- 8:40 pm - Sun, Dec 8, 2013
- 288 notes
Mandela: Why He Matters in LGBTQ History
I was having a Skype conversation with someone and talking about the price of living one’s commitment to social justice and ecological wellbeing. The sound on my television had been off. I looked up from my computer screen to see printed across the television that he, Madiba Rolihlahla Mandela (known to the world as Nelson Mandela), had become an ancestor—one of the world’s cherished ancestors.
The moment was singed with poignancy, awe and reverence. Hearing about his ancestral transition—as an activist of African ancestry who came of age as an activist shortly after the movement to get governments, corporations and education institutions to financially divest from apartheid South Africa, I connected with the enormity of the personal sacrifice Madiba made as a revolutionary activist, a political prisoner for the twenty-seven years and later as a President and iconic symbol of his country. Such sacrifice makes tragic the everyday efforts by each of us to get a seat at the table of privilege and access, enjoy middle class happiness and comfort, and receive rewards and recognition for our tacit complicity with imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. How small those efforts appear in the face of such extraordinary work by an ordinary person like Madiba—for he was not born the international figure of revolutionary struggle and moral achievement so much as he became that figure.
Given the history of his work to end apartheid and institute ethnic justice, Madiba’s commitment to social justice and ecological wellbeing has to be thoughtfully considered in the context of the early moments of post-apartheid South Africa. In the midst of tremendous pressures to focus exclusively on healing the wounds created by centuries of white supremacist oppression and state-sponsored racialized terrorism, South Africa chose, the seemingly inconceivable path for the mid 1990s, to inscribe in the founding constitution of the nation a prohibition against discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender. …
I, like many people of color with a critical analysis of race, cringe when LGBTQ organizations with little to no authentic relationship to people of color communities attempt to comment about events and issues that directly affect us, e.g., George Zimmerman murder trial verdict or heterosexism and trans-hatred in our communities. But it is equally distasteful for such LGBTQ organizations to ignore, marginalize or deny the impact or role played by people of color in the advancement of sexuality and gender equality such as the Stonewall Riots or the advancement of equality in the South African constitution. So I am honored that the American Institute of Bisexuality asked me to pen this article for Bi Magazine.
Madiba’s South Africa has special significance in bisexual history. It was shortly after Madiba’s presidency that bisexual activists and other LGBTQ delegates at the 1999 International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) World Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa commemorated the first day celebrating bisexuals and bisexual experience.
Let us not forget the person that became the symbol. He was a son, husband, father, grandfather and member of a tribal family. He was also marked as a terrorist by various governments around the world. He was a community and youth organizer. He was a political prisoner. He was a politician and statesman. He was the physical embodiment of the struggle against imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. He was the leader of a movement—fist in the air, chanting, “Amandla!” He was a person who decided that personal comforts were not enough to sustain a life, freedom and justice were worth the effort and oppression, however insidious and vitriolic, was unsustainable. If we maintain a relationship with his humanity and its complexities, we may very well gain from his life what we need to do our own work. Madiba, may your ancestors and Divinities embrace you in peace, love, and grace.
Click HERE to read the full article
is a clinical sociologist, cultural studies scholar, performance artist, and neotraditional African shaman who focuses on sexuality, gender, and spirituality themes within Africa and the Diaspora. His is the author of Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality
, co-editor of Sexuality, Religion and the Sacred: Bisexual, Panexual and Polysexual Perspectives
and is currently co-editing an Anthology of works by Bisexual/Non-monosexual Queer Men with Robyn Ochs
and is a co-organizer of the Bisexual Institute at the 2014 Creating Change Conference
in January 2014 in Houston TX. The founder of the Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality, Dr. Herukhuti is currently working on the development on a website
for conversation, e-learning, and community building related to sexuality and spirituality.
