BiNet USA, Bisexual Pride Flag and the questionable Petition

I woke up a few days ago to tweets and feeds on social media that BiNet USA has declared it owns Bisexual Pride Flag and has sent out desist warnings to people and organisations not to use the colours without its approval. I thought, whoa, surely this must be a satirical joke but alas, it wasn’t. BiNet USA dug its grave; what a shameful thing to even think of! BiNet USA should have known the Bisexual flag is bigger than its greed and ego. Well they say Pride comes before a fall. BiNet cowardly deleted their twitter account after going on about owning and trademarking the Bisexual Flag and even threatening people and organisations with lawsuit. It’s a shame that someone with an ill thought out greedy idea has caused pain to many bisexuals who find comfort in the Bisexual flag identity. As a bisexual who is very much proud of the Bisexual pride flag, I say shame on you BiNet USA.

That said, I have seen a petition making the rounds demanding that the President of BiNet USA, Faith Cheltenham, be removed by its board. I certainly do not support going after an individual in this case and I don’t support this petition.

I loathe what BiNet USA did in regards to its appalling claims to Bisexual Pride flag, however, I hold BiNet USA as an Organisation responsible for the claim, the tweets and its fallout actions including targeting bi activists who used the flag on their websites.

This atrocity was carried out in the name of BiNet USA and I fail to see how this was just an individual action. Even its statement was issued as BiNet USA Board’s decision not an individual’s decision. Yet, many just want the black woman President of BiNet USA kicked out.

It’s all well and good when some board members find it convenient to tender their resignation now but where were they when the decision was made? Did they first read about it on twitter? Would they have resigned if there was no public outcry?

This mess was created by BiNet USA and BiNet USA as an organisation should be held responsible. This issue should not be used as a means of settling personal grudges with the president of BiNet USA or any other board members. A more appropriate petition would have been a demand for BiNet USA to apologise for its action.

The President of BiNet USA on her Facebook page identifies as trans-femme Black Bisexual. and I cannot ignore the fact that racism could be a motivating factor in some of the comments I have been reading regarding this issue. There is so much hate and harassment towards Faith Cheltenham, most of it coming from the white bisexual community that it is truly concerning and the race aspect cannot be ignored.

The comments on some threads i have engaged in or stumbled on have been pure vile. Before you send another tweet, post another comment or go on her Facebook page to leave abusive, bullying and harassing comment or reviews, pause and ask yourself, is this really worth it. Remember, no one is taking away your bisexual Bi pride flag, neither Faith Cheltenham nor BiNet USA has the capacity to do it. So, pause, is it worth contributing to the distress of a black trans femme disabled bisexual when she is down? Why pile it on? Two wrongs do not make a right. Show care, show empathy, be angry but don’t be out to physically and emotionally crush someone who has contributed a lot to the visibility of Bisexuals. People can stumble, it is not an opportunity to trample on them. Think carefully about your motive before you send another abusive tweet, review or comment. Is your indignant self-righteousness really worth the physical, mental health of a member of our community, especially one who has dedicated their life to promoting our cause even if they have messed up now? Let’s correct people with care not with hate. Remember, there is a human being behind that screen, be considerate.

I certainly support that bad leadership should be called out. Some people are coming out with some unpleasant, abusive encounters they had with the BiNet USA president in their personal or official capacity many years ago, which is understandable, however, let’s not conflate issues or use this particular opportunity to exert a personal vendetta against an individual.

If the petition was about asking BiNet USA to explain itself and apologise, I’m more than happy to sign and share but I refuse to be party to what appears to be people using this opportunity to settle scores with a black woman they have, rightly or wrongly, issues with.

Toxic leadership should be addressed but again let’s not conflate issues. BiNet USA as an Organisation did something appalling and BiNet as an Organisation has some explaining to do and a sincere apology to give regardless of whether they remove their president or not. It’s not just about Faith Cheltenham, it is about BiNet USA as an Organisation.

