SE corner of Golden Gate Park. The event gets underway at 10 a.m.

Olympic Charter

“As the world celebrates the Vancouver Winter Olympics, most don’t know that the Olympic Charter does not expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or health status,” said Kurt Dahl and Emy Ritt, FGG co-presidents. “The International Rainbow Memorial Run not only launches the quadrennial Gay Games, but also helps to remind us of the relevance of our movement in a world that still makes it difficult to compete and be openly gay, [bisexual, transgendered] or lesbian.”

World Tour

The Rainbow flag will travel to each of the former Host Cities of the Gay Games with symbolic or 5K runs held in each city. The flag will travel to Vancouver, Canada (Gay Games III, 1990), New York, USA (Gay Games IV, 1994), Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Gay Games V, 1998), Sydney, Australia (Gay Games VI, 2020), and Chicago, USA (Gay Games VII, 2006) before traveling to Cologne, Germany, host of Gay Games VIII, 31 July to August 7, 2010. Similar events are being held throughout Germany in cooperation with local AIDS service organizations.

Cologne 2010 Opening Ceremony

The International Rainbow Memorial Run will make its way to Cologne after a tour through Germany in late July. On the morning of Saturday, 31 July, a special ceremony will be followed by the official International Memorial (5K) Rainbow Run. The flag and flag bearers will enter RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne’s famous soccer stadium, that evening during Gay Games VIII Opening Ceremony leading the parade of athletes.

To learn more about the history of the Gay Games movement, or to learn about an upcoming stop by the International Rainbow Memorial Flag, visit www.gaygames.com. For information about the 2010 Gay Games, visit www.games-cologne.com (English) or www.games-cologne.de (German).

About the Gay Games:

The Federation of Gay Games is the international governing body that perpetuates the quadrennial Gay Games and promotes the event’s founding principles of “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best”™. The Gay Games was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and was first held in San Francisco in 1982 with 1,350 participants. Subsequent Gay Games were held in San Francisco (1986 – 3,500 participants), Vancouver (1990 – 7,300 participants), New York (1994 – 12,500 participants), Amsterdam (1998 – 13,000 participants), Sydney (2002 – 11,000 participants), and Chicago (2006 – 11,700 participants). Gay Games VIII will be held in Cologne, Germany on 31 July-7 August 2010 and information is available at www.games-cologne.com.

“Gay Games,” “Federation of Gay Games,” the interlocking circles device, and the phrase “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best” are trademarks of the Federation of Gay Games, Inc. Trade marks are registered in the USA, Canada, Benelux, the UK, Germany and Australia.

BSN Starts New Format with ‘Bi Talk’ Radio

If you  missed our first co-hosted radio show called “Bi Talk,” don’t despair—it goes into podcast mode after 15 minutes of our live programming, where you can catch all the hot bi topics and dish that was discussed!

Peter Ruggiero and Adrienne Williams are the new bi duo—along with Maria who will be following all the action via chat, to answer your most heated questions and comments!

This is the beginning of a whole new Bi Social News! Why not get in on the action and let your bi voice be heard!

You can also go to iTunes and download our podcast under Bi Social News.

Catch the latest podcast streaming audio right now!

Gay Games VIII: Cologne 2010, Call for Volunteers

volunteer group hands togetherPack Your Bags and Book Your Trip to Germany – Be A Part of It!

Cologne, Germany – Even if you can’t spike a volleyball, play the trumpet, or get a “perfect 10” off the high dive, the 2010 Gay Games has a way for you to “Be A Part Of It!” Gay Games VIII, 31 July to 7 August 2010 in Cologne, Germany, is recruiting volunteers from around the world to be part of the globe’s largest LGBT sports & cultural event.

“At the heart of the Gay Games are the approximately three thousand volunteers who make the Gay Games run like clockwork,” said Emy Ritt, Co-President of the Federation of Gay Games. “Volunteers are the ones who are ‘backstage’ organizing, managing, supporting and assisting at the sports and cultural events all week long. Gay Games volunteers get to meet people from all over the world, and gain valuable experience at this week-long festival. It’s truly a great cultural experience!”

Volunteers are needed in all areas, including:

  • Medical care for athletes
  • Supervising facilities
  • Ushering spectators and guests
  • Officials and referees
  • Hospitality services for VIPs
  • Support cultural events
  • Official photographers
  • Language interpretation
  • Accreditation staff
  • Support for the Opening Ceremony

Up to 12,000 artists and athletes from more than 70 countries are expected at Gay Games VIII Cologne 2010 Sports & Cultural Festival. To volunteer, visit www.games-cologne.com, click “Take Part” and then “Volunteer” to enter the online volunteer sign-up portal. (In Deutsch, www.games-cologne.de, Mitmachen, und Volunteers.)

