Bi+ (plus) issues matter in the time of Trump: A #BiWeek reflection

I am overwhelmed. Simply trying to keep up with the news is exhausting, let alone making space to process what is going on. There are many things I still haven’t fully acknowledged or come to terms with - at least, not truly (like Charlottesville and its aftermath). And that’s on top of juggling my own everyday needs and struggles. I am a brown-skinned, Black, fat, poor, multiply disabled bisexual woman. I live in subsidized housing, also known as “the projects.” I battle the negative physical and psychological effects of poverty and sexual trauma every day. It’s a lot.

And I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. In the face of so much pain, sorrow, struggle, and oppression, theoretically it makes sense that we compartmentalize and prioritize certain issues. Some things just feel more important, more urgent than others. How many times have we heard or read the sentiment that “This [some news item] is just a distraction [from the stuff that actually matters]!” from someone frustrated that people care about more than just one catastrophe?

But the reality is that many of us, who live on the margins, who embody more than one marginalized identity, must care about more than one thing at a time (which, of course, helps contribute to the negative physical and psychological effects that oppressed people experience). Those who claim to care about those of us who live those experiences must care about more than one thing, too (or, you know, you can’t really claim to be an ally or accomplice to marginalized communities).

And so, as DACA and other immigration issues are under constant threat; as transgender people are under attack (in the military and elsewhere, as is ever the case); as Muslims and Jewish folks find their humanity questioned again and again based simply on their faith; as Betsy DeVos vows to rescind Title IX protections for thousands of sexual assault victims on college campuses; and as Black lives continue to be reminded that we don’t matter, I am keenly aware of the fact that bi+ (plus) people belong to every single one of these groups.

Not only that, but bi+ (plus) people as a group have our own community trash fires to manage. From higher rates of poverty, sexual assault, suicidality, and mental disabilities than gays, lesbians, and straight people to lower rates of coming out, health insurance, and community spaces than the same, our numbers are dire. And what’s worse is that no one seems to care.

Of course, we didn’t get here by accident; it’s been a long road of erasure and demonization of and violence against bi+ (plus) folks. All of that leads to the kind of numbers our community sees, numbers that are finally coming to light. And because there are comparatively few of us who are out (to varying degrees), that means that the work that needs to be done to aid in our liberation must be done by a small group of people who must also juggle our own personal needs and struggles.

Trump is no friend to anyone of any marginalized group. And as he and his administration continue to pummel the most vulnerable of us, bi+ (plus) people will continue to be swept up in the calamity. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise when most of us are people of color, most trans people are part of the bi+ (plus) community, too many of us are poor, many of us are young, and many of us are disabled in some way.

My concern is that if our issues continue to go unaddressed, as they have for decades - if people (including other bi+ [plus] people, if we’re honest) continue to believe that there are things more important to tackle - we will continue to fall behind and the landscape of the community will only continue to get worse.

So this week, and every week, let’s make sure that bi+ (plus) people are included in the movement building, policy making, media campaigns, and political strategizing that we do. Let’s say, “No more!” to the erasure that harms bi+ (plus) people. Let’s commit to saving bi+ (plus) lives - literally.

New York–based social justice warrior Denarii (rhymes with “canary”) Grace is a freelance writer/editor, blues singer-songwriter, poet, aspiring screenwriter, and activist. She holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and is a two-year Pace University Master’s program dropout; she studied English and Adolescent Education, respectively. Denarii is a board member of and the blog editor for the Bisexual Resource Center; she’s also a nonfiction editor at The Deaf Poets Society, an online journal featuring literature and art by D/deaf and disabled people. Denarii's activism mostly focuses on bi+ (plus) identity and issues, disability, Blackness, and fat acceptance; she also talks about gender, class, colorism and other issues. Her activism today is primarily through her writing, music, and poetry, but she also has abundant experience moderating and participating in panels and webinars and facilitating workshops. As a freelance writer, she has written for Bitch Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, Everyday Feminism, and The Establishment, among several others. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.