- 1:07 am - Sun, Nov 17, 2013
- 276 notes
The Bisexual Revolution Will Be Tumbled, YouTubed and Tweeted
Major magazines call us “slacktivists”, a generation of social media savvy youth whose sole contribution to social justice causes consist of clicking “like” on facebook statuses posted by various Big Gay Inc … it is most certainly not true for all of us. In fact the internet and social media are revolutionizing bisexual activism in a positive way that is anything but “slacktivist” …
Tumblr has one of the most active and vibrant bisexual communities anywhere online. There discussions are constantly going on about what it means to be a bisexual, how can we phrase and express our desires in a way that is both true and affirming and inclusive of transgender people.
New ideas are constantly created, discussed and honed, in between posts of pictures of Easter Eggs, Sneakers and much cool bisexual swag to acquire. Among the may voices are such notables as Author Jan Steckel; Academic & Author Shiri Eisner; Vlogger & Artist Ritch Ludlow; Editrix Jen Yockney; Bi Blogger Patrick RichardsFink; Writer Jacqueline Applebee; Salt Lake City’s 1 to 5 Club; 20+ years of bi political action on Bialogue; the discerning reader’s delight Bisexual Books; USA’s Transcending Boundaries Conference & Midwest Bi Activist; Bisexual London and many, many more.
Along with well known writers and academics are thousands of everyday bisexual people. There were people living in rural regions like me … There are big city bisexuals … Everyone brings a different and unique perspective to the bi tumblr community from intersecting issues of race, class, education and age, we all have a different and important perspective on what being a bisexual in the 21st century means.
It is on the internet where the original inclusive definitions of bisexual is being promoted and discussed.
Thanks to the internet’s ability to connect bisexual people, everyone has a voice. What had slowly been being morphed into a dumbed down description of bisexuality as “attraction to men and women” or “attraction to both genders” that were being promoted by the Big Gay/Lesbian Groups and their Straight Allies were deemed unsatisfactory.
And it is on facebook, twitter and tumblr that the old inclusive definitions of bisexual such as “same gender and other genders” or "more then one gender” are being reasserted, not only to other bisexuals but also to larger LGBT blogs and organizations.
Conversations about creating safe and inclusive spaces in the real world abound … When I run into a problem with my real world activism I know I can always pull out my smart phone or go to my laptop and post about it and a large supportive activist community will be there to help me out in solving it …
Far from being “slacktivists” online bisexual activists are often leading the way, writing, theorizing and discussing things among themselves and saving lives with their displays of pride. Resisting blocks on our identity by major corporations and fighting both online and off for a better world for bisexuals is an amazing thing and far from being “slacktivist”.
Click HERE to read the full article
Aud Traher is a Bisexual-Trans Activist, local LGBT organizer, blogger, local craftperson, a member of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) and anthropology major living in working in a rural community in Eastern Central Pennsylvania. Having been an organizer in the college’s LGBT Group and noticing the need for similar services that included people in the town and countryside, Aud decided to found a local LGBT Group open to all.
- 2:25 pm - Fri, Nov 15, 2013
- 233 notes
Some Thoughts on Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013
With Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) coming up next Wednesday November 20th 2013, I have always been amazed at TDOR Vigils by the apparent absence of people from the mainstream gay/lesbian commuity, their progressive allies and even sometimes cisgender people from my own bisexual community. After all, those of us who identify as transgender also identify as lesbian, or straight, or gay, or bisexual, or simply as queer-identified.
In such a diverse community, it’s easy for us to fracture into the “Gay Community”, the “Lesbian Community”, or even the “Bisexual Community” or the “Trans* Community”. When the reality is that as a bisexual transgender affirmed woman, I am a member of BOTH the transgender and bisexual communities. When transgender people are murdered, there is a high probability that they had a SEXUAL ORIENTATION! So it really makes very little sense for any LGBTQ+ people, or any person of good will to skip a Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil simply because Gender Identity is the focus …
So, it’s difficult for me to separate our community and slice and dice the horrific murders into neat little categories …
If we have learned nothing from the Prop 8 decision, and now the Trans* Youth oppression and hatred of the California fundamentalist conservatives and their strange bedfellows the TERF's, then truly our community is lost …
So how does this really work? It is actually quite simple: The hate groups demonize the transgender/gender variant community and create the catalyst for the violence that affects us all. IF they can convince the mainstream Gay/Lesbian Community that the T is a fraud, and create rhetoric of hate, they can instigate conflict which results in escalations of violence … When they yell that we should be put in institutions or camps or call for our separation or say we should be "Stomped into a Mud-hole" and the mainstream Lesbian/Gay Media remains silent, their voice carries as a singular voice of reason in an already confused discussion concerning gender identity …
It’s that simple. When you don’t attend a TDOR Event, when you don’t honor the dead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, when you don’t go to a Vigil you are sending a message loud and clear- The T is the "other" person and people like the TERFs and fundamentalists like NOM have won … So today, if no one has asked you to go to a TDOR Event, please let me invite you to come, listen and read our names, and honor the lives that we’ve lost in Our Collective Communities.
