Living the Bi Life

for you commie, homolesboswitchhittertranny-lovin' sons-of-guns

Max the Communist

Max the Communist
Chicago, Illinois, USA
January 17
"Her beauty served a mob of terror whose one mission is to destroy." Yeah, that's me alright. I am a writer, actor, activist. That means I've worked in the hospitality and retail industries. Before you ask for fries with that, prepare yourself for political, economic, social, and sexual liberation. Not a total commie. I just marvel at the inflammatory red-baiting language--so much like queer-baiting, it's scaaary. I will be your downfall yet, America. Until then, I go for universal healthcare and making friends with anarchists, hippies, fellow-travelers, philosophers, actors, and other troublemakers. And, of course, da queers. So I'm pinko. Does that make me more Canadian than anything else? How queer are they in Canukistan? And can they put me up for the night--you know, just in case? In other words, just your typical OS blogger.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2009 6:13PM

Say Our Name: an email to a Memphis LGBT community center

Rate: 6 Flag

let me introduce myself 

To whom it may concern at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center,

First, as a bisexual woman and long-time activist for LGBTQ rights, let me express my sorrow and outrage at the hate crime vandalism that your organization has just endured.  You intended for the Memphis queer community to gather strength from the positive images and messages in your current billboard campaign, in anticipation of National Coming Out Day, concurrent with the National Equality March on Washington.  I was particularly concerned when I discovered that the image of the gay marine that was defaced, was actually a local Memphis gay man who had served his country.  My heart goes out to him, since his sacrifice and his rights as an American were not considered in the least by the haters who defaced his image.  

I know that I am not alone in saying that you have the total support of the bisexual community in the face of this attack.  

I am heartened to see that Heidi Cranford Williams mentioned bisexuals, as part of the LGBTQ community, in her press response to the hate crime vandalism.  However, mentioning bisexuals in fine print on your website or as an afterthought to a significant campaign for visibility does not really include us.  

When I look at the MGLCC billboard campaign, I feel a strong sense of bisexual erasure.  May I ask, why were bisexuals left off the billboards?  Why was there no inclusion of the word "bisexual"?

When your campaign says that ministers accept lesbian, gay, and transgender people, but makes no mention of bisexuals, you make it seem as though no ministers in your area accept bisexual men and women at their churches. When your billboards say that lesbian, gay, and transgender people have straight supporters, your omission of bisexuals makes it seem as though bisexuals have no supporters at all--not straights, gays, lesbians, or transgender people.  

Inclusion matters.  Bisexual people look and listen for the "B" word.  It helps us to know that we have allies in gay, lesbian, transgender, and straight communities.  As a matter of fact, this summer the Bi Writers Association, headed by Sheela Lambert, held a conference entitled "Putting the 'B' in the LGBT."  

Furthermore, at least according to your website, it seems as though you have no bisexual-specific programming at your organization.  It may be of interest to know that at the Bisexual Health Summit, held on the first day of the LGBTI Health Summit in August here in Chicago, the research consistently showed that bisexuals were at the greatest health risks of lesbians, gay men, and straight people across most of the major health indicators; that health and social service organizations need to develop bi-specific programming to address our underserved health needs.  

Just on the issue of suicide alone, lesbians and gay men were found to consider suicide 4 times higher than straight women/men; bisexual men were found to consider suicide 7 times higher than straight men and bisexual women 6 times higher than straight women. 

For some bisexuals, the visible and vocal inclusion of us in your programming and publicity campaigns may be the difference between life and death.  

We are part of the larger LGBTQ community; we are your lovers, your friends, your fellow activists, your neighbors, and your natural allies.  We have been there from the beginning of the struggle for liberation.  

We too, have served our country.  As a matter of fact, one of the biggest moments in American bisexual history was when, in 1989, openly bisexual veteran Cliff Arnesen testified before Congress about lesbian, gay, and bisexual veteran's issues.  At that time, transgender people who have served our country were not very visible.  Also, the lesbian and gay veterans with Cliff tried to pressure him into identifying as gay, instead of bisexual, because they thought his identification would hurt their cause.  Cliff Arnesen refused and became the first non-heterosexual veteran to testify on Capital Hill about LGB veterans' issues and veterans' issues in general.  Cliff Arnesen had been dishonorably discharged because of his bisexual orientation.

 I wish none of my message to be misconstrued as some sign of a lack of support for lesbians, gay men, or transgender people or an attack on the Memphis LGBTQ community in particular. Across the nation, the LGBTQ community has our unqualified support.  We are all in this together.  But we also need to know that we are supported; that we can be ourselves, just the way we are, among you. One of the clearest ways that our allies can show their support for us is to say our name.  Bi all means, say our name.

Max the Communist  

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Well said, Max. Well said.
Thank you iamsurly. Thank you, Owl. I feel much better now.
Indeed, this is very well-said (and needed to be said.) There is great healing power, simply in being mentioned (and included, and honored) by name.
BTW, Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, you didn't just insult our bisexual brothers and sisters, you slighted all of us that strongly believe in inclusion.

Open your minds, open your arms and put some action behind your words. Change the name to the LGBTQ Community Center. That's what it should have been in the first place, if you REALLY mean COMMUNITY!
Thank you, Eva. Let the healing begin.
Thank you Safe_Bet. You make the world safer for sexual diversity.