As non-monosexual individuals, we understand that language often fails to meet the needs of those who don’t cling to artificial dichotomies. Thankfully, language shifts and grows to meet those needs – often slowly, and often painfully, but eventually. Many of us have experienced the relief of finally finding the word that describes us; not so others can label us, but so that we have a word that speaks to our hearts. Others still seek their own meanings and labels for what they already know about themselves. As words are created and reclaimed, we can embrace this change as one that makes the world better.
However, change comes with some cost, and sometimes our own comfort is disturbed by all the new terms and ideas that seem to “suddenly” spring from nowhere. I know it can seem like things are changing too fast, but as a community it’s important for us to recognize that these ideas have always been with us; it’s only the words surrounding them that have changed.
At BOP events, you will be asked to provide your pronouns. It may be the first time you’ve had to think about it, because our society assigns them *to you*. However, BOP holds an open space for defining who you are on your own terms. If you are asked for your pronouns at an event and are having trouble answering, think of this sentence: “Yes, I know Colleen; I met ____ at BECAUSE.” There are many ways to complete that sentence [for example: him, her, them, hir, Colleen], and we’re asking you what YOU would like to use. “Yes, I know Colleen; I met [her] at BECAUSE” is appropriate in this case, because I identify my pronouns as she/her/hers.
We give our pronouns so that people don’t inadvertently use the wrong ones when speaking to or about us. While it might be tempting to say “I have no pronoun preference,” you’re putting the responsibility on others to choose your labels. If you identify with the gender you were assigned at birth, it can seem awkward. You may be thinking “people should just *know* that I identify as ‘she’.” But it’s these assumptions that lead to violence against members of our community. It’s the same assumption that people make when they think they should “just know” your sexuality by looking at the gender of your partner.
While we’re specifically addressing pronouns, this is also true for how others choose to define their sexual orientation or their gender. If someone identifies themselves in a way that is unfamiliar to you, respect that it’s meaningful to them. Please show that respect by both providing your own pronouns, and using the pronouns that others have specified for themselves. We are a strong and vibrant community, and our strength lies in our respect for those who share it with us.
October 2-4, 2020
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.