...But Every Day is Celebrate Bisexuality Day

September 23, 2009

Faith Cheltenham

As part of GLAAD's ongoing series of posts dedicated to Celebrate Bisexuality Day, we invited bisexual people to share their stories and talk about what today means to them. _________________________________________________________ Racially speaking, I’m African-American, British West Indian, German and American Indian.  Culturally I’m a cross-culturally raised African American with 2 Irish American step-parents and 6 biracial half siblings.  I’m a woman as well, but the hardest label to apply has been bisexual. Why? Could it be the multitude of untoward, tawdry references to my orientation as flights of fancy, sex addictions and/or confused fence sitting? Or is it just the lack of bisexual visibility in media, political leadership and LGBT organizations that has left us with stereotypical representation? Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” so I’ll take this moment to say, I exist HAPPILY within the label of bisexual! I’m proud of our history, and of heroes like Brenda Howard who co-founded the New York Pride Parade and Cliff Arnesen, the first openly bisexual veteran to speak to Congress on the LGBT veteran experience.  I’m proud of myself and others who’ve successfully navigated their way through landmines of mono to a life in stereo; without silence, shame or regret. The bisexual movement is now two decades into a thriving bisexual renaissance, with bisexual politicians (Go Micah Kellner!), models (Amber Rose, what’s not to like!) and even a bisexual dating show. I am not half gay, nor half straight but ALL BI!  As less time is spent defending our right to exist, the wealth we have to share with communities of Straight and Gay becomes apparent. For years we’ve devised successful strategies for discussing equality with opposite sex partners, hard work we now share during Marriage Equality efforts. And while racism and sexual orientation/gender identity discrimination are similar but not the same, I find hope in the success of a biracial African American man who created change by redefining it. President Obama chose not to straddle lines of black and white, preferring instead a whole and undivided self. Like me he is one without being the other, and today I urge you to celebrate the pride of adjusting your reality to defy expectations. Faith Cheltenham pounded pavement as a HRC “Campaign College” intern on the Gore 2000 campaign and was a cast member of “Black. White.” a 2006 Emmy-winning reality show on Race in America for FX Networks.  A web and media producer, Faith’s clients have included Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York and Tor.com, a Science Fiction social networking website she co-developed.  A 10-year bisexual activist and BiNet USA Vice President, Faith is also an occasional contributing writer for advocate.com and stand-up comedian in Southern California.