Click HERE to read the full article
Allison Woolbert grew up in Silver Bell, Arizona, a remote copper mining community (now a ghost town), where she never quite fit in. She attended Abilene Christian University, where she didn’t fit in either; ended up in the US Air Force, where she definitely did not fit in; and in 2008 was introduced to the Unitarian Universalists (UU), where she finally started to feel like she fit in. She is a two-spirit bisexual-trans*activist, the CEO of Phoenix Consultants Group a national software development firm and the developer of the Transgender Violence Tracking Project.
- 12:18 pm - Fri, Nov 8, 2013
- 158 notes
How do you tell your parents you are bisexual? (Especially if you already told them you are gay!)
Bisexual blogger Mike Szymanski explains, "Most people think that being bisexual is a step before they come to grips with identifying themselves as gay or lesbian. For me, calling myself gay was a step to realizing that there is such a thing as being bisexual.”
Since coming out as a bisexual in Genre magazine two decades ago, I’ve experienced an equal amount of support and scorn. I was amazed at the wave of disbelief, surprise, even anger … When I was straight, I paraded my girlfriend around like a trophy. When I "came out" as gay five years ago, I did so with a vengeance — moving to West Hollywood and adopting an in-your-face attitude toward anyone with even a faint whiff of homophobia.
But then, the unexplainable happened. After putting my friends and family through the wrist-wringing angst of coming out, I was seeing a woman. I made excuses: "I’m just a gay man who happens to be dating a woman" I told my homo friends. "I was never really satisfied with men," I told my hetero friends. The reality is, I’m embarrassed by the bisexual label. It has the connotation of promiscuity, hiding and sexual schizophrenia …
The most-asked question I’ve had is: "Aren’t you still attracted to men?" The answer is a resounding "YES!" Of course! When you guys are in a love-of-your-life coupling don’t you occasionally turn your head for a buffed chest? When you gals are arm-in-arm with your partner don’t you find your heart flutter a bit when a tight-thighed damsel strolls past? When a straight guy marries, does he suddenly become a eunuch? Of course not …
My mom excused my dad’s concerns. “If you’re born that way and you can’t choose, that’s something we can accept, but if you like both, then you do have a choice, and he takes it personally if you choose a guy.” My dad was more succinct, “If you can choose, why would you choose the wrong way?” … The bottom line for Dad’s irrational attitude toward me is the very same reason I’m criticized by friends in the homosexual community—my chosen “family.” My gay friends complain, “You’re embarrassing (or diluting) ‘the family’”
Click HERE to read the full article
Mike Szymanski is a critically acclaimed journalist including two Hearst Awards for investigative reporting & feature writing; a film critic; and popular columnist who writes the widely read Bisexuality Examiner. A bisexual activist since the early 1980s, he first came out as a gay writer but then found himself sneaking around with a girlfriend for a few years. So then he had to come out second time, this time as bisexual. He was previously a media coordinator for BiNet USA, and now teaches journalism at UCLA. He is also an award-winning author of several books with bisexual themes, including co-authoring the Lambda Award Winning “Bisexuals Guide to the Universe”.
