Guest post by Heron Greenesmith, Movement Advancement Project & Kate Estrop, president of the Bisexual Resource Center
Heron Greenesmith, Senior Policy Analyst, Movement Advancement Project
Did you know that bisexual-identified people comprise more than half of the LGB community? In fact, recent polls suggest that one-third of young people don’t identify as straight or gay or lesbian. When communicating with your members, the public, law makers, or the media, a simple and powerful way to include this enormous, but often invisible, population is to add examples of how various policies impact the lives of bisexual people. Here are a few simple examples.
When advocating for employment protections: Two-thirds of bisexual people report hearing biphobic jokes on the job. Employment protections help bisexual people feel safe at work.
When educating members about health care enrollment: The Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on sex stereotyping protects bisexual people. If you are bisexual and have faced discrimination by a medical provider, please contact the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.
When compiling materials for board or staff: Jane is a bisexual woman of color. She, like half of all bisexual women, has experienced rape by an intimate partner. Our hotline was able to find Jane a bed at the LGBT domestic violence shelter and educate the staff on cultural competence for bisexual residents.
Kate Estrop, president of the Bisexual Resource Center based in Massachusetts says: One easy and crucial step LGBT organizations can take is to ensure that the bi+* community is visible in all language used, for both internal and external communications. Even if “bisexual” is included in an organization’s name, it can be reduced to just a letter in individual reports, memos, marketing content, and even in the mission statements of the organizations themselves.
A few examples of inclusion are Free self-defense workshop for lesbians and bisexual women this Saturday, or We value our transgender readers who are lesbian, bisexual, and gay. Bisexual+ representation on boards and the payroll is definitely important, but irrelevant if the bi+ community is erased everywhere else in language of the organization.
*Many bisexual+ organizations use the term “bisexual+” or “bi+” as a signal that the bisexual community includes many more people than just those who self-identify as bisexual. The bisexual community also includes people who identify as pansexual, fluid, queer, or other labels, as well as people who are attracted to members of more than one gender but who may use a different label or no label at all.
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