8:29 pm - Sat, Mar 22, 2014
1,286 notes

My Boyfriend (and I) Featured in The New York Times Sunday Magazine

Say popular bisexual author and columnist Mike Szymanski,

For much of the past two decades, my boyfriend John Sylla has taken a backseat to me in the "bisexual activism" world. He’s tagged along with me to bisexual conferences, he’s suffered through long and boring activist meetings, he was forced to edit The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe a book I co-wrote with my bi-friend and fellow writer Nicole Kristal.

Today that has all changed, and I couldn’t be more proud.

John Sylla, and the great work he has done with the American Institute of Bisexuality, is being featured in The New York Times Magazine of the weekend of March 23, 2014 and it is a big deal.

Not since the Newsweek cover declared: Bisexuality. Not Gay. Not Straight. A New Sexual Identity Emerges,” has there been such a positive portrayal of bisexuality in the mainstream media. And that was July 17, 1995. It took nearly two decades to get another story like this done!

It’s a partially first-person story by the handsome journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis and it details the dinner in West Hollywood that we had with him, and some of the things we discussed over lots of wine …

Yes, it’s surrounded in the story with people I knew before I ever met John. Regina Reinhardt, the therapist from San Diego, is pictured, so is Gary North. Robyn Ochs … is quoted in the article … In fact, the woman who inspired me to write The House that Bisexuality Built … my longtime friend [Ed Note: an American Institute of Bisexuality + Lambda Literary Board Member + editor of Bi Magazine] Denise Penn, is the reason why John and I met. She coaxed me to write that story that made the cover of the Orange County Blade that she was editing, (and for years I went on her public access TV show) and that is the reason John looked me up.

He left yellow tulips on my front doorstep with the note …“I would like to get involved in the bisexual movement, and I would like to meet you.”

Click HERE to read Mike’s 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.

4:58 pm - Sun, Mar 16, 2014
306 notes

bisexual-books:

image

Recently, I was looking for a copy of the Jan-March 2014 issue of The Journal of Bisexuality. I couldn’t access it online through my local university because of a database embargo (basically, the publisher won’t release it electronically until 18 months after publication) , so I decided to get a copy of the article I wanted through interlibrary loan

Folks, interlibrary loan is your secret best friend! Basically, you ask your library for a book, and they don’t have it themselves, they go and ask other libraries to send the book to them. Interlibrary loan is a great way to find bisexual books if your library doesn’t own any. If you are in the United States, most libraries will do this for free. I love interlibrary loan! I read tons of books on interlibrary loan.  One of the tools for interlibrary loan is WorldCat, a catalog of library holdings across the world, including both print and electronic holdings. And that’s when I discovered we have a problem:

There are exactly 60 libraries in the world that own the Journal of Bisexuality, and only 37 libraries in the United States.

This is a huge deal. The Journal of Bisexuality is the premiere journal for bisexuality studies, and only 60 libraries have it!

The Journal of Bisexuality has existed for over 10 years now. It’s the only peer reviewed journal that focuses on the study of bisexuality and bisexual people. It’s sponsored by the American Institute of Bisexuality and has an upstanding reputation, focusing on issues such as new research, therapy, media, politics, and bisexual differences from the heterosexual, gay, and lesbian communities.  Mainstream, hegemonic studies of sexuality regularly ignore or exclude bisexuals. But the Journal of Bisexuality has been one of the forerunners in establishing the respectful study of bisexual people as an academic field. If so many libraries are missing it, this is a real issue for researchers.

We’ll let public libraries off the hook for a minute – lots of public libraries don’t carry academic journals, because they are expensive and there isn’t as much demand. But college and university libraries are a different matter.  There are 4,495 Title IV-eligible degree-granting institutions of higher education in the United States alone (2,774 of them traditional four-year institutions).  This means that if you are at a college or university and you want to read up on some bisexuality studies, there is only 0.8% chance that your university library has it.

