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.

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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Miss Anambra’s Sex tape and the hypocrisy of Nigerians

As much as I try not to be so bothered with the ignorance displayed by fellow Nigerians daily, sometimes some things come up that one can’t in good conscience ignore because they are issues too important to ignore. The online assault on Miss Anambra by the homophobic, ignorant, religious extremist Nigerian mob is one of these issues. Now I must put my two cents in.

Since the alleged sex tape of Miss Chidinma Okeke, the winner of the 2015 Most Beautiful Girl in Anambra pageant competition, was leaked, there has been heated debate, fury, condemnation and all sorts of righteous silliness.

The sex tape showed Miss Anambra sexually pleasuring herself with a cucumber in the company of another lady, identified as her friend, Miss Adaobi Nzekwe, who was also a beauty queen,  third runner up of the face of democracy, Anambra, 2014.

The tape was released without the consent of Miss Chidinma Okeke. She initially came out to state that she was not the one in the video and that the sex tape was released as a revenge porn. It was also alleged that she was drugged and the video filmed under duress. If the video was filmed under duress and she was drugged, this must be totally condemned. Forcing women to make porn videos to use as a sort of hold or collateral against them is horrible.

In a message posted on her Facebook page Chidima Okeke wrote- [Read more…]

Celebrate Bisexual Visibility Day; Be BiVisible and BiFabulous!

September 23rd is Bisexuality Day, also known as Bi Visibility Day.  It’s Bi Visibility day today, I guess it is that one time of the year where I have to stop being so magically invisible and show myself in all my Unicorn glory; as a Bisexual!

Being Visible does come with its price, for example, I have to pay for things I bought in the stores today, cos well, I’m visible today. I have to bring out my oyster travel card and pay for bus, tubes and tram rides, like every other visible person cos I can’t ride for free today.  I get to be a visible B within the LGBT rainbow community today and I’d say, it’s worth it.

I know I am happy the LGBT community would at least recognise my existence today, it isn’t fun being that invisible B within the LGBT rainbow family all year long!

It sure does hurt when your own family fails to recognise you exist.  For example, a few days after marching and partying it up at the London Pride in Soho, I was at a swanky Sexual health clinic in Soho for my annual Sexual health check.  The place came highly recommended by an impressed friend I met at London Pride who was going on about how nice, easy and smooth the Sexual Health clinic in Soho was, so I decided to do my annual check there. [Read more…]

Homophobic/Biphobic attack claims another life in Nigeria; Councilman on the run for his life

EDITED (16/03/2016)- Latest reports coming in are pointing to the fact that the pictures accompanying this story, which were taken from comments left on the alleged victim’s Facebook wall and news-reports, are not that of the alleged victim. Investigations are ongoing to authenticate the story. 

Trigger warning- Graphic pictures: Blood and violence.  

For some time now, for the sake of my mental health, I have shied away from reporting any news or write about anything from my home country, Nigeria. There is only so much sadness I can handle and that country has left me heartbroken one time too many. However, when I saw this horrible news of tragic homophobia on my timeline, I knew I had to say something about this. If anything could jolt me out of my silence on Nigeria and its nefarious issues, it is certainly another tragic homophobia, biphobia and transphobia case.

From news filtering in, the victim, Akinnifesi Olumide Olubunmi, was accused of homosexual activities, he was beaten up by youths in the community on 17th February 2016 and later died on 18th February 2016 from the injuries sustained. [Read more…]

Five Assumptions We Should Avoid Making

I was working out at my gym when two gym regulars decided to strike up a conversation with me.

Gym regular (Male) – You have lost a lot of weight

Gym regular (Female) -Yeah, I told her so too.

Me – Oh, yeah, thanks, the hard work is showing.

Gym regular (Male) – I am sure your husband will be happy

Me – I don’t have a husband. I am single

Gym Regulars – What, you mean you are single? [Read more…]

5 Things You Should Not Ask A Bisexual

 5- “Maybe you are just confused?”

