Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Has Bi organizing gone the way of TV Guide?

Once upon a time, every "tv watching" home needed a TV Guide. It told you what was on at what time. Without it, you were forced to stand by the tv and manually switch between channels until you found something good.
Eventually, cable companies added a scrolling guide, which morphed into a searchable guide.
There was no longer a need for a paper guide.

Similarly, there was a time when bisexuals were isolated, lacking in references, depictions in the media, or acceptance by the larger glbt community. Bi organizing grew out of a need for a generation of self identifying bisexuals to find out about
ourselves, to connect with others who felt the same way, to create a large enough presence to be taken seriously by the glbt community.

These days, there are whole libraries of bi themed books, dozens of discussion groups online, myspace, facebook, yahoogroups.
We have bi characters in film and on tv. And almost all major glbt organizations have out bisexuals on staff.

We set out to do what we meant to do. We're now at a crossroads. Do BiNet and other national bi groups step back and become merely a directory for other bi groups? Do we serve solely as a 501c3 placeholder for smaller bi groups to fundraise through?
Or do we retire?

We are run currently by the same generation who saw the original need for bi activism/organizing. We are lacking perspective
to make these decisions on our own. We desperately need people willing to join the board volunteer 5 or so hours a week and
help us steer BiNet into this century.

We can't seem to find anyone. Is that our answer? Is it possible - with war, the economy, health insurance, famine, and all
the other issues today, when compared to the current level of bi acceptance... that people's volunteer hours are better spent elsewhere? If that is the case, are we fooling ourselves by keeping this going?
Do we need to step back and let BiNet go away? Keep the listserv and let all else die? Eventually, the few remaining board members will fade away and the decision will be made.


Feb. 21st, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
don't throw the baby out with the bathwater (from queer and postqueer ljs)
or in this case, the tv guide with the newspaper. unlike the tv guide, bisexuality is not a vestige of days gone by. i think part of the problem is that the ideal "bisexual agenda" is more radical than either the feminist or the gay agenda, and many people who identify as "bisexual" arrive at that label from heterosexuality. it seems to me that people who fall in the middle of the kinsey spectrum (i.e. most people) but arrive at that label from/through homosexuality are more likely to choose a label that emphasizes the fluidity of sexuality--i.e. striking down both the hetero and the homo of binary sexuality and normativity.

thus "bisexual" as a category, rather than an identity category, refers to a massive number of people; but as a self-chosen identity category, refers far fewer. in my mind, this reflects the problematic association of the word "bisexual" with a system of binary sexuality, which is exactly what is undermined by the existence of bisexuality.

it seems to me that, rather than rallying behind the bisexual flag, the need is for a greater movement to reconsider the construct of binary sexuality and think about sexuality in a new way. who is the "we" of bi-organizing? i think that if the bisexual community establishes itself with the exclusivity and normativity that has inevitably seeped into gay and lesbian politics, we (in a much broader sense) will all suffer. in other words, the problem with bi-organizing as i understand it is the construction of "bisexuality" as a third sexuality and an alternative to hetero or homo, a conservative effort that would do more harm than good to young people groping to find their categories.

the magnetic attraction of nonestablished labels (bicurious and heteroflexible among them) reflects people's tendencies and evident desire to opt out of a system of sexuality in which everything is defined by precedent or by practice. the diversity of identity labels that ensues makes it difficult to make a flag that promotes acceptance, tolerance, and fairness for a specific identity group. but this difficulty should not be interpreted, as curriedspam does, as a problem that requires greater advertising but as an ideological issue. the true cause behind bi-organizing should be the erasure of binary sexuality. instead of bringing another minority into nominal acceptance, why not turn to the greater cause? then instead of having a dwindling parade of bisexuals, we could all exercise to become a little more flexible. better yet, instead of calling the single hard-working volunteer, maybe we could continue to support the normatively unthinkable and unimaginable and imagine into reality a world in which there is no "default" or exclusivity in sexual politics; in which the rainbow spectrum would represent everyone who supports sexual freedom and free sexuality.

an addendum: of course people don't like labels when the label in question is bisexual. there are strong, supportive communities on both side of the too-tall fence. it is difficult to imagine that the bisexual community will ever be able to summon the people and resources to be its own institution when there are preferable "defaults." this problem of community organizing, which is where you're coming from, leads directly to the ideological conclusion i made...