Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon BiNet USA Newsletter Signup
For Email Marketing you can trust

Donate to BiNet USA Today

Your donation will support national, regional and local bisexual, pansexual, and/or queer communities!

American Institute of Bisexuality’s Msg of Hope

Anna Paquin Comes Out and Gives a Damn

A Guide to Bisexual Pansexual Fluid Etiquette

A Guide to Bisexual/Pansexual/Fluid Etiquette

(written for 2011 Creating Change Conference)

The bisexual identity speaks more to the existence of attraction to people of any gender, rather than merely a statement of past or current relationships and/or sexual activities. Bisexual, pansexual, fluid and folks who choose to remain “unlabeled” are part of the LGBT community and need you as an ally just as much as they remain your strong partner in the fight for equality. In hopes of creating a space at Creating Change in which all attendees can freely and safely be themselves, we offer a few notes on bisexual/pansexual/fluid communities.

Common misconceptions about bisexual/pansexual/fluid communities include: There’s no such thing as bisexuality; it’s just a phase; bisexuality itself reinforces the gender binary; bi people spread sexually transmitted diseases; and bisexuals face less discrimination than gay, lesbian and transgender people.  Bisexuality is NOT exclusively a transitional phase between heterosexuality and homosexuality. No single pattern exists among bisexuals. Many people declare their bisexuality to claim their personal history. They don’t want to erase previous loves or parts of themselves to buy acceptance.

With that in mind, we offer a few ways to embrace the bisexual/pansexual/fluid communities:

  • Use inclusive language, instead of “gay rights” or “gay marriage” try phrases like “equal rights” and “marriage equality”.
  • Question the negativity associated with bisexual stereotypes.
  • Check in with someone about what term(s) they prefer – Remember that no one person represents a community; no two people are the same and definitions may vary.  Please respect each person’s power and ability to define themselves.
  • Recognize that bisexuality is often invisibilized/ delegitimized, so bi/pan/fluid people usually have to come out over and over.
  • Respect people’s privacy and boundaries. Take a moment before asking questions and look into the assumptions behind them.
  • Recognize that bisexual people often face similar discrimination and obstacles as gays and lesbians with regard to job security, healthcare, marriage, custody, visitation and adoption of children.
  • Recognize the way that specific relationships function is entirely independent of sexual orientation. Be positive about all relationships –monogamous, polyamorous, or anything else.
  • Accept you might never fully understand someone else’s sexuality, and that it’s okay not to.

Thank you for respecting all the ways we can love each other!  Enjoy the conference!

Compiled by 2011 Creating Change Bisexual/Pansexual/Fluid Organizing Institute Co-coordinators, Becky Saltzman and Faith Cheltenham.  Thanks to The Bi Resource Center, UC Davis Bi Visibility Project, Human Rights Campaign, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Sean Cahill, and Robyn Ochs for source material.

2010 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repealed! A look back at Bi one veteran’s story

First Person History

By Cliff Arnesen

( Copyright 2007. The views expressed are strictly those of the writer and not necessarily those of BiNet USA or any of its other officers.

At around the age of four, my loving mother who, in an attempt to protect me from a violent, alcoholic father who physically abused both of us, reluctantly placed me in an orphanage. During my two years stay I was placed into a foster home,  but was quickly returned to the orphanage because I was hyperactive.

At age six, I was discharged from the orphanage and sent back to live with my mother who lived on welfare in a one room apartment in Brooklyn, NY, as she had a heart condition which prevented her from working. During the last year of the four that we lived together, she took me out of school due to my hyperactivity and tried to school me at home because I could not read or write at age nine.

the late First Lady, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and Cliff Arnesen at the Wiltwyck School for BoysRealizing I needed special remedial attention, and understanding that she could not raise me alone on welfare in a cramped, one room apartment, at age ten, my mother sent me away to the predominately African American, Wiltwyck School for Boys. The same school which the late Claude Brown, author of the 1965 best selling book “Manchild In The Promised Land,” attended; as did former Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, Mr. Floyd Patterson.

During the seven years I spent at Wiltwyck, I met and became friends with the late First Lady, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, who founded the Wiltwyck School, and who held annual summer picnics for all one hundred of us boys at her beautiful estate in Hyde Park, New York.
At age sixteen, I was discharged from Wiltwyck and sent back to live with my mother. At seventeen, I dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and talked my mother into signing a waiver for me to join the US Army–in an attempt to escape from a life of poverty, filled with despair and devoid of hope.

However, several weeks into basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, I realized that although I had managed to escape from the negative environment in Brooklyn, I had also painted myself into a corner. I felt cornered because I agonized over the painful reality of having to conceal the “attraction and affection” I felt in my heart toward some of the other soldiers. Also, I was well aware that I could be discharged or court-martialed for perjury — having lied on the entrance questionnaire which asked:  “Are you a homosexual?” And, “Have you ever engaged in sexual activities with a member of the same sex?”

Nonetheless, I held my fears in check and completed basic training, went on to Advanced Infantry Training School (AIT), earned a military high school diploma, and finally, based upon my performance evaluation, was selected by my superiors to attend Trainee Leadership School. But, I never made it to the school, as I told my Company Commander that I was gay/bisexual, because I could no longer live my life as a lie and conceal my “secret.”

Thereafter, I was put under house arrest for several days, then transferred to the stockade on a “holding status,” where I was interrogated by agents from the Central Intelligence Division. (CID)
Continue reading 2010 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repealed! A look back at Bi one veteran’s story»

I Think I Might Be Bisexual

So You Might NOT Actually Be Straight, But You Don’t Seem To Be Gay/Lesbian Either

I Think I Might Be Bisexual, (Now What Do I Do?)

    What the Bible Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality
    A Biblical response to the question people often ask… “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you are also gay?”
    by the Reverend James Melville White a co-founder of Soulforce (Evangelical Christian)

  • Free PDF Download in English
  • Free PDF Download escrito en Español