One of the interesting parts of being a founder of anything is that most of the time, you are in the background or behind the scenes, trying to reach out to others, network, and connect with real live people who can hopefully make your life better in some tangible way. Although this was difficult at for me when I began my advocacy work, I’ve learned that what they say is true: “You don’t understand loss and success until you reach the bottom and have no way of seeing clearly how to get out.”
The Start of a Vision
This was me close to three years ago. I’d been a part of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community since college ended, but moving forward my friends and I started to feel invisible instead of truly connected. In the past, gay and lesbian friends shared their lives with me, and I with them, but nowhere was there a true place for bi media, pop culture, networking and entertainment for the bi community in 2009. Nothing, and I needed to help change all that.
It was during one of my nights of insomnia in 2009 that my idea about creating Bi Social Network came to me. I started to plan a vision of where I wanted to go on the web, what I wanted to see, and what news I wanted to read. I thought about the people I wanted to meet and connect with, even if it only through writing a blog. After a few months of working out the kinks (dating a marketing researcher at the time really came in handy) entered Maria, my first writer, who’s still with me today; then others, some who came for a short time, some staying and some moving on. A connection was being formed. How did I even think I would do it alone?
Fast forward to 400 e-mails a week, interviews, media inquiries, and a request from and subsequent visit to the White House. It’s all sorts of unbelievable, really. One personal success was reaching Jamie, who lives in Glasgow and was so proud to come out as bi at school, holding the bracelet that he ordered from our “I Am Visible” campaign. The pain he felt as the result of bullying by both straight and gay youth was his burden, and yet, we as bisexual people were all beginning to connect all around the world.
A community reached out and connected not only with me, but with each other, through e-mails, chat rooms, and Facebook® pages that were created overnight. Strangers wanted to join not only our page, but to create other bi micro sites. Some were afraid to share their stories, but managed to e-mail me to say, “Hey, I love what you’re doing, don’t stop.” There were new services to support teens, housewives, lost husbands, and fearful family members who thought they could be bi. There was reach out from writers and supporters. Bi people made a difference by contributing videos, songs, stories, and love. These were all small things but with one connection. I’m bi, and oh yes, I’m visible. There’s that word again.
A New Direction
Bi Social Network is moving forward with new ideas, such as BSN TV and more shows on Bi Talk Radio, including personalities that discuss bi men’s issues, opposite-sex bi relationships, and talking about how marriage can be bi too. We’re looking at perhaps creating a foundation, and we’re especially excited for our first ever fundraiser to help us develop something I’ve always wanted—Bi Social Magazine.
But no movement, no one persona, no one thing can do it all—only a collective of ideas. We as bisexual people are about to leave a bigger footprint on American culture and show the world we have always been here. Bisexuality is still not understood, and the bullying has to stop. We have to all think about the global message we want to send, to inform those people who don’t know what bisexuality is—which include both the straight and gay communities. We must continue to listen, support, rant, talk to each other, donate to our diverse causes, and reflect on our evolving bisexual community and its issues. Let’s reach into the hearts and minds of the bi community with a voice that will increase our visibility once and for all. I feel this is the most important idea and dream for us, and I hope you join me on the journey of bi visibility. Can you feel it? Yes, after all we have Bi Pride all year long!