Volunteer Benefits

“If you’re lucky enough to experience freedom and equality in your home town, volunteer work is a great opportunity to help others experience this freedom in Cologne,” said Annette Wachter, CEO of Games Cologne. “Your help can also have a hand in showing the world that there is more to LGBT life than parties and parades.”

In addition to the good will and great experience, benefits for volunteers include reduced price admissions, special uniforms, surprise events and parties, and certificates for participation. Some companies provide for release time and credit for volunteer work, so check with your employer for additional benefits. All travel and lodging costs must be borne by the volunteer, though volunteers can apply for hosted housing. (Hosted housing priority is given to participants.)

Volunteer Requirements

Since the duties of volunteers are varied, people must complete an online profile so that they can be assigned to a job most suited to their skills. All volunteers must be 16 years of age at the time of the 2010 Games. “The same principles that apply to the Gay Games apply to volunteers,” said Wachter. “Everybody is welcome, whether male or female, old or young, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or straight.”

Register as a volunteer today at www.games-cologne.com, selecting “Take Part” and then “Volunteer.”

About the Gay Games:

The Federation of Gay Games is the international governing body that perpetuates the quadrennial Gay Games and promotes the event’s founding principles of “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best”™. The Gay Games was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and was first held in San Francisco in 1982 with 1,350 participants. Subsequent Gay Games were held in San Francisco (1986 – 3,500 participants), Vancouver (1990 – 7,300 participants), New York (1994 – 12,500 participants), Amsterdam (1998 – 13,000 participants), Sydney (2002 – 11,000 participants), and Chicago (2006 – 11,700 participants). Gay Games VIII will be held in Cologne, Germany on 31 July-7 August 2010 and information is available at www.games-cologne.com.

“Gay Games,” “Federation of Gay Games,” the interlocking circles device, and the phrase “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best” are trademarks of the Federation of Gay Games, Inc. Trade marks are registered in the USA, Canada, Benelux, the UK, Germany and Australia.

 

April is STD Awareness Month

stdWe’ve all heard the statistics. We all know that HIV/AIDS is an epidemic. We all know that other STD’s are out there and that it’s dangerous. But let’s face it–sex feels good. Let’s get down to brass tacks, we’re not likely to stop having it–gay, straight, or bisexual, we’re always going to want the pleasure of sex. So, if in the face of diseases that can kill, we’re not going to stop having sex then what do we do? What and where is the balance?

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. To that end, April is STD Awareness month. And as part of the Get Yourself Tested campaign, the Centers for Disease control and prevention have launched a campaign to raise awareness of and to normalize routine STD testing. The STD Awareness microsite (linked above) is full of useful information and resources to raise awareness. Such as the fact that half of all new STD infections occur in 15-24 year olds, many of whom have no symptoms.

Living in a world where dedicating and entire month to STD awareness speaks to the need to spread the word–to let knowledge be the infection that we spread. It has to be about more than condoms and safe sex and all the rhetoric that we’ve all heard. It has to be about community and support. The BLGT community is one of the most vociferous groups in existence. It is my recommendation that voices become raised and knowledge becomes shared. I hope you’ll all join me in not only getting tested, but also supporting anyone in your circle of friends and anyone in your family that wants or needs to get tested.

Victory for Same-Sex Marriage as DOMA is Repealed

dojIt certainly has been a busy week in the BLGT community–specifically when it comes to the controversial topic of same sex marriage.  In a landmark ruling, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was ruled as unconstitutional in Federal Court.  DOMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996 and is known for establishing two things:

  1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) needs to treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state. (DOMA, Section 2)
  2. The federal government defines marriage as a legal union exclusively between one man and one woman. (DOMA, Section 3)

The Defense of Marriage Act has been controversial since it’s inception, and more recently was a campaigning point for President Clinton’s fellow Democrat and successor–President, Barack Obama.  President Obama was very vocal about the repeal of DOMA during his campaign, saying in an open letter on his website:

I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
– a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal
only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not
discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does.

Although President Obama’s administration has been quiet on the DOMA ruling and is still reviewing the rulings, there have been other developments that have given a strong indication of the American Peoples’ opinions regarding the union of same sex couples . . . .

Elsewhere in the country, Manhattan’s Borough President, Scott Stringer made a decision regarding his own marriage.   A decision that–in and of itself–has made very clear, his opinion regarding same sex marriage. Stringer is a staunch supporter of everything “New York” from buying his coffee at the local coffee shop to rooting for the Jets. In a move considered by some to be highly unusual for someone that takes such pride in the place where they live, Stringer and his fiancee (Elyse Buxbaum) have decided not to have their upcoming wedding in New York–opting instead to get married in Connecticut, a state where same sex unions are legal. Mr. Stringer has been quoted as saying:

If enough people who have somewhat of a profile–not just politicians, but artists and business leaders–start going into Massachusetts or Connecticut and show New York how embarassing it is that you can’t get a marriage license for same-sex couples, then we will change things.

