National Bisexuality Day: Why I am a Bi Activist.

September 23rd Is National Bisexuality Day

My personal journey coming to terms with my bi identity.

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September 23rd has been National Bisexuality Day for 18 years now. Organizations focused solely on the advancement, education, and support of bisexuality are very likely to hold online as well as in-person events to celebrate the day. The organization I founded back in 2007, Bisexual Initiative of Greater Cleveland is no exception. This year I decided to conduct an online mini-conference on bisexuality.

Coming to terms with my personal identity as bi has been an interesting road.

By the time I reached high school, I knew that I liked boys and girls. Yet those around me either liked one or the other. There were boys who were gay in my school, but not only could I not relate to them on a basic cisgender level, I could only identify with the struggles of liking boys as well. I had no way of finding a definition and/or support for who I was.

The one cis girl I met who first exposed me to the word bisexual was very promiscuous and flighty and was looked at by the rest of our schoolmates as someone to be avoided. I finally not only found another cisgendered female to talk to, but she also happened to like boys and girls. Yet, her attractions and interactions with boys and girls were very different than my own. So because of her, I now had a term to find out more about, but I still had yet to find someone who experienced attraction the same way I did. I decided I was only just a little bisexual then, because I had to be promiscuous to be truly bisexual, and I wasn't.

Due to the sexual trauma experienced as a child, and since I had not met a bisexual like myself, in my freshman year of college, I came out to my friends (and accidentally to my family) as lesbian.

The biggest online hub in 1999 was CollegeClub.com, and once my lesbianism was announced there, I was immediately warned to stay away from bisexuals. I was told they ruin relationships, that they were promiscuous, and that they were not welcome in gay spaces since their primarily straight and not gay.

I hadn't had very deep experiences with other bisexuals — I only knew the one girl from high school and bisexuals I came across online. So far they were all promiscuous. So since the promiscuity of bisexuals was "confirmed" for me, I figured what others said about them was true as well.

It wasn't until a year later that I fell in love with a guy again. I met him at a local bisexuality group at the Lesbian/Gay Center of Cleveland. I had to find out once and for all if I really was bisexual or not. Turns out I was!

I've had brief relationships with guys and females over the years since, but we were always mismatched. I always wanted something long-term, they didn't. They were all in the closet, I haven't been in the closet since I was 18 years old. These were all other nisexual people I was talking to.

I couldn't find another monogamous minded bisexual to connect with. So I thought it would be easier to partner with a lesbian since they seemed more long-term relationship minded. Yet the promiscuity of a good bit of bisexuals turned away any and all lesbians. This is where I currently am in my journey dating and relating to others as a bi cisfemale.

I also identify as demisexual, someone under the asexual umbrella, who only experiences sexual attraction to someone after a deep personal bond is formed. Due to this factor and all my previous romantic interpersonal interactions, the more accurate orientation I've adopted is biromantic. I am biromantic because I can form romantic relationships with cismen and ciswomen.

I took over and currently run the Bisexual Initiative because I still would like to find and relate to other bi individuals like myself. I also believe its important to still hold spaces for bisexuals not like myself so they can find friends, lovers, and support too. I also want the organization to serve as a source of education and information for the greater LGTPQA+communities who have negative views of bisexual people.

We are not all the same, and that's okay. We shouldn't be shunned and/or discounted for that. We care as much about greater queer community issues as the rest; and for those of us bisexuals who are more heterosexually inclined, we care about greater human rights issues too.

We are not gatekeepers to other orientations. We do not exist just to have sex. We are Bisexual.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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To The Artists Who SAY They're LGBTQ Allies But Play Coachella, Thank U, Next

Ariana's decision to perform at Coachella contributes to the money Anschutz makes, and his financial history has proved him to be an enemy to the LGBTQ+ community.

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The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a three-day music festival that takes place in Indio, California each year in April. Artists of all genres perform and the festival also has art installments and sculptures scattered around its grounds for festival goers to enjoy and snap selfies in front of. This festival is one of the biggest and most profitable music festivals not only in the United States but across the world. This year, the cheapest ticket starts at $429. General admission and access to the shuttle bus comes out to $509 and VIP entrance is $999. It's easy to see that this is an event for the elite, and each year celebrities like Justin Beiber, Kendall Jenner, and Leonardo DiCaprio are seen attending the event.

Throughout the weekend of Coachella, Instagram is flooded with "Coachella outfits" and the festival's headliners trend continuously on Twitter. Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, and Billie Eilish are just a sampling of the many artists performing at the festival this year. Coachella is revered, an event to be marked down in your calendar, but many often forget about the man behind this hugely successful arts and music festival.

Philip Anschutz is the co-owner of Coachella and also of the Anschutz Entertainment Group. The Anschutz Entertainment Group is a wildly successful promoter of live events, and the foundation behind this company has been reported to have consistently supported anti LGBTQ+ organizations. Between 2015 and 2016 tax filings show that the Anschutz foundation donated $325,000 towards groups with anti LGBTQ+ missions.

Philip Anschutz has denied these claims and dismissed them as "fake news." It seemed that the foundation stopped making these donations after a public outcry, but the tax filings still showed that money was donated as recently as 2016. Despite Coachella's seemingly progressive vibes and the audience and artists it attracts, Anschutz donated close to $200,000 to Republican politicians in 2017.

This year many have praised Ariana Grande when she ended her performance with a giant rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, and perceived the flag as a "fuck you" toward Anschutz. Personally, I don't see this as the brave, inclusive act many are making it out to be. The best way to protest anti LGBTQ+ organizations is to not support them, and her performance at Coachella during the height of her fame made the event even more sought after than before. Ariana's decision to perform at Coachella contributes to the money Anschutz makes, and his financial history has proved him to be an enemy to the LGBTQ+ community.

The best way to promote LGBTQ+ rights would be to boycott the festival entirely.

Artists like Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, and Billie Eilish as well as the celebrities that attend have the platform to create real change, and despite the inclusive messages they seem to be promoting, performing at and attending Coachella undermines their supposed support of equality.

Coachella is obviously a huge opportunity for these artists, but if the people we look to as our role models begin to actively oppose hateful groups like LGBTQ+ organizations, there is a chance that more people will begin to boycott events owned by Philip Anschutz and people like him.

As the old saying goes, "actions speak louder than words."

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