January's Bi+ Book Club selection will be "Kiss of the Fur Queen" by Tomson Highway. We will meet on Wednesday, January 2 at 7:00 pm at Quatrefoil Library.
Summary: "Born into a magical Cree world in snowy northern Manitoba, Champion and Ooneemeetoo Okimasis are all too soon torn from their family and thrust into the hostile world of a Catholic residential school. Their language is forbidden, their names are changed to Jeremiah and Gabriel, and both boys are abused by priests.As young men, estranged from their own people and alienated from the culture imposed upon them, the Okimasis brothers fight to survive. Wherever they go, the Fur Queen — a wily, shape-shifting trickster — watches over them with a protective eye. For Jeremiah and Gabriel are destined to be artists. Through music and dance they soar."
BOP has been informed that the author of the book selected for our January Bi+ Book Club meeting, Sherman Alexie, faces numerous accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. First, thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. Our book club organizer was unaware of these allegations, and has enthusiastically agreed to select a new book, which will be done tomorrow.
Second, we recognize the severity of these allegations, and believe the accusers. We sincerely apologize if the book club's selection of this book was harmful to our membership, the bi+ community, or abuse victims anywhere. We understand that even honest mistakes can cause painful feelings, and we're committed to learning from this mistake as we move forward.
Please feel free to reach out, either publicly or privately, if there is any discussion you wish to have regarding this issue. We welcome feedback and conversation.
In the coming days, we'll have a discussion about how to prevent mistakes like these in the future. To those who responded to this post--THANK YOU for the call in. We're listening.
The 2018-2019 BOP Board
SAVE THE DATE!
Bi-Lesque: Unicorns Unite
The Pourhouse Minneapolis
1/26/19 @ 7PM
Make sure to follow:
Facebook: Bi-Lesque Minneapolis (under construction)
Are you looking for a night of entertaining activism to combat bi-erasure and bi-phobia? Bi-Lesque is back with a magical bang to fundraise for one of the largest bisexual non-profits, Bisexual Organizing Project-BOP, and is an opportunity for all non-monosexual’s to have a safe space to celebrate their identity! #Bilesque #UnicornsUnite #BOP#bisexualactivism #nonmonosexuals #bisexualcommunity #bivisibility #endbierasure#nonprofitfundraising @bi_org_project
First of all, Happy Belated Pansexual Pride Day!
Second of all, let’s stop touting pansexuality as a new-and-improved, more highly evolved version of bisexuality. That’s not what it is.
There exists an ugly myth that because the prefix “bi” means “two”, bisexuality reinforces the concept of a gender binary and only recognizes two genders — men and women. It is often assumed this also excludes trans men and women. In light of these myths, pansexuality is sometimes put forth as an enlightened, gender-inclusive alternative to bisexuality, because “pan” means “all”, and therefore subverts the gender binary.
Bisexuality is simply the attraction to more than one gender. Full stop.
Pansexuality is the attraction to all genders, or anyone regardless of gender.
Semantically, bisexuality encompasses pansexuality, but there is a point where we can distinguish between the two, and this is important to much of our community.
Bisexuality has never been defined - by actual bisexuals - as the attraction to only two genders. This misconception developed somewhere outside of our community, all-too-conveniently during a period of time when bisexuals were making a lot of headway organizing in partnership with the trans community, which inexplicably came to a screeching halt shortly thereafter...
Anyway, to illustrate this history, we can point to The 1990 Bisexual Manifesto, published in the Bay Area Bisexual Network’s literary magazine “Anything that Moves”, and as archived by BiNet USA:
“We are tired of being analyzed, defined and represented by people other than ourselves, or worse yet, not considered at all. We are frustrated by the imposed isolation and invisibility that comes from being told or expected to choose either a homosexual or heterosexual identity.
Monosexuality is a heterosexist dictate used to oppress homosexuals and to negate the validity of bisexuality.
Bisexuality is a whole, fluid identity. Do not assume that bisexuality is binary or duogamous in nature: that we have "two" sides or that we must be involved simultaneously with both genders to be fulfilled human beings. In fact, don’t assume that there are only two genders. Do not mistake our fluidity for confusion, irresponsibility, or an inability to commit. Do not equate promiscuity, infidelity, or unsafe sexual behavior with bisexuality. Those are human traits that cross all sexual orientations. Nothing should be assumed about anyone’s sexuality, including your own.
We are angered by those who refuse to accept our existence; our issues; our contributions; our alliances; our voice. It is time for the bisexual voice to be heard.”
This manifesto is a fundamental piece of bisexual history and culture. It explicitly denounces the idea that bisexuality means an attraction to only two genders, and the idea that there are only two genders. Yes, “bi” means “two”. The duality of the “bi” in “bisexual” refers to the combination of homosexual and heterosexual attractions - some people extend this to a definition of bisexuality as “attraction to genders similar to and different from one’s own”.
