On April 28, 2020, a bisexual activist group claimed that, despite two decades of accepted free public use, they owned the rights to the bisexual flag, though no copyright or trademark has ever been registered to that effect, though that same organization has recently publicly celebrated free access to the flag, and though no evidence exists that they own it, nor have they produced any such evidence.
In recognition of recent controversy within our community, we, the board of the Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP), believe that our commitment to our community requires us to issue a public affirmation of our values.
While we understand and affirm concerns about our community’s icons and symbols being co-opted and inappropriately used, we condemn any unilateral action that seeks to give control of those symbols to any single small group or individual. We believe our flag has become a fundamental component of our community’s collective sense of identity and visibility, and we support the #ourbiflag movement in maintaining free access to the flag as intended by its creator Michael Page.
While we recognize and affirm the challenges of protecting what we create, we believe that the purpose of our work as a non-profit organization serving the entirety of the Bi+ community is not to advance our organization’s interests, but to advance our community as a whole. Members of our board have worked over the years to sponsor, co-sponsor, or create educational programs, research projects, community spaces, and terms by which we understand ourselves and our communities. We believe that these are gifts to our community, and would not seek to prevent any member of our community from benefiting from this work. We believe that our work, or the work of any other organization, ceases to have meaning if we prevent our community from accessing it.
We believe deeply that conflict is part of a healthy community, that there is room for dissenting or unpopular viewpoints, and that discussions about painful and difficult issues must happen for our community to move forward without leaving our most marginalized members behind. We recognize that it is possible that positive intent and an earnest desire to solve problems might exist in this situation in ways that we do not yet understand, and we welcome the opportunity to better understand these public statements regarding the Bi+ flag. However, we condemn unilateral actions that harm our community. We condemn force in the absence of dialog. We condemn deceitful communications and believe that transparency is always important, but most important in the face of conflict. We recognize that our community has been deeply harmed by the impacts of inappropriate seizure of control, and by subsequent refusal to engage in conversations that would have restored good faith.
We unconditionally condemn doxxing or making vulnerable individuals whose views differ from our own, even in the most heated moments of conflict.
BOP will move forward in our mission and goals, and remain committed to meeting the needs of our community through activism and community building. We will continue to work towards making the community a welcoming and open place for Bi+ individuals in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Greater Minnesota, and the Upper Midwest, and to partner with organizations and individuals around the country that align with our mission and goals.
We will not be working with the organization in question at this time or in the immediate future. However, we believe in opportunities for growth and change, and welcome conversations about moving forward, should we find a way to build a partnership that reflects our values of radical inclusion and dialog.
With love to our community,
Board of Bisexual Organizing Project - BOP
October 1 - 3, 2021
St Paul, MN
We hope you will join us for the BECAUSE Conference as it's never been before: a hybrid event of in-person and online workshops, speakers, and social events. With Zoom producers and experienced programming staff, we are developing a new way of experiencing BECAUSE while keeping all the engagement, support, and community that has been at the core of the conference for the last 29 years.
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.