Some of these calling for her head have also speculated on her mental health with some saying it so derogatorily, which in and of itself is ableism. I don’t think we are in a position to speculate on the mental health of an individual. If this was even a possibility that is crossing peoples’ mind regarding Faith Cheltenham, is targeting her as an individual a responsible, decent action to take at this point?

If people have been abused by faith (and for the record, I do not know her, and I don’t ever recollect having any interaction with her), they should separate that issue from this particular Bi pride flag issue, otherwise it is just what it is, a personal vendetta.

Some claimed the reason they support the petition to remove Faith as BiNet USA President is because nothing can be done until she is gone. Really? Why must it be until after she is gone? A statement was issued in the name of BiNet USA Board of directors recently yet you insist it’s all about Faith Cheltenham. Sounds very much like personal targeting of an individual to me.

The only interest I have in BiNet USA is for the organisation to apologise for what happened. BiNet USA has a lot of explaining to do as to what led to that awful claim in the first place. It is not just enough for them to wake up tomorrow and say “Yes, we have removed Faith Cheltenham, can we now go back to being in your good books?”. Nope, they need to explain and apologise. It is totally their decision if they wish to remove their President, I will definitely not be signing or sharing a petition to that effect, that is the responsibility of the board of directors.

Also, for people who have reasons to bring complaints against BiNet USA President in her official capacity, they should very well do so, I simply maintain that this should not be conflated with the Bisexual Pride flag issue except in cases where it is specifically related to the flag issue. For example, demanding that a Bi activist who organised a Bi Virtual event remove the bi pride flag from their website, now this is related to this issue, not something done by Faith 3, 4, 5, 10 years ago.

Yes, BiNet USA has doubled down on its claim but it has not apologised, instead it came out with a statement by its Board of Directors that does little to clarify the situation. This is the more reason I think BiNet USA as a whole should be held responsible for this and not just its president, Faith Cheltenham, as this petition seeks to do.

Regardless of other people’s narration of their experiences with the President of BiNet USA in their personal capacity or official capacity, this particular issue is about what BiNet USA said about owning the copyright to Bi Pride Flag and these tweets and statements were made in the name of BiNet USA. If people have grudges with the BiNet USA President aside this particular BiNet USA ridiculous claim to Bi Pride Flag, this is a separate issue and should not be logged in with BiNet USA claim to the Bisexual Pride Flag. BiNet USA made an appalling claim, BiNet USA should not only speak out but apologise for the claim.

BiNet USA action is what I am appalled by, it is what I am reacting to. It is not left for me to tell BiNet USA to kick its President off its board but I can definitely ask BiNet to address the harm it did. Asking BiNet to specifically remove its President is more of personal targeting of an individual than holding BiNet USA to account for its action as an Organisation.

The world is not a great place for many right now, let’s spread love, not hate.

Trans Rights are Workers Rights too.

It is saddening that transphobia camouflaged as concerns for women’s rights is growing within the left movement and seeping its ugly way into progressive movements including Trade Unions.

This article in the Morning Star on 20/02/2020 was particularly saddening, I am particularly ashamed of this article because it was written by the General secretary of my union although he said it was in his personal capacity and was his personal opinion, it still matters. Personal opinion of elected union officials expressed in a paper matters to me as a union member, especially as this opinion goes against the official position of the Union on Trans rights.

Groups such as Women’s Place UK and LGB Alliance were condemned at Union conferences for their transphobia, therefore an elected member of the Union defending these groups is concerning and disappointing. These groups make no secret of the fact that they are Trans exclusionary and their actions scream it loud and clear. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Why would anyone think otherwise?

As a Cis woman who is black, bisexual and feminist, I know what inclusion feels like and it is not these groups and I know what exclusion feels like, it feels like these groups.

