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What's in a name?

I Love Being Bi
As bi groups around the globe prepare to recognize the 9th annual Celebrate Bisexuality Day (Sept 23rd), I'm trying to learn to let go.

As the event continues to take on traction, there's a morphing of the name in some circles. Some groups call their event a "bi pride" event or they celebrate "Bisexuality Day". This drives me insane.

Why? Shouldn't I be proud that this is growing, regardless of the name? Sure. Absolutely. If you had told me 10 years ago this would be still going on, I'd have thanked you for being so overly optimistic.


Perhaps it's because 3 of us spent 6+ months brainstorming on a name, a date, and a theme. The name is not just a name to me - it was out gift to our community.

So, here's my last attempt (this year) to define what went into making this celebration and why its named as it is.

In Early 1999, 3 BiNet USA national coordinators: Michael Page (originator of the bi pride flag and original owner of the Bi Cafe), Gigi Raven Wilbur (first weekly bi themed radio show hostess, out of Texas of all places), and I started brainstorming on bi day.

In the 90's, much of the bisexual activism involved one of three actions:
1) "we're here too" at "gay" events; trying to prove we were an important part of the GLBT family
2) countering the belief that bisexuality is just a phase. Because so few people identified as bisexual in the previous decades, we'd prop up the one or two people we could find who had identified as bi for a decade or two and say "see? it is possible to be bi for life!"
3) Fight our biggest obstacle - invisibility. Because most people at the time see other's sexuality based on their current partner or whom they see you eyeballing, few bisexuals were/are recognized as such, but misidentified as straight or gay

The common theme in the above actions is a kind of defensiveness. we ARE here; we ARE queer; gosh darn it!

Many of us felt like we were on this endless treadmill, fighting the same battles every day. We'd see colleagues drifting away, burnt from years of the same battle with little "real" progress.

If you really study civil rights/diversity acceptance, you'll see that people start to respect people once they respect themselves. As long as we were in this endless begging for inclusion, we weren't addressing the respect issue.

So, those two themes - wanting to respect ourselves and wanting to celebrate the previous year's battles were the dual driving forces behind CBD.

We wanted to celebrate our fabulousness and remind our peers to celebrate THEIR fabulousness. On this one day, who cares is the less enlightened can't see us or if the national GLBT groups/media weren't including us? Who cares if some ignorant lesbians see us merely as disease carriers?

The day was not an about education day. It was not a coming out day, it's not about glbt partnerships building or proving ourselves to anyone else.

It's not a "pride" day, though many of us our proud. it's not about usurping a gay event and making a smaller one for ourselves. it's a truly unique day, just for us.

What we asked people to do was find some time on this day to celebrate who they are. That could be lighting a candle, saying a prayer, buying a bi pride flag, getting together with other bisexuals for brunch, having incredible sex, march somewhere, whatever they desired.

We picked September because it was Freddie Mercury's birthday month (though not his actual birthday because it didn't fall on a weekend day that first year). We finally went with the 23rd as it was one of our birthday's.

And we sent out a bunch of emails. the rest, as they say, is history. Michael, Gigi, and my gift to the community was the seed. However you all chose to grow that seed is up to you.

Happy CBD

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
softfruit
Oct. 7th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC)
This was really the ninth ICBD?

OK, I promise I'll make something happen in my city next year for the tenth one :D
joelpietersen
Feb. 25th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
Riveting blog - cheers. I think your article was really absorbing. Thanks!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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