“Bisexual” is a relatively old term compared to much of our queer lexicon. It predates most of the gender-expansive language we have today. This doesn’t mean the word “bisexual” is incompatible with it. Some individuals who call themselves bisexual don’t have access to or knowledge of this language yet. There may also be bisexual individuals who are transphobic, but that’s their damage, and doesn’t reflect a problem with the word itself. For instance, there are also some transphobic gay and lesbian folks, but no one would infer that being gay or a lesbian is inherently transphobic.
Today, many individuals and organizations use “bi+” as an umbrella term for all of the identities and labels the non-monosexual (attracted to more than one gender) community uses. This includes, is not limited to; bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, queer, fluid, and unlabeled. This term is awesome and useful because it recognizes bisexual as the oldest and still most widely used term, while also being inclusive of the many other terms our community uses to describe our identities and experiences. It is also very common for individuals to use multiple labels simultaneously, or change labels as they move through various life stages or community spaces.
Bisexual writer, activist, and educator Robyn Ochs has coined the ultimate definition of bisexuality:
“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
This definition has resonated with much of the bi+ community, because it encompasses the entire range of bi+ experiences. No two people in the bi+ community experience attraction the same way. The space between and beyond homosexuality and heterosexuality is an immense and boundless sexuality galaxy. A handful of Greek and Latin prefixes falls painfully short of describing its entirety.
Furthermore, people of color are more likely to identify as bisexual than white people, particularly women of color. Youth of color identify as bisexual at higher proportions than white youth, and more white youth identify as pansexual than youth of color do. The bisexual identity is culturally significant in many communities of color. There is more tied to the bi/pan “label wars” than sexual orientation. What else are we implying by putting pansexuality on a pedestal above bisexuality?
Pansexual is a real, valid, and beautiful identity. So is bisexuality. They don’t conflict with one another. They can and do coexist, because language is imperfect, messy, and always changing. It will continue to change. Is there a difference between bi and pan? Well, yes and no. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Bisexuals and pansexuals are part of the same community, and deal with the same issues and challenges surrounding our sexual orientations. If you are not part of this community, you don’t get to participate in conversations about our language and labels, or write shitty uninformed think pieces that nobody asked for.
Administrative Assistant, Bisexual Organizing Project
BOP has plenty of fun events to keep you connected to community this December!
Bi+ Board Game Night
Tuesday, December 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Minneapolis Central Library: 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55429
Come meet us for a low-key game night at the Minneapolis Central Library in the Mark E. Johnson Conference Room N202. We will bring a few games to choose from. Feel free to bring some of your favorite games to share. Food is not allowed in this space. Water will need to be in a sealed container. The meeting room is on the second floor - there is an elevator. Bathrooms are accessible and there are drinking fountains. This event is limited to 20 people. Also, feel free to just come and hang out and chat, knit, etc. Please avoid scents. Dress comfortable.
Bi+ Book Club: "Refusing to be a Man" by John Stoltenberg
Wednesday, December 5 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Quatrefoil Library: 1220 E Lake St, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407
Do you love to read and talk about books? Join BOP's Bi+ Book Club, a place to read fiction, biography, creative non-fiction, history, theory, and activist works. Come discuss readings and ideas about, for, and by bisexuals and other non-monosexual folks. Hosted by Cary.
Summary: Since its original publication in 1989, Refusing to be a Man has been acclaimed as a classic and widely cited in gender studies literature. In 13 eloquent essays, Stoltenberg articulates the first fully argued liberation theory for men that will also liberate women. He argues that male sexual identity is entirely a political and ethical construction whose advantages grow out of injustice. His thesis is, however, ultimately one of hope - that precisely because masculinity is so constructed, it is possible to refuse it, to act against it and to change. A new introduction by the author discusses the roots of his work in the American civil rights and radical feminist movements and distinguishes it from the anti-feminist philosophies underlying the recent tide of reactionary mens movements.
Bi+ Community Discussion Meetup
Thursday, December 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Common Roots Cafe: 2558 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55405
We will meet in the party room beyond the front counter. You are welcome to order food and beverages to enjoy during the meeting! Join our discussion group the THIRD Thursday of every Month. This is a safe and welcoming environment and a great way to navigate bi+ issues and bond with other community members. We are gathering at 6:30 PM to chit chat and order food and drinks. We will change the location each month, so please keep an eye on where to meet. A Board member facilitator will bring topics to get the conversation started or we can talk about your questions and issues.
Did you know 19% of bisexuals don't have health insurance? Don't miss out on the open enrollment period for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act! Open enrollment ends December 15th!
October 12-14, 2018
Location Wellstone Center, St. Paul, MN
Build, serve and advocate for an empowered bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community to promote social justice.
Within the next five years grow Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) into a successfully-run Upper Midwest nonprofit organization with annual funding of $100,000 that provides community building, education, and advocacy for the bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community and our allies.