Over the past few months, the LGBT Foundation has been working in partnership with trans and LGBT organisations across the country on an exciting and powerful campaign – together.
The main objective of this campaign is to try and change the public narrative around trans equality to focus on issues of safety and dignity. This reframing approach was taken by organisations in parts of America where they found that people switched off when talking about trans rights, but they were more likely to respond positively when talking about issues of safety and dignity, as this was something they could relate to. We’re hoping to reach out to and win over allies from outside of LGBT communities by refocusing on the issues we want to talk about – safety at school, access to inclusive healthcare, safety at home and in the community, dignity at work and more.
Now, more than ever, we need strong and vocal allies who will stand up for trans people, including non-binary and gender diverse people, and of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and experiences.
Trans children can often experience terrible bullying at school and at home. Trans adults are routinely denied access to appropriate, timely and inclusive healthcare. Hate crimes against trans people continue to rise year on year. Trans people, including non-binary and gender diverse people, and their communities have been subjected to malicious attacks from powerful public voices, seeking to divide trans people from society and frighten allies into silence.
That’s why a number of the UK’s trans and LGBT+ organisations have joined up for the first time to improve the tone of public debate around trans issues in politics, the media, online and beyond. We hope to move this conversation forward positively. Everyone deserves to live in safety and with dignity.
To get involved the website address is www.togetherlgbt.com
The hashtag for the campaign is #TogetherWithTrans.
The together campaign organisation team consists of LGBT Foundation, Stonewall, Mermaids, Consortium and Gendered Intelligence.
The B in LGBT
Bi Visibility Day / International Celebrate Bisexuality Day is on 23 September each year, and was first officially marked in 1999. Each year the Day highlights bi awareness and challenges bisexual and biromantic erasure.
See the website – https://bivisibilityday.com/ – which collates information about Bi Visibility Day events around the world, and features resources and information about events in previous years.
Bisexuality After 50: the Revolving Closet Door
It’s a truism among bisexuals that “coming out” is not a one-shot deal for us, but a constant process. On Facebook, “Relationship Status” is of great importance when it comes to the ways others judge and define us. For those of us who identify as bisexual, relationship status has been a defining aspect of our identities (from the perspectives of other people in our lives) since long before the advent of social media.
I am a woman who is married to a woman. At casual glance, I appear to be a lesbian. For many years before I got involved with the woman who is now my wife, I was married to a man. During those years (again, at casual glance) I appeared to be heterosexual. Since my late teens, I have been serially monogamous. I have had more relationships with men than I have had with women. But there were women, and those relationships were important.
I have always (since age 10 or so, when I first learned the word and realised that it described me) identified as bisexual. But there have been times in my life when I’ve been viewed as lesbian and times (longer and more frequent times, since I’ve been with more men) when I was viewed as straight. If I wanted the truth of my bisexuality to be known, I had to “out” myself, regardless of which sort of relationship I happened to be in at the time. I didn’t always have the energy to do that. And so, my sexual orientation identity has evolved, dependent upon current relationship status.
But what about those times when I’ve been viewed as straight because I was in a serious relationship with a man? Was I “in the closet?” Some might say so. I never wanted to be closeted. I always wanted to be honest about my orientation, for my sake and for the sake of others in the LGBT community. But it wasn’t easy. I had to come out, over and over and over again, to everyone I considered a friend. “You know … I’m bisexual. I had girlfriends as well as boyfriends when I was younger. I can still be attracted to women …”
It should be easier now that I’m with a woman, but it isn’t. If I want people to know I identify as bisexual, rather than lesbian, I still have to make a point of telling them. And then they wonder why. Why, if I’m happy with my wife and not seeking a romantic or sexual relationship with anyone else, should it matter that I’m bisexual? Well … it matters because it’s true. And it mattered just as much (because it was just as true) when I was with a man.
Sometimes it seems that for bisexuals of a certain age (anyone old enough to have been in as many relationships as she has fingers) the closet has a revolving door. We don’t put ourselves in the closet so much as others put us in it (based on relationship status) and force us (if authenticity matters, as it does to me) to push ourselves out of that closet, over and over and over again.
And it matters because I need community, as much as any heterosexual or lesbian woman needs community. I need to be known, accepted and respected for who I am. I need to be part of the fabric of society—not the butt of jokes or the subject of debates regarding my existence.
I hope that it will be easier for future generations of bisexuals to stay out of the closet for life, regardless of relationship status. At this stage in my life, I am willing to keep outing myself as often as is necessary, to keep that closet door from being slammed on me or on other bisexuals. The door will only stop revolving if we have the courage to pry it open, keep it open and, ultimately, dismantle it. I’m working on that. In my writing, in my speaking, in my marching with other bisexuals, and in every other way that I can think of, I’m working on that!