Just to give you some context, approximately 683 libraries worldwide own the Journal of Homosexuality – which isn’t a great number, but it’s a darn sight better than 60.

I know not every library in the world can have every journal, and the Journal of Bisexuality is not appropriate for every collection development policy. It’s an expensive academic journal and wouldn’t be cost-effective for many small libraries. I myself work at a community college library, and we’ll never buy the Journal of Bisexuality because it doesn’t directly support our technical degree programs. And it’s also possible that some libraries simply don’t have listings for it. Community center libraries may have it, but not have the resources to catalog them. Certain archives don’t list their materials in World Cat at all.

But for major universities, most of which use WorldCat and most of which have a Genders Studies program, the Journal of Bisexuality should be a core part of the LGBT collection. Several of these universities also have LGBT/Queer Studies programs as well.   To have the Journal of Bisexuality missing from so many gender studies collections is a big disappointment.   Anyone who claims to be doing research in gender and sexuality should have access to this journal. 

Is there anything else the fills the need for bisexual studies? At this time, unfortunately, the answer is no; no other journal consistently fills the need for the study of non-monosexual identities.

Do librarians believe bisexuality is not an essential part of gender and sexuality studies? Or do they assume that bisexuality is subsumed under the study of gay men and lesbians? Both answers are possibilities, both are incorrect, and both are equally damaging.

~Ellie

PS: I’d also like to add that anyone who still thinks this isn’t a problem should read/listen to this first - Sarah

Please request that your library subscribe to the Journal of Bisexuality

3:46 pm - Fri, Mar 14, 2014
1,569 notes
Bisexual - A person whose enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is to other people of various sexes and/or gender identities. Individuals may experience this attraction in differing ways and degrees over their lifetime.
7:35 pm - Tue, Feb 25, 2014
109 notes
Bi Magazine Presents Our 2013 Fantasy Oscar Picks for This Year’s Best LGBT Films
In which Bi Magazine’s intrepid International Movie Maven Anil Vora tells us all who should have Really won the 86th Academy Awards!
Dallas Buyers Club is a well-made film,  but the main character was controversially reimagined as a homophobe who used queer people as a niche market … As for its critique of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the  medical establishment, watch the far superior documentary How to Survive a Plague (2012) by David  France.
Philomena is a much better  film with an exquisite performance by Dame Judi Dench … Kill Your  Darlings by openly gay director John Krokidas did not get any love this  awards season … Blue is the Warmest Color has already  generated enough debate to leave everyone in an exhausted heap … If we had an  Academy Award for LGBT films, the following would easily qualify for a Best  Picture nomination:
Bruno & Earlene Go to  Vegas
The Happy Sad
The Last Match
Pit Stop
Stranger By The  Lake
More than  anything, 2013 was filled with some of the most intriguing, provocative, and  entertaining documentaries on LGBT themes like Al  Nisa: Black Muslim Women in Atlanta’s Gay Mecca about a group of  Atlanta-based women on being black, female, Muslim, and lesbian; Big  Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton (bisexual content) about artist,  activist, and filmmaker Broughton; Born This Way about the challenges  faced by LGBT people in Cameroon; I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of  Wakefield Poole (bisexual content) about accomplished Broadway dancer  and choreographer Poole pushing boundaries of art, sexuality, and musical  comedy; Lesbiana: A Parallel Movement about  the feminist movement of the 1970s of writers, philosophers, and activists who  chose community with only other women; Mr.  Angel about an extremely controversial transgender advocate, educator, and porn pioneer Buck Angel; and The  New Black about how some people felt the same-sex marriage debate divided  African-Americans during Maryland’s ballot initiative campaign in 2012.
My pick for Best Documentary and Best Costume Design is One  Zero One: The Story of Cybersissy & BayBJane. A bizarre, fascinating, and gorgeous  exploration of friendship between two drag queens totally opposite in character  and desire
Click HERE to read the full article
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.

