Editor's Note: Guest blogger Sue Hyde is the Director of the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change and a long-time community organizer and advocate. Hyde was the recipient of the 2002 Stonewall Award in recognition of lifetime service to the LGBT political movement.
At the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, we honor and celebrate with bisexual sisters and brothers today, the Ninth Annual Celebrate Bisexuality Day (CBD).
Happy Bisexuality Day!
We mark this important day with an understanding and appreciation for all that our bisexual brothers and sisters bring to our vibrant and diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. After all, it has been our bisexual friends who most closely embrace the radical notion of being able to love one another, irrespective of gender. Bisexual people challenge and question the fundamental assumptions about sexuality, gender and relationships. Our bisexual leaders, thinkers and lovers shake it up and in so doing, help us all break free to live and love as our hearts desire.
On this Celebrate Bisexuality Day, we celebrate Bisexual Leaders:
Elias Farajaje Jones: a theologian and out proud bisexual community and religious thinker. Elias rocked the house at the 1995 Creating Change Conference in Detroit with a keynote address that connected sexual liberation and freedom with the on-the-ground aspirations and work of our political movement. Elias also spoke at a Minnesota Equality Begins at Home event in 1998.
Lani Ka'ahumanu: bisexual activist, AIDS educator, writer and thinker. Lani served on the Task Force Board of Directors and brought her keen insights about community organizing and bisexual visibility to her work with the Task Force. Lani advocated for a 1997 revision of the organizational mission statement that remains inclusive of bisexual and transgender people. Lani has presented many workshop sessions and trainings at The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. She is the co-editor of Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out (Alyson, 1991).
Robyn Ochs: bisexual community organizer, speaker, and writer. Robyn is a founder of the Boston Bisexual Network, editor of the Bisexual Resource Guide, and editor of Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World. Robyn regularly presents workshops and trainings at The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. She and her wife were among the first same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts in 2004. Robyn serves on the Board of Directors of MassEquality, the statewide organization that successfully defended our freedom to marry in Massachusetts.
Loraine Hutchins: sex educator and writer. Loraine delivered a keynote speech at the 2005 National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in Oakland, entitled "Bi Rights and Visibility." Loraine received a 2005 Creating Change Award, in appreciation of her long leadership in the bisexual community. In addition to co-editing Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out (Alyson, 1991), Loraine co-founded AMBi, the Alliance of Multi-Cultural Bisexuals in Washington, DC, and BiNet USA.
Amy Andre, Marshall Miller and Julie Ebin: co-authors of the 2007 Task Force Policy Institute report, Bisexual Health: An Introduction and Model Practices for HIV/STI Prevention Programming, co-published with BiNet USA and the Fenway Institute. Amy, Marshall and Julie wrote cogent commentary in January 2008 about a groundbreaking study that found "being bisexual is a distinct orientation in women, not a temporary phase."
Chrysanthe Tan: Task Force intern extradinaire, Summer 2008. Creator of the Bisexuality Resource Kit, a soon-to-be-released publication of the Task Force Policy Institute. The Bisexuality Resource Kit, for use in LGBT organizations, will support the goal of building a fully bi-inclusive movement by busting myths about bisexuality, offering ideas for bi-specific programming, recommended reading and viewing lists and tips about how to become more bi-inclusive.
We encourage friends and colleagues around the LGBT movement to lift up the good works and valuable lives of bisexual colleagues whose presence, energy and vitality enrich and inform our communities and our movement. Turn to a bisexual woman or man today and say, "Thanks for all you do to make more space for all of us!"
Background on Celebrate Bisexuality Day
Similar to the annual National Coming Out Day (celebrated each October), CBD is a day that bisexuals may choose to come out to others. The day was created in 1999 by Gigi Raven Wilbur and other bisexual activists and since then September 23rd has been set aside as a day each year to celebrate bisexual visibility.
Bisexual activists attending the 1999 International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) World Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa were inspired to see the official Bisexual Flag, with its pink, blue and lavender colors flying over the conference on the First Annual Celebrate Bisexuality Day on September 23, 1999.
ILGA leaders issued a proclamation: "On International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, ILGA calls on people, researchers, organizations, services and governments to apply the same respect, recognition and rights to bisexual peoples as they do to any other group of people in society. Around the world today, September 23rd, from the cities of North America to those in Australia, from Japan to Europe and here in Johannesburg, South Africa, bisexual people, their partners, families, friends and their lesbian, transgender, gay and straight allies, are joined in solidarity for the 1st international Celebrate Bisexuality Day."
Since that time, bisexuals and bi organizations all over the world have celebrated CBD every year in their own unique way.