New York Area Bisexual Network (nyabn) wrote,
New York Area Bisexual Network

[NYC] Bisexual Activist Paul Nocera of BiRequest attends White House LGBT Pride events

Along with heavyweights such as one of the founding matriarch of the modern bisexual movement Lani Ka'ahumanu, editor of the award-winning anthology Bi Any Other Name as well as up-and-coming bisexual journalist and activist Adrienne Williams of Bi Social Network & the 'I am Visible' campaign, some local activists were lucky enough to make it onto the White House invite list his year, courtesy of that doyen of the bisexual movement Robyn Ochs. This includes SF's own Kuwaza Imara a member of the SEIU Lavender Caucus; Pride at Work, the AFL-CIO LGBT labor group; and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association as well as two longtime NYC bisexual figures, Sheela Lambert co-moderator of the fabulous & fabulously well attended Bi Women of All Colors and Paul Nocera one of the longtime leaders BiRequest, the hugely popular NYC Thursday evening social discussion group. Paul has sent back this first description of some of what happened at the 2011 White House LGBT Pride events and reception.

REPORT FROM DC: The morning policy Briefing
No question, the briefing was comprehensive, covering LGBT issues from many different angles (from HHS to Dept of Defense to AIDS task force, etc) . . . but a few of the presenters where missing the B in their verbal statements.

This was clearly an attempt to put the Administration's accomplishments into a broader context, including showing movement that doesn't get front page reporting (if any at all)

Among the "handouts" were a Proclamation which also missed the B on some key points .. (to be dissected an posted out separately on my return to NYC).

That all said, I feel that every Government representative was well intentioned as they made their presentations, and all were open to getting feedback and answering questions.

We did get email addresses to push this forward, and I feel it's now my next responsibility to do this on my return to NYC (on the weekend).

REPORT FROM DC: the PRIDE Reception Part 1
Bisexual-identified LGBTQ Activist Paul Nocera of NYC's ViRequest at the White House LGBT Pride Month Reception June 29 2011Well the nibbles were delicious . . . a mix of vegetarian and omnivorous delights. And the Champagne and other liquids flowed freely . . . and nobody can say it was not an elegant location.

However, the President's remarks were like a greatly abbreviated review of the morning briefing.. including an abbr. of LGBT to L&G mostly, with some T thrown in for good measure.

The President also didn't hang out . . . he simply made his statement and left. Joe and Jill Biden were in the house however, but effectively inaccessible to the majority of us who were attending.

REPORT FROM DC: the PRIDE Reception Part 2 (the Dan Savage report)
Of course, if the President makes a video contributing to a project to confront bullying and the troubles of teens, you're going to get an invite. So Dan Savage was in the house.

Suffice to say, I wasn't there to see him, and had real mixed feelings about approaching him. (Champagne helped). At one point or another, the various bi folks there - Adrienne Williams, Lani Kaahumanu, Sheela Lambert, and myself - all had a chance to say something to him.

My own point was not one of "flattery" nor of "anger" . . . . though the latter feeling needed to be put in check, as it was when considering the President's remarks. However being a presence, and taking a stand to engage him does not need to be even slightly in deference to him.

I made the point that his perspective has been hurtful to Bi folks, especially teens, and that Gay is as much a "phase" as bi for some folks. Lastly I asked him to take his last major statement, swap the B and the G/L throughout and read it back, as a good way for him to "get it".

In the end, he took my card and asked that we begin a dialogue on his blog of all places, which might actually work to help him "evolve already."

Oh ... forgot one other part of my exchange.

As an example of the "phases suck" argument, I mentioned a conversation I had with another, older man earlier at this very event. That older gentleman confessed that he'd been married for 20+ years and was openly sexual with his wife all that time, until he divorced.. I was surprised that the man then asked ME, if he was Bisexual . . . as if I'm in the place to name his orientation!

To Dan Savage, this retelling offered him an opening to reveal his own interactions with women . . . and did I think he was Bisexual??? (again I get the question) . . . But the answer for that moment could only be that the complexity of sexual orientation & societal politics was more than either of these guy's behaviors can account in short order.

Perhaps acknowledging the complexity of sexual desire and expression are the road to Bi awareness and the dissolution of biphobia.

More on this as it develops.

Fluidly yours,
Paul Nocera

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Tags: birequest, bisexual community, bisexuality, fluid, men, politics, queer

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