No, I am not confused, thank you. It is astonishing how many people still ask bisexuals this question, even within the LGBT community. Being264251_240895435929789_1041013_n capable of emotional and/or sexual attraction to persons of same-sex and opposite sex does not mean bisexuals are confused about their sexual orientation.

BISEXUALITY is romantic or sexual attraction toward males and females; it also encompasses attractions to all gender identities and biological sexes. Because Bisexuals do not fall into the normative heterosexual attraction or the homosexual narrative does not mean bisexuality is invalid or in any way confusing. Bisexuals are people who are capable of sexual attraction to same, opposite and/or all genders. It really is as simple as that.

If you understand that heterosexuals are people who are sexually/emotionally attracted to people of opposite sex and that homosexuals are people who are attracted to same-sex, it shouldn’t be difficult to understand that bisexuals are people who are attracted to same-sex and opposite sex.

Please, do not dump the ‘confused’ label on bisexuals just because you are reluctant to think beyond the regular narrative.

 4- “Are you not just being greedy?”

What is so annoying about this question is the judgemental tone that usually accompanies it. [Read more…]

The Politics of Colour: Being an invisible minority within an invisible minority

Bisexuals are not a very visible part of the LGBT community. Unfortunately, biphobia is very much alive within the DSC_0951 newLgbt community. This unfortunate issue has been cause for Bisexuals to come together to organize and gain more visibility in the LGBT community.

When I moved to UK in 2009, I was eager to join the LGBT community and be part of the bisexual community. I soon realized that although it is easy to have a social life beyond virtual interactions with Lesbians and gays activists, it is very difficult to actually meet bisexual activists.

Almost all the LGBT events I attended were dominated by gay and lesbian concerns; there was nothing much about bisexuality. I had to raise the question of more bi visibility at these events.I also noticed that it is one thing to find Bisexual events, it is quite another to find people of colour represented at these events. Unlike most lgbt events (which are actually gay dominated events), there are at least a noticeable number of people of colour, the few bisexual events I have attended failed in this area. 

After making enquires about bi groups and events in UK, a Bi friend who lives outside UK sent me a link to a bi weekend event organized by bisexual activists in UK.  I was glad to attend and was happy that one of the main themes for the weekend was Race. The event was held outside London and I had to travel a bit to get to the destination, optimistic that it was going to be a great weekend with fellow bi activists.

[Read more…]

Let’s talk about Bisexuality and Biphobia

Many always ask the question, ‘what does it mean to be bisexual? I am aware that there is a lot of confusion out there about what bisexuality means. However, contrary to popular opinion, bisexuals are not confused. The confusion is from the many who simply do not understand what bisexuality means. So what is Bisexuality? [Read more…]

MY GENDERLESS LOVE!

I don’t walk straight

Not even for the bait

I am merry yet not gay

I am bi and I can bray

But greed

Is not my seal

Yet you all snigger

Calling me a player

Our goal is acceptance

Where is the tolerance?

 

I am not gay enough

To be wholly enfolded

Not sufficiently lesbian

To be totally embraced

Should I even say Trans?

I can’t brace the rants!

You preach diversity

As community necessity

But are quick to sneer and leer

Whenever I am near

 

Yes, in the mall

I want it all

With the dick

I play and lick

And the boobs

Makes me swoon

The big breasted

Leaves me besotted

With the queers

I will play in the square

 

With the pussy

I get all fussy

The shaven sight

To suckle all night

Bouncy bums

I love to bump

Smooth balls

I like to smooch

With the Pecs

I need no specs

 

I am bisexual, not a player

Stop being my slayer

I am bisexual not confused

Like you I choose my companion

It is a natural attraction

Not just a mere selection

With love I embrace my lover   tender love

It matters not the gender

All I want is tenderness

For my love is genderless.

By (c) Yemisi Ilesanmi