Bi Magazine Presents Our 2013 Fantasy Oscar Picks for This Year’s Best LGBT Films

In which Bi Magazine’s intrepid International Movie Maven Anil Vora tells us all who should have Really won the 86th Academy Awards!

Dallas Buyers Club is a well-made film, but the main character was controversially reimagined as a homophobe who used queer people as a niche market … As for its critique of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the medical establishment, watch the far superior documentary How to Survive a Plague (2012) by David France.

Philomena is a much better film with an exquisite performance by Dame Judi Dench … Kill Your Darlings by openly gay director John Krokidas did not get any love this awards season … Blue is the Warmest Color has already generated enough debate to leave everyone in an exhausted heap … If we had an Academy Award for LGBT films, the following would easily qualify for a Best Picture nomination:

More than anything, 2013 was filled with some of the most intriguing, provocative, and entertaining documentaries on LGBT themes like Al Nisa: Black Muslim Women in Atlanta’s Gay Mecca about a group of Atlanta-based women on being black, female, Muslim, and lesbian; Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton (bisexual content) about artist, activist, and filmmaker Broughton; Born This Way about the challenges faced by LGBT people in Cameroon; I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole (bisexual content) about accomplished Broadway dancer and choreographer Poole pushing boundaries of art, sexuality, and musical comedy; Lesbiana: A Parallel Movement about the feminist movement of the 1970s of writers, philosophers, and activists who chose community with only other women; Mr. Angel about an extremely controversial transgender advocate, educator, and porn pioneer Buck Angel; and The New Black about how some people felt the same-sex marriage debate divided African-Americans during Maryland’s ballot initiative campaign in 2012.

My pick for Best Documentary and Best Costume Design is One Zero One: The Story of Cybersissy & BayBJane. A bizarre, fascinating, and gorgeous exploration of friendship between two drag queens totally opposite in character and desire

Click HERE to read the full article


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.

11:54 pm - Fri, Feb 21, 2014
750 notes

India’s Stonewall

This is a first in a series of articles about LGBT activism and a look at bisexuality in India.

On a sweltering day in July 2009 the Delhi high court, in a landmark decision, struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 377 is an archaic anti-sodomy law imposed by the British but one that remains in force in several former British Colonies around the world. LGBT activists in India had worked tirelessly for more than a decade to facilitate this legal victory.

It was relatively short-lived, however, as the Supreme Court of India decided last month to reverse the Delhi High Court’s decision and reinstate section 377…

People across the world have expressed outrage at the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling. Rallies and protests were held in several major cities worldwide in a Global Day of Rage. Local activists are calling this ruling the Stonewall of India’s LGBT rights movement and have already launched major initiatives in their continued fight for equality.

Homophobia is not the genetic encoding of the people of India. If the colonizers implemented laws restricting freedom of gender and sexual expression, what was it like before they arrived?

I decided to ask Ruth Vanita, Ph.D., one of the preeminent scholars on same-sex issues in Indian culture and society. Dr. Vanita is an Indian academic, activist and author who specializes in lesbian and gay studies, gender studies, British and South Asian literary history. She is the author of several books including the Lambda Literary Award finalist Same-Sex Love in India: Readings from Literature and History that she co-edited with Saleem Kidwai. Her latest book Gender, Sex and the City explores the representation in Urdu of polyamorous male and female bisexuality in precolonial Lucknow. She is now a professor at the University of Montana in the Liberal Studies Program.

Click HERE to read the article including the full interview with Professor Vanita.


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.

3:24 pm - Sat, Jan 25, 2014
340 notes

Ready for Creating Change 2014 – The Bisexual Institute

The Bisexual/Non-Monosexual Organizing Institute at Creating Change 2014 will have a lot of innovative elements this year. A Twitter version of the institute will occur simultaneous to the activities in the room using the hashtag #BiCC14. People who can’t be physically present can participate in a twitter conversation with each other and the institute participants using that hashtag.