The rights of trans women to exist without having their very existence questioned is not going to take away hard fought for and hard-won women’s rights. Groups that encourage dead-naming of Trans women or shouts “Penis” at them when they try to speak are nothing but a shining example of what hate looks like. This is not feminism; this is pure hate. If you associate with such groups, do not be surprised when people think you agree with their principles.

This is truly disheartening. My rights as a cis woman are not threatened by trans women. The existence of trans women does not stop women, trans women inclusive, from fighting for women’s rights.

The feminism I embraced and that has defined me from a young age was based on deconstructing gender roles especially as imposed by the society. Now, are we going back to enforcing these gender roles just because we want to police who gets to be a woman?

What is it to be woman anyway? Is it the ability to give birth, menstruate or have a womb that makes me a woman and grants me an automatic pass to women spaces? What happens when I can no longer do all these things or no longer have these ‘women things’ due to age, medical conditions or because I was born without these ‘women packages’ as is the case with some women?

Really, what is it to be a woman? Is it the appalling fact that I can be raped that makes me a woman? Anyone can be raped, however as a woman, I am at a higher risk of being raped than a man would ever be. However, statistics also show that I am likely to be raped by someone I know, rather than strangers.

This continued fear-mongering by trans exclusionary feminists that trans women and non binary siblings are potential rapists trying to gain access into women spaces or lurking in women toilets just so they could rape women is pathetic, disgusting greatly misinformed and goes against statistics. As a woman, I am more likely to be raped by a male family member than a trans women in a public toilet! Also, in most cases, Rape is about asserting power and comes from a position of power, this is something feminists know too well. Trans women and non binary people are vulnerable groups and demonising them this way is just wrong.

Oppressed and marginalised groups should not be looking to marginalise or oppress other minority groups, if we are fortunate to be able to empower others, go ahead and empower. We have nothing to lose from lifting others up, we gain a better world. As Cis women, we should be lifting up our trans sisters and non binary siblings, not demonising them for daring to live as their true self identity.

It was not that long ago that black people as a whole were routinely demonised for the actions of a few black people. The actions of a few were eagerly used as a reason to demonise a whole race and as an excuse to deny basic human rights to black people. The pathetic excuse of white supremacists that white women must be protected from “barbaric” black men led to the executions and persecution of innocent black men, and this continue till date. Do we really want to demonise our trans sisters and siblings in this manner too?

As if the article on 20/02/2020 was not bad enough transphobia, on 22/02/20, a cartoon was printed by the Morning Star which depicted a crocodile getting in to a pond of newts.

Newts: “But – You can’t come in here, this is our safe space!”
Crocodile: “Don’t worry your pretty little heads! I am transitioning as a newt!”


This is terrible, disgusting and overt transphobia. This is really concerning considering many trade union leaders sit on the board of this paper.

There is a petition on Change.org. Pls, feel free to sign and share. As stated in the petition-

We are disappointed that, according to its 2018 return, the Morning Star had a number of trade unions on its management committee (those we are petitioning above).
As a registered mutual society, the Morning Star claims that it “produced a daily newspaper under the strapline ‘For peace and socialism’ and reported on the social and political developments as well as the plights and struggles of people trying to achieve a safer and fairer world.
We believe that The Morning Star has gone against those principles and needs to be held to account.

This conscious spreading of transphobia is appalling and divisive. We need to unite to fight for a better world for ALL not just spew out rhetoric that further divides the working class.

Transphobia has no place in our collective struggle for workers’ rights. Trans issues are workers issues. Trans rights are workers’ rights. Trans rights are human rights. No to Transphobia, Yes to a better world for ALL.

BiCon UK 2018

I attended my first BiCon UK 2018 on Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th August 2018 at University of Salford, and I must say, I really enjoyed it!

BiConvention/Conference is an annual event in UK. From BiCon UK website-

BiCon is a weekend-long educational and social gathering for bi people, their friends, partners, and others with a supportive interest in bisexuality. We don’t all use the labels “bi” or “bisexual” or even agree on what it means to be bi, but bisexuality is the common theme.