- 3:09 pm - Wed, Oct 23, 2013
- 219 notes
Love Is Me & You
Ever since college when I slowly came to grips with my bisexual identity, I have always had a fear in the back of my mind. A little voice in every relationship has always been there, questioning, “If you commit to one gender, won’t you miss the other genders?” I have feared that having the capacity to love people all across the gender spectrum, as well as a desire to be monogamous in my relationships, would mean that I would also ultimately be unhappy in one way or another. I want to pledge my life in partnership to another person at some point, to start a family – but that means deciding to commit to one person of one gender identity for the rest of my life. Such a permanent prospect is terrifying in so many ways …
As a bisexual activist, I have spoken at college campuses, PFLAG meetings and conferences from the East Coast to the West Coast and back. I have told teenagers coming to grips with their own identities that bisexuality is a beautiful thing – having the capacity to love others regardless of sex or gender is a gift. As I have spoken out against the stereotypes that bisexuals are sex-crazed, greedy and incapable of monogamy, internally I have wondered if that last cliché might not, in some small way, be true, at least for me …
It has been my mother above all others who has made me realize that, regardless of whether one is gay, straight, bisexual or any other sexual identity on the vast spectrum, when it comes to love it is about the individual. With many relationships come and gone, my mom has helped me realize one over-arching fact: regardless of my sexual identity, finding love doesn’t mean I no longer have the capacity to be attracted to anyone else, it just means that I want to be with my chosen significant other more than anyone else.
It also doesn’t mean that I stop being bisexual.
Click HERE to read AJ’s Personal Essay
A.J. Walkley is a bisexual activist and the author of “Queer Greer” and “Choice”. Her third novel, “Vuto”, inspired by her experience as a US Peace Corps Health Volunteer in Malawi East Africa has just been released. Walkley currently resides in Arizona, USA.
- 10:59 pm - Tue, Oct 22, 2013
- 75 notes
‘Gravity’: Upending Gender and Sexuality Phobia in Mainstream Movies
The day after Alfonso Cuarón’s new film ‘Gravity’ scored a record-breaking opening weekend at the box-office, CNN quoted several astronauts – all male – poking holes at the film’s technical details and plausibility. To which director Cuarón responded simply, “It’s not a documentary. It’s a work of fiction.” In another all-time low, a separate article took issue with the underwear that Sandra Bulock’s character wears in the film.
Let’s just admit it: ‘Gravity’ is a sensation! It’s an edge-of-the-seat, visually and aurally stunning thrill ride … Let’s also admit that men are threatened by it. And they should be.
Women have had to sit through countless movies and watch men drive cars … men get stabbed … and still be able to get up and jump off buildings with their damsel-in-distress in tow Women have to tolerate scene after scene endorsing the cisgendered, hyper masculine, unquestionably Kinsey 1 heterosexual identity of the male protagonist. An identity that is validated by pairing the man with a female character, one whose corresponding lack of skills or bravery is meant to further spotlight the male character’s superhuman qualities.
‘Gravity’ completely messes with the formula. The male astronaut Matthew Kowalski – played by the epitome of Hollywood maleness, George Clooney – is a supporting character, literally hurled off into space within the first twenty minutes. He’s also a half-wit, incessantly chattering, annoying little Bimbo – the kind of character that Sandra Bullock herself has played in a number of male-dominated films … After initial help from Kowalski, Stone does everything by herself in this film. And when she finally lands on Earth, there are no weeping husbands or boyfriends carrying engagement rings to greet her.
The end to gender and sexuality stereotypes in mainstream movies may have finally come from the unlikeliest of sources: America’s Sweetheart herself, Ms. Sandra Bullock.
Click HERE to read the full Film Review
Anil Vora is a principal partner at Indian Tiger Films, a film production company spotlighting films about LGBTQ people of color. A self-confessed geek, VORAcious in his consumption of books and films, Anil is also an actor and playwright, and teaches private classes on the history, symbolism, and appreciation of Bollywood films.
Note: only a mildly spoiler-ish review, especially since this more a visual and an interior-monologue, thinking-person film, not an intricately plotted who-done-it.
- 2:14 pm - Fri, Oct 11, 2013
- 249 notes
Bisexual by Birth ▼ Out and Active by Choice
Live Openly • Coming Out Day • October 11th