M’Kali-Hashiki will tweet and lead the twitter conversation. To our knowledge, this is a first for an institute at Creating Change.

In addition to the Twitter conversation, we will be using Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) techniques in the institute. TO is a process of social analysis, critique and change that incorporates games and activities from the theatre. I’ve been training in and practicing TO since the late 1990s and am excited to bring this resource to the discussion of bisexual organizing in the institute. We will warm up to the TO activities with Breath Work facilitated by M’Kali-Hashiki, Small Group Discussions organized by Paul, and an adaptation of a Life Mapping Exercise I facilitate with my students each semester at Goddard College. BiNet USA provided financial support for some of the life mapping materials.

Paul, M’Kali-Hashiki and I really want to make sure that the institute engages the personal as political and a holistic understanding of social justice organizing. We hope our efforts pay off in the experiences of everyone involved and the impact the institute has on their work …

The Institute which is open to ALL non-monosexual queer folks and allies who are deeply committed to supporting us through their actions, resources, access and/or privilege. takes place at Creating Change Houston 2014 on Thursday, January 30th, from 9am-6pm Central Time at the Hilton-Americas Houston TX USA, and through #BiCC14 on Twitter. We also look forward to seeing all you at in the Suite Bi + Bi” the official Bisexual Hospitality Center during the 5 day event.

Click HERE to read the full article about the 2014 Organizing Institute


Dr. Herukhuti 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.

He 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 and is working on the development on a website for conversation, e-learning, and community building related to sexuality and spirituality.

2:29 pm - Thu, Jan 16, 2014
268 notes
Queer (In)Justice: A Review
Simultaneously informative and infuriating, “Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States” is a searing examination of queer experiences—as “suspects,” defendants, prisoners, and survivors of crime …
Painstakingly researched and written by Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock – all of whom have worked tirelessly for social justice causes – the book uncovers the underlying, interlocking causes and effects of how our thinking about sex, class, race, and gender is contributing to a system that is both out of control and dangerous, particularly to those who deviate from socially mandated gender and sexual norms …
The authors credit the work of LGBT advocacy organizations to repeal sodomy laws and pass hate crimes legislation. But they also contend that, in mainstream gay discourse:


“messages are crafted to emphasize reassuring images of LGBT normalcy and friendliness, not to embrace and highlight the struggles of segments of the LGBT population that continue to be criminalized.”


It is a great companion book to ‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness’, Michelle Alexander’s searing critique of the war on drugs and the resulting surge in criminalizing people of color in the United States.
Click HERE to read the full book 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.

Queer (In)Justice: A Review

Simultaneously informative and infuriating, Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States is a searing examination of queer experiences—as “suspects,” defendants, prisoners, and survivors of crime …

Painstakingly researched and written by Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock – all of whom have worked tirelessly for social justice causes – the book uncovers the underlying, interlocking causes and effects of how our thinking about sex, class, race, and gender is contributing to a system that is both out of control and dangerous, particularly to those who deviate from socially mandated gender and sexual norms …

The authors credit the work of LGBT advocacy organizations to repeal sodomy laws and pass hate crimes legislation. But they also contend that, in mainstream gay discourse:

“messages are crafted to emphasize reassuring images of LGBT normalcy and friendliness, not to embrace and highlight the struggles of segments of the LGBT population that continue to be criminalized.”

It is a great companion book to The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander’s searing critique of the war on drugs and the resulting surge in criminalizing people of color in the United States.

Click HERE to read the full book 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.

11:28 am - Thu, Dec 26, 2013
625 notes

The Controversy Around ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’: A Case Study in Bi Erasure and Public Hysteria

Blue Is the Warmest Colour is an unfortunate title for a great film… The story is deceptively simple: Adèle a high-school student, meets Emma an advanced Fine Art student with blue hair at a lesbian bar, they fall in love, have incredibly hot sex, live together, and eventually break up … In the deafening cacophony of OMG, there are naked women having sex here are some absurd and reactionary comments —-

Almost every review and headline has characterized this film as a “lesbian love story”. Emma may be lesbian. We learn that she has had relationships only with women. But the film deliberately avoids labeling Adèle’s identity.

