The voice behind The BiCast podcasts is a compassionate one, gently probing her guests to articulate their thoughts, feelings, and wisdom on the complex subject of bisexuality. We begin to form a mental image of the person behind this voice. Perhaps this is someone who has been a bisexual activist for a long time, judging from her breadth of knowledge and the kinds of questions she asks. Perhaps this is one of those tech savvy, able-bodied, cage-rattling youngsters who have mastered the cyber world as a powerful tool for organizing. We would be wrong on all counts…and pleasantly surprised.
Meet Lynnette McFadzen.
“I am not easily traumatized by biphobia, micro-aggresions and hate,” she says. “I have nothing to prove and do not fear loss of employment, family, or friends. Mind you, these are real concerns but I have lived enough of my life to know I cannot let fear dictate my actions.” That “enough of my life” is actually fifty-plus years that includes marriage, kids, and grandkids. She has what she calls “the advantage of living history” and the gift of time to feel secure within herself.
Lynnette grew up in an age where bisexuality was still viewed as a choice and bisexuals as people of ambiguous moral character. Like most people, she related bisexuality to thrill seeking. Her father’s closeted bisexuality reinforced this perception. “He cheated on my mother by engaging in “glory hole” visits,” recalls Lynnette. “And my own experience with a longtime male partner and him cheating on me with a very close male friend pretty much sealed the idea in my head that bisexuals were not to be trusted.” She suppressed her feelings for women quite neatly.
She spent the next forty years believing herself to be heterosexual, invested in projecting the appearance of normal but nevertheless caring deeply for the man she married and the family they raised together. To her, the world in which LGBTQ activists made significant strides toward equality, decade after decade, felt like an alternate reality. Still, the melancholy she feels over missing out on some of the big historical events—and the fact that, along the way, she dismissed many people as potential partners because of their gender—is an all too brief moment. “I don’t know that if I had come out earlier I would have had the maturity and fortitude to survive,” she puts it bluntly. “I attempted suicide twice during my life. I believe it would have been more then I could have coped with.”
Having fulfilled her responsibility as a wife and mother, and with nothing more left to prove, Lynnette is making up for lost time by continuing what LGBTQ activists that came before her have already started. “I get to be here now and be part of the change for the non-monosexual community,” she says. When she talks about her priorities, it becomes evident that she believes in the Buddhist principle that change comes from within. She is watching, listening and taking notes on bigotry within the LGBTQ community itself and has committed herself to tackling these issues. In her words –
- The bisexual community is intersectional. Many bisexuals are trans, people of color, female identified, poor, and disabled. I feel the larger LBGT community—mainly the L and G—are more focused on white gay males and failing to address, and support, a comprehensive agenda of equality.
- We live in a society in which warped views of youth and beauty are worshiped. The LGBT community is also guilty of this. It