Beyond Bisexuality

sunriseI assume that, like me, you have been following the news lately.  It seems that the past two weeks have brought a slew of major tragedy and change.  First there was the devastating earthquake in Haiti, then major civil unrest in central Nigeria.  Closer to home, there was what turned into an upset senatorial election in Massachusetts.

Because I have friends who are Haitian-American, the earthquake has turned into something that is far from merely images of the screen.  Likewise as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who had been stationed in West Africa, I have been following the tensions in Nigeria for years.  Needless to say, as Massachusetts resident, I was deep into the special election that many across the United States had thought was a shoe-in for the Democrats.

What was not particularly on mind was being bisexual.  In fact, over the past fourteen days, that part of my life has really taken a back seat because of issues that were more pressing as far as I was concerned.

Of course there are BLGT people in Haiti and Nigeria and the election results in Massachusetts are not what the BLGT community as whole is enthusiastic about.  But the events in question affect everyone in whole societies.  Yes, the BGLT community has special concerns that are often overlooked, but these events did not single it out in particular.  Death and injury visited Haiti and Nigeria without concern for sexual orientation.  Senator-elect Brown’s victory has people on both sides of the aisle asking, “What next for the country?”

Whether election, earthquake or civil unrest, these circumstances require collective reflection and collective action.  It is the human dimension that matters most, not individuals or smaller groups.  The question becomes how we can come together to improve conditions, rebuild and move forward.  In the case of the election, there are implications for how lawmaking will go forward, but go forward it must.

For me, this has been a good time to see how I fit into the larger picture and how I can act to make things better beyond my own little world.  I suggest that this is something that we bisexuals can do as well.  There is work to be done that relates to us all.  All Haitians need roofs over their heads and food to eat.  All the Nigerians of Plateau State need peace and stability.  All of us in the United States need to figure our how to move our nation forward.

Naturally, there will be a moment when we have to press forward on the bisexual community’s interests.  There will also be work to do to support BGLT Haitians and Nigerians.  However right now seems the moment to think about the whole and maybe we will keep the bigger picture in mind as we move forward.

Massachusett: Where Same-sex Marriage is Legal

gay marriageHi everyone, my apologies for being gone for a while — I am getting over an injury that has prevented me from typing much until now. I recently visited the great blue state of Massachusetts, where same sex marriage is legal and has been since 2004, and did my best to record my experiences and observations.

For starters, the lies of the religious right became even more amusing. They would have us all believe that society would literally fall apart at the seams if same-sex marriage becomes legal. I found the opposite to be true. MA seemed to be functioning quite smoothly. Both opposite sex couples and religious institutions (both of which I saw plenty!) are doing just fine, and no one is “persecuting them.” There is a very active Catholic population.

From what I saw — most of the people seem pretty liberal and easygoing (unless the Red Sox8 loose!). Boston itself is very diverse, and they appear to be proud of that fact. I saw much diversity and all kinds of couples-interracial, opposite sex, and same sex. A pleasant surprise was that I saw several same sex couples walking about openly holding hands in the “mainstream” public. Where I live, you really don’t see much of that except in the ‘gay section” of town, even though I don’t exactly live in a conservative area. I saw one same sex couple sitting in a park being very affectionate with one another-and no one around them seemed to care. There wasn’t starting, or pointing, or laughing. It was just another couple being cute with each other like all the couples. Now granted, MA has had five years to get used to the idea, but I really hope what we are seeing is a trend-that hopefully in a few years in most states, the idea won’t be such an alien one, and a same sex couple will be just “another couple”.

Boston of course, is the proud home of the Bisexual Resource Center. They had a meeting while I was there, but unfortunately I couldn’t attend. I did talk to some people at the center, which is downtown, and they told me that Boson has one of the largest bi networks in the country, and that the BRC participates heavily in pride every year. They were preparing for pride, and they do a lot to promote bi visibility. Although Boston is better than most places when it comes to bi visibility, there is still work to be done, and I’m glad that the BRC is there to do it! I was really proud to speak to them and hope to actually go to a meeting next time I visit.

I did have a chance to check out the BTLG bar scene, and I met some really interesting people, B’s, T’s, L’s and G’s all of which seemed cool with the fact that I was bi. The bars were pretty interesting.

Unfortunately, no trip seems to be complete without at least one homophobic experience, and even though MA is a great liberal state, it’s no exception to that rule. From what I was told by the locals, up there it happens quite a bit less then a lot of other places, but it still does happen. I personally experienced it myself-coming out of a gay bar where I’d met up with some friends who unfortunately had to leave. I was planning where to go next, when big guy approached me and started screaming homophobic slurs at me. I admit my response wasn’t the smartest-I yelled back at him. He started walking toward me. I pulled out my pepper spray and said “if you come any closer I will spray you”. He stopped and we stood there. What happened next was totally unexpected. There were some guys walking by, on their way to the bar I had been at, and they stopped and defended me-and told him to leave me alone. Outnumbered, he left. They and I started talking and hung out for a while, and they escorted me to the subway to make sure I got there safely. They told me to be careful, that homophobes in that area like to come out at night and especially like to pick on girls coming out of BTLG bars alone. I guess no area is perfect unfortunately, but I have to admit it was nice to have my own little gay liberation army! To me this really underscores how we all need to stick together when confronted with bigotry.

On the whole, I had a lot of fun, and I hope to go back soon. I also hope that my experience of seeing so many same sex couples blend will be something we’ll all start to see in many more states!