Dr. Pepper Schwartz, sexologist and Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington, made this emphatic claim in an article for CNN: “The chilling part of this film is that it’s basically the story of an adult woman poaching on a high-schooler”. Like countless critics, Dr. Schwartz reduces the film to porn that she would not recommend to teenagers … Dr. Schwartz seems unconcerned by the fact that Adèle chain-smokes but warns that Adèle’s lovemaking with a woman who is her partner is too damaging for us to watch …

Then there are those saying the sex is unreal, too clinical, filmed through a male gaze, blah, blah, blah. Why aren’t we celebrating the fact that these scenes even exist? There are three explicit sex scenes adding up to nearly 10 full minutes of nude, girl-on-girl action in an award winning film …

And finally, the ugly truth that no one wants to admit. The film beautifully explores how the sexual barometer can grow cold and change the nature of a relationship. For those who have not seen the film, minor spoiler alert for what follows. In a harrowing scene, Emma breaks up with Adèle for reasons that would be devastating to any relationship but pose a particular challenge to same-sex relationships: class difference and biphobia

Few films have accurately captured the quotidian life of the French middle class … The more successful and profitable that Emma becomes as an artist the more she shuts down emotionally. She also begins to feel shame about Adèle’s modest ambition to become a schoolteacher … Is Emma furious that Adèle cheated on her? Or that Adèle had sex with a man? Or is Emma simply jealous that Adèle hasn’t reached emotional frigidity like she has?

The film offers no easy answers. It simply documents the devastation on Adèle and, in the end, only hints at a brighter future for her.

Click HERE to read the full article


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.

9:33 am - Wed, Dec 18, 2013
116 notes

Hawaii Senator Thinks Bisexuals May “Exploit” State’s Gay Marriage

Hurrah, "gay" marriage is now legal in Hawaii. Only problem is, at least one state senator who has been against it all along is now saying that the law doesn’t pertain to bisexuals. This is of course, not true.

The Hawaiʻi Marriage Equality Act of 2013 took effect December 2nd 2013. The Marriage Act allows same-sex couples to exercise the freedom to marry in Hawaiʻi on the same terms as different-sex couples. There is nothing in the law that addresses in any way, how either of the parties self-identify.

HI State Senator Mike Gabbard, a Blue Dog (i.e socially conservative) Democrat, voted against the same-sex marriage bill a number of times, but his latest reason is particularly biphobic. In the passage of the same-sex laws, the Hawaii lawmakers “seem to have forgotten their bisexual brothers and sisters.” He declared that bisexuals would not be allowed to marry.

Additionally the Hawaiian Republicans were also at the forefront of the biphobia, sponsoring radio ads telling listeners: "bisexual marriage is right around the corner."

Where both State Senator Gabbard as well as the Republican Party went badly wrong is in their interpretations of bisexuality.

While mainstream lesbian/gay groups along with their progressive allies continue to denounce and disprove the ridiculous statements that the anti-marriage activists persist in making, sadly the bigots seemed to have hit the jackpot with the scary "bisexual marriage" menace. Instead of countering the slur and defending the largest part of the LGBT Community, pro-marriage advocates have either stayed silent, given confused answers, made jokes or some combination of these, while trying to seek "clarification" from mainstream gay/lesbian groups.

May we respectfully suggest that in the future, when faced with discussing issues pertaining to the bisexual community people should get into the habit of always asking reputable national and regional bisexual groups such as the American Institute of Bisexuality and BiNet USA or the Bisexual Organizing Project and the Bisexual Resource Center instead?

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.

8:40 pm - Sun, Dec 8, 2013
324 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
Dr. Herukhuti 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.

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


Dr. Herukhuti 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.

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