Representatives from local, regional, and national bi organizations met at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Atlanta, Georgia, January 23-27 to discuss issues important to the bisexual rights movement and set plans to raise the visibility of the bisexual community within the LGBTQ movement.
BiNet USA president, Faith Cheltenham, and Bisexual Resource Center president, Ellyn Ruthstrom, planned and facilitated the national Bisexual Leadership Roundtable (BLR) to establish deeper connections among the diverse attendees who came from California, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, Florida, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC.
BRC’s president, Ellyn Ruthstrom, comments, “This meeting has been much anticipated by the bi leaders who gathered in Atlanta. We are excited to have set out a game plan for more communication, sharing of resources, and setting some new strategies for the bi movement. This is only the first meeting, and we are fired up about the future work of the BLR.”
BiNet USA’s Faith Cheltenham adds, “BiNet USA salutes each and every member organization of the BLR for the thought leadership they’ve provided in the spirit of collaboration and community. While we may have different mission statements each organization has brought to the table a true commitment to work together on the urgent needs of our deeply underserved community.”
ABilly Jones-Hennin, from Washington, DC, was the most tenured participant on the roundtable and enthusiastically endorsed the leadership gathering. “Given the ongoing exclusion and invisibility of bisexuals, as well as the ignorance and denial about bisexuality, I welcome the coming together of bi organizations to give us a stronger voice for true equality. The BLR is long overdue, a breath of fresh air, and a reflection of our diversity.”
“It is a thrill and honor that the first-ever Bisexual Leadership Roundtable took place at the 25th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. We are inspired and energized by the leaders from local, regional and national bi organizations who came to Atlanta to connect, strategize and mobilize. We join in the excitement over the BLR’s founding and its future work to raise bi visibility and to create change,” says Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
BLR attendees set out plans for quarterly conference calls during which representatives from national, regional, and local organizations can convene to continue the work. Working groups were established in fundraising strategies, political outreach, people of color and trans community networking, social media skill-building, media and public education, BLR governance, and a national needs assessment project.
Along with the full-day roundtable, members of the BLR also met with the White House liaison to the LGBTQ community, representatives from LGBTQ fundraising organizations, and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s executive director, Rea Carey, to brief them on concerns of the bi community and to forge stronger relationships to expand the work being done.