BiCon has been held in a different part of the UK each year since 1984. BiCon is proud to implement a code of conduct and is committed to making our event accessible.

The weekend often runs from Thursday through to Sunday, but that can vary. There are discussion groups and sessions in the daytime, social spaces and entertainment in the evening.

Each evening there’s a bar and social space, sometimes with performers or a disco, plus quiet space for board games or simply chilling out. Sometimes there’s a “BiCon Ball”, one evening for those who like to dress up (although you don’t have to!) and many other indoor and outdoor activities.

When I took some days off work and got on the train To BiCon UK, I really needed the break. Also, it was my first BiCon and I did not know what to expect.

Knackered on the train. However, I’m on my way to the annual BiCon UK taking place in Manchester this year. It’s gonna be refreshing, rejuvenating and a relaxing weekend with fellow BiFabulous people. Let the BiFun begin but first, I need a nap.

By the time I got to the venue, registered, got the keys to my very cosy, nice room, I began to relax and settle in for a what promised to be a BiFun Weekend.

Time to settle in and get my BiFabulous weekend started

 

There were variety of workshops to choose from, I was spoilt for choice. I enjoyed all the workshops I attended, and some of the best ones were-

Just A Bi-Sexual minute -An imitation of a radio game where s person talks about a given topic for a minute without pause, repetition, hesitation etc. I had fun having a go at it.

Fatticorms Unite –Very refreshing and enlightening discussion about Body Positivity

Safer Sex: What we should have learnt about Sex Ed –Useful tips on safe sex and where to get affordable protection.

Bi in the workplace – Great discussion about being Bi in the workplace and as an out Bisexual at my workplace, trade unionist and activist, I found this very interesting to share experiences.

BME safe place – I really enjoyed this safe place gathering because I was going through a very nasty situation steeped in racism in my workplace, that has to do with being the only black person in all white workplace where they have no idea about inclusion, diversity and white privilege. I was taking on the brunt of their lack of understanding of these issues, with the burden of pointing out these issues, and as a result tasked to do the extra labour of educating them on these issues. The BME same place was a welcomed relief. Listening to the experiences of my fellow BMEs, I was reassured that I am not losing the plot, it’s not all in my head and I am not alone!

Enjoying the various workshops at BiConUK. So many Bifabulous people to learn from and share experiences with. Lovely atmosphere to reunite with old friends and make new friends too.

It was not all about workshops and learning, it was all fun in the evenings. I had my first Silent disco, it was such fun dancing to my own playlist with my earphone on. Everyone on the dancefloor had their headphones on, just dancing to their own beats on the dancefloor. It was like being in your own world, free to move to your own beats however you like. It was so liberating. Who knew dancing in public to songs only you could hear could be so much fun? Ah wait a minute, I do it all the time at the gym! Loved sharing the silent dancefloor with fellow unicorns.

The BiCon Ball was held on the last night, it was simply fabulous.

Off to the ball…Kudos to all who dressed up to the ball as mythical bisexual characters, you were all fabulous! Well, I didn’t dress up as a mythical character to the ball, but chose instead to go as my fabulous self.

We Stand Together. Together we can build a better world where everyone matters. A world where we can all live to achieve our full potentials regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation or class. A world where we are free to be our fabulous selves because our existence is not a harm to anyone. A better world is possible, we just need to want it enough to build it together. Every step matters.

Thank you to all the special people I met at Bicon. Thanks to the organisers and volunteers for doing such a great job. Thanks to everyone at BiCon who respected the Code of Conduct, The participants made it such a lovely experience as everyone was just so courteous, respectful and very welcoming. I am already looking forward to the next BiCon.

Enjoy the pics and video from my BiCon Lens!

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UK Black Pride 2018: Shades of the Diaspora

UK Black pride 2018 was held on Sunday July 8 at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London. It was indeed a celebration of black LGBT1Q . The theme was Shades Of The Diaspora. I was there to celebrate all that is black and beautiful with my black LGBTIQ community and our allies. It was a protest and a party.