It would seem that as DOMA’s repeal has put the decision back in the hands of the states, that Stringer’s move makes it known that the leaders of our states are listening to the opinions of the BLGT demographic. Showing us all what a difference the voices of a few can make.

Isolation, Health, And The Bisexual Community

Isolation_StreetAt the beginning of June, a study came out about the health differences of BLGT people versus straight people. When I heard about it I figured it would show something similar to what previous studies with the same idea have shown: that overall BLGT people have worse health, more depression and higher suicide rates than straight people. Considering the hurdles so many have to face, such results are unfortunately not surprising.

However, this study was different in two ways: first, its sample was from one entire state, Massachusetts, and second, a major difference was noticed and pointed out about bisexuals and how they compare to both straight people and gay and lesbian people. The ultimate finding: bisexuals, especially bisexual women, have the worst health of all of the groups that were studied.

This quote sums up some of the more alarming findings: “Compared to heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals were more likely to say their health was worse on 16 of 22 measures. They were more likely to be tense or worried, to smoke, have asthma, abuse drugs, or be victims of sexual abuse. Bisexual men and women were also more likely than heterosexuals to say they faced barriers to getting health care, had higher cardiovascular risk, felt sad, and had contemplated suicide in the past year. Binge drinking was more common among bisexual women than heterosexuals. Bisexuals, but not gays or lesbians, were more likely than heterosexuals to be poor. Bisexual women were the most likely to report having been sexually assaulted. ‘All told, bisexual women had the worst health,’ Conron [the scientist who did the study] said in an interview. ‘We were surprised that there were such differences for bisexual people compared to gay and lesbian people.’ Although the study didn’t investigate the causes for the gaps among people with different sexual orientations, Conron said she hopes further research will look at the social stigma bisexual people may face not only from heterosexuals, but also from gay men and lesbians. ‘Bisexual people may feel in between the two and may not necessarily be fully accepted by either group,’ she said. ‘I think it merits further investigation. We know isolation is bad for health.’ ”

I have to admit, it was nice to see the researcher of a study come right out and admit that isolation is a big problem for many bisexuals instead of trying to make the usual excuses. Of course, this is not good news. But as much as I hate to say it, is it really surprising? Bisexuals face some of the worst ostracism of any sexual minority group. Often we are rejected by the straight world, and contrary to popular belief, this can happen even if we are in an opposite-gender relationship if we admit to being bisexual. We start to hope there is an accepting community out there for us, and hearing the letters BLGT gives us hope.

However, too often, we face ridicule, exclusion, and social pressure, as well as being told we don’t exist, and being blatantly made fun of in some cases. Who wouldn’t have issues when their existence in constantly questioned? The very first comment under the article that totally misses the point of it illustrates how far we still have to go: “They may have the poorest health, but they get to play for both teams. So they have their perks.”

So, what can we in the bisexual community do about this? Fighting for acceptance is the first step, and not backing down about it. If we are excluded from something, we should do what the transgender community does (and possibly team up with them!) and have our own version of the event. We also need to reach out to newly out bisexuals or people who may be about to come out as bisexual; they need to know that there is a community that supports them. Secondly, there need to be health programs specifically aimed at bisexuals to help us deal with our unique set of problems, something other than just lumping us in with “BLGT.”

I’ve read that more health programs aimed at bisexuals are popping at BLGT centers, so that is a good place to start. Bisexual organizations need to strongly encourage such programs. Thirdly, there need to be more studies like this one done that take the unique experiences of bisexuals into account; hopefully more such studies will lead to a dialogue between the straight, bisexual, and gay and lesbian communities. I hope this study and others like it will get peoples’ attention and eventually lead to some gains, understanding, and acceptance for the bisexual community.

Challenging the Myth of the Bisexual Man

coupleA man enters a coffee shop, dressed casually but still looking somewhat pristine. Waiting in line, he shifts back and forth on his feet, nervously. He orders a Chai tea Latte, vaguely wondering if the drink choice is “too obvious” for what has brought him to the coffee shop. Taking a seat at a table near the back of the coffee shop, but close to a window, he waits, watching intently. And he waits. And he waits. After what seems like an eternity, but in reality is little more than an hour, he leaves, wondering a bit why he’s been stood up. He replays the events leading up to the coffee shop meeting in his mind’s eye. It had been a simple enough, if somewhat clichéd setup. He’d placed a personal ad on a bisexual men’s site. The man that had answered it had seemed somewhat similar to himself, though he’d been married. That in and of itself hadn’t been an issue though, because it was just a cup of coffee—wasn’t it? Now, latte in hand, he just wondered why? Why is it that finding another like-minded bisexual man is so hard?

