In late 2008, Adrienne Williams had a problem: she found herself reading LGBT media and seeing little from the perspective of the third initial. Williams, a bisexual woman, wanted to read about the unique problems bisexuals endure and see people combatting biphobia and "bi-erasure." Too often, she said, she saw members of the gay and lesbian community dismissing bisexuality as a transition phase.
That's part of why she started the Bi Social Network, an online media network covering entertainment news, social issues, and politics that emphasize bisexuality.
"You don't get a lot of bisexual content in the mainstream gay and lesbian magazines," she said, speaking with The Bilerico Project. "I rarely see the 'B' in LGBT media. Our goal with the Bi Social Network is to have a place where there's not any fear of bisexual lives - they can have a place to be."
Williams used her media network to launch an awareness campaign in November 2010 called "I am Visible,", an opportunity for bi people to streamline their efforts to work against bi-erasure by creating videos and writing articles to demonstrate their presence.
"If a bisexual person likes both sexes, then they're a bisexual," Williams said. "It doesn't matter if they're dating a man or a woman at the time. It doesn't matter if they're in an opposite-sex relationship, if they're in a same-sex relationship."
She calls people's statements that say otherwise "hate speech." She specifically cites comments by Dan Savage, who Williams and many other bisexual people claim is biphobic.
Savage addressed the claims in a piece last week for The Stranger, and Ron Suresha, an author and activist, reported yesterday that Savage is aware of the issues that bi people have with his work. In a blog post, Suresha described how he met Savage this weekend at the Pride parade in New York City:
Dan appeared to be quite sensitive of the animosity toward him from the bi community, and willing to admit he's made errors in his writing about bisexuality, and that in reacting to the very negative ad hominem attacks from certain of his readers he made a misstep with this. He regrets it but seems eager to make it right.
Williams said that dismissal of bisexuality comes from members of many different communities and that her work with Bi Social Network centers on addressing many issues that bi people face.
That's why she was so excited to receive an invitation from the White House to this week's LGBT Pride reception, which will take place on Wednesday, June 29. She will join noted bisexual activists Lani Ka'ahumanu (who spoke with Amy Andre in a post from this morning) and Sheela Lambert at the reception in Washington, D.C.
"I got an invitation in the mail and I was shocked," she said. "I was crying. I've been through a lot in the last few years, but this gave me this validation that what I have been doing matters. Some people do things on the ground, and I'm doing things online. I think they're both equally valid."
She furthers that her personal recognition by the White House is a symbol for recognition of the broader bisexual community.
"It's not about me," she said. "It's about the community. I want people to have a safe space to talk about their lives and their problems."
img courtesy of Adrienne Williams