Hello from UK Black Pride, the party is rocking!

The party rocked! The vibrant, energetic performers on stage and the beautiful roaring crowd reminded me of what it is to be Black, Bold, Beautiful and Proud. Partying with my Black Lgbtiq community, I definitely felt like I belonged there.

Special thanks to the organisers for persistently organising UK Black pride despite all the negativity from these who seek to subjugate our spirit and never really make us feel belonged or truly included in the mainstream lgbt community. Also, a big shout out to all the volunteers and everyone who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring us a fun, successful, UK Black Pride. Solidarity forever.

It was indeed the largest UK Black Pride ever. The crowd was huge from every corner and angle. So many beautiful people and a rich diversity of cultures. The talents on stage were great, the crowd was energetic and made me realised i need to brush up on my dance steps. So much twerking from all genders that I was reminded twerking is a black thing , and will always be.

Kudos to the organisers for another successful UK Black Pride. I am already looking forward to an even bigger, colourful UK Black Pride and a more inclusive Pride every corner of the globe.

To voiceless LGBTIQs who cannot afford to hold or attend a Pride, I say Stand Tall, you are not forgotten. Rainbow will always shine through the clouds. Stay positive and live your truth in pride. Love, always.

Enjoy the pics and videos from my lens!

Always a pleasure to reunite with friends at this wonderful event.

I finally managed to sit my tired ass down. It was nice just sitting down watching the performers and the beautiful crowd do their thing. A day well spent refuelling and connecting with every side of my personal and political self.

Calling it a day! Bye for now, see ya all next year.

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London Pride 2018: Pride Matters

London Pride 2018 took place on July 7 in central London with the theme ‘Pride Matters’. Even though I now live in Essex, London Pride is one Pride I always look forward to.

Hello from London Pride. Flying the rainbow flag and the bisexual flag with Pride. Love Not Hate

Unfortunately, this year’s London Pride Parade was hijacked by a small group of Anti-Trans women who forced their way to the front of the parade, and force-led the parade. The transphobic group of about 10 lay down in front of the parade, shouting anti-trans slogans, and wouldn’t let the parade move. I wouldn’t bother to relate their transphobic messages here because I won’t be an indirect vessel to spread their hate messages. The transphobes disrupted and held up the start of the parade. The organisers finally gave in and allowed them to lead the parade. They marched right in front of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who was supposed to lead the parade. They held their Anti-Trans banners and distributed their transphobic leaflets. The organisers cited the hot weather for their decision to give in to the Anti-Trans group. I wished they had not given in and instead found a way to get the small group out of the parade. Big shame to the Anti-Trans group, they are a disgrace to the entire LGBT community.

Also, Britain’s largest LGBT organisation, Stonewall, stayed away from London Pride this year to protest the racism problem within the LGBT community.

A Stonewall spokesperson said:

We know this is an event that’s important to many in our communities and very much hope to attend in future years.

However last year, Pride in London’s community advisory board again raised concerns about the lack of diversity and inclusion at Pride in London – particularly of black and minority ethnic communities.

Pride in London rejected those concerns from the community in the strongest terms and, as yet, have failed to make any public acknowledgement that they may need to make significant changes if Pride in London is to be an event for everyone.

Racism is still very rife within the LGBT community in Britain. This did not come as a shock to LGBT PoC as we have been saying this for so long. It is really sad that those who are members of an oppressed group are sometimes themselves perpetrators of oppression against other vulnerable groups, when they are in position of power and have the privilege.

Aside from the unfortunate transphobic disruption at the parade, and the noticeable absence of Stonewall, London Pride was a spectacular event to behold. The parade was fun and colourful, and the entertainment at the London Pride stage at Trafalgar square was good. However, we do need more diverse entertainers to be featured to better represent the diversity in London and its LGBT community.

I did not march in the parade this year, but I did move around, cheered the parade on and mingled with the beautiful crowd.