A bisexual male can find themselves asking why a lot. If straight is normal, homosexual is increasingly tolerated and bisexual women are vociferously approved by both genders—why is the bisexual male such an outlaw? If a man admits he is bisexual—why is he subject to such ridicule by the straight and homosexual population? Perhaps most of all is, if a man is openly bisexual—why is it so hard to meet another openly bisexual man?

Studies have been done, books written and surveys taken. Alfred Kinsey’s original report onSexual Behavior in the Human Male suggests that 3 out of 10 men will have a same sex encounter in their lives. A recent Gallup Poll shows that over 50 percent of men and women in America consider lesbian and gay relationships to be “morally acceptable”—though the poll says nothing about bisexuality. Perhaps this is amongst the reasons that many bisexual men still live comfortably “in the closet.” A quick search of the craigslist.org personals in the “men seeking men” category reveals that there are just short of 300 ads in a 24 hour period and that roughly 10 percent of those are from men proclaiming to be bisexual married men. Perhaps this lends itself to many of the myths about the bisexual man. It would seem—if one listens to the myths—that the monogamous, non-promiscuous, committed bisexual man is as rare as a unicorn. Men like Robert Winn challenge this opinion.

Robert, 40, has been bisexual since he met his wife Christine, 41, when the two were college. The couple’s nearly 18 years of monogamous marriage would seem to challenge the myth that bisexuality is “just a phase” as Robert has been openly monogamous for that entire 18 years. Robert is not immune to scrutiny and ridicule, however:

“There is a whole list of assumptions of what my life might be like, that somehow she is some sort of front for me because I’m not willing to accept I’m gay. People are confused by bisexuality. There’s just not a lot of support for people who fall in the middle like me.”

Bisexual men do ask why a lot. Perhaps a shift in the paradigm is needed—perhaps it isn’t a question of why the bisexual man is such an outlaw. The question that seems more suitable would seem to be—why are so many people confused by a person that is willing to love so indiscriminately?

Someone Thinks Bisexuals Are Lying-Again

biRecently for me there’s been some good news and some bad news; the good news is I haven’t run out of or had to look far for topics to write about for several weeks now.  The bad news is it’s because there’s been so much biphobia going around I’ve been kept busy answering it all!  The culprit this time is a site I honestly thought was more open minded; BiPeopleMeet.com.  Having not only used the site myself but having had several friends on it, I’ve always found it to be a welcoming place for bisexuals, as well as for BLGT people and straight people.

So imagine my surprise when a couple of weeks ago this page began circulating on the internet: The Big Lies People Tell In Online Dating.  About halfway down the page, the fourth “lie” said this: “‘I’m bisexual.’ REALITY: 80 percent of self-identified bisexuals are only interested in one gender. BiPeopleMeet is a gay- and bi-friendly place and it’s not our intention here to call into question anyone’s sexual identity. But when we looked into messaging trends by sexuality, we were very surprised at what we found. People who describe themselves as bisexual overwhelmingly message either one sex or the other, not both as you might expect.” If you want to see just this itself without the other “lies” expanded out, check out this page by Raspberry mousse: BiPeopleMeet believes that bisexuality is one of online dating’s “biggest lies.”

It seems that bi people meet tries to say it’s not trying to question sexual identity, and then proceeds to do just that.  Nowhere in the “argument” is there even a hint as to other reasons why these so called “trends” might be true (one obvious reason is that men tend to message back much more than women on any dating site, so it makes sense one gender would message more, and there are many other reasons as well) or try to look at this in any way besides implying that the people who say they are bisexual on the site must mostly be lying.  What’s also sad is that when I posted this, even some so called “allies” tried to say it wasn’t that big a deal, that it was just “data”.  I asked if it would be just “data” if the same thing was posted about black people or gay people; for some odd reason I didn’t get a response.  Of course it wouldn’t be; it only seems to be acceptable when it’s about bisexuals.

So, what is the best reaction?  Some people have chosen to boycott Okcupid.  I thought about it at first, but others from the bisexual community thought it would be best to use this as a reason to start a dialogue; and several have written emails to Bi People Meet, as did I.  In my opinion that is the best way to deal with something like this; to write polite but firm emails explaining why such posts are unacceptable when they negate the existence of an entire group.  One way is to use the comments section at the bottom of the “lies” page on Bi People Meet; from what I understand they do actually read their comments.  Another way is on the main site, in the lower right corner; there is an “about us” section that will lead you to the contact page.

One good thing that has come out of all the biphobia in recent weeks: I’ve seen the bisexual community more united than I’ve ever seen it before.  Biphobia is quickly recognized and responses are swift; and there is more and more dialogue between different parts of the community. I sincerely hope that all of this adversity will help us to step up, unite, and find our voices.  Let the dawn of our awakening begin.