Enjoy my pics, narratives, videos, dancing and awful singing!

I met some really lovely people from all corners of the globe at London Pride, however, this beautiful lady I met on the tube on my way to Pride. She was sitting opposite me and gave me a lovely smile. We looked up and smiled at each other at intervals. We got off at the same stop, outside Charing Cross station, she walked up to me and said ” I wanted to tell you on the train but couldn’t. You look beautiful, I love your make up. It is amazing”. I’ve been paid compliments before but from her it just kind of felt so sincere and heartfelt, and I am not really great at doing my makeup. I thanked her, told her she looked fabulous and asked if she was going to Pride, she said unfortunately not as she has to be somewhere else now. I asked if I could take her pic and share and she obliged. I love the diversity in London. This is why I miss London. This lovely lady with her beautiful smile kick-start a beautiful Pride for me. Thank you, my beautiful stranger on the tube for your lovely words.

This lovely gentleman offered me a seat when I was looking for somewhere to relax my tired feet during Pride. We ended up exchanging mints, sweets, wristbands and we shared our experiences of London Pride, and we gossiped. He sure was great company. Making friends across borders at Pride because Love knows no borders. Love Not Hate.

Ah, he photobombed my pic with his Usain Bolt move. Can’t really be angry at a bro for that now, can I? Made the pic all the more interesting.

He is so adorable! He joined me for a pic, when I did the back to back pose he said “Ah, we are doing the back to back now” and he proceeded to strike a pose, several poses. Surely, this bro couldn’t be outdone in the ‘strike a pose’ department!

Oh yes, Bisexuals are not confused, we just have the amazing capacity to love and be emotionally and sexually attracted to same and other genders. Hurray, for Genderless Love! Bisexuals are simply Bifabulous, we rock at Pride!

Flying high amongst the beautiful colours of the Rainbow in my Superpower bisexual cape. Bisexuals are not greedy, we are just Superheroes with the ability to love, be sexually or emotionally attracted to same and other genders. Our Love is genderless. Wrapped in the genderless love of the Bisexual flag. Love Not Hate.

These beautiful, lovely ladies gave me their beautiful rainbow adornment to wear and took my pics at London Pride. Then I asked them for a selfie together. This is the spirit of London Pride that I love so much. Let’s foster Love and friendship cos Love knows no borders, we are one.

Queens make Prides rock.

Jesus came to party at London Pride. It’s his Pride too, after all he was Bisexual…what with all that playing the field with the two sisters, Mary and Martha, while always hanging out with 12 hot men. Jesus was seriously ahead of the game. No discrimination was his motto. So, we hung out at Pride and took a pic.

Funny how this pic and my caption caused such upheaval in my home country Nigeria and ended up trending in Nigeria. I woke up to messages next day from family members, friends and enemies alike, telling me I was trending on the social/gossip blogs in Nigeria. Turned out enraged Nigerian Christians and anti LGBTs were cursing me out and calling for my head on a spike, for daring to associate their beloved white, blue-eyed Jesus with my ‘gay’ (or is it Bisexual?) agenda! Good thing I don’t read these blogs, and I do pity these who do. To think some of them had the guts to harass my family members with calls and messages! Ah, well, curses and threats for daring to live openly as an atheist and bisexual Nigerian? What else is new! If anything, I was concerned about how unbothered I was by these nasty blog sites and the nasty comments directed at me. The level of ignorance, religious fuelled hate, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and open threats of causing harm to another based on religion and sexual orientation just left me numb. It is sadly the norm. My people are living proof that ignorance fuels hate, and hate leads to violence.

Love goes the distance. Love knows no borders. Love does not discriminate. Love is the wheel we need to move towards a better world for all. Love is Love. Spread Love Not Hate.

There is enough room in the sky for all colours of the rainbow and more to shine and thrive. Diversity is the spice of life, fly and support the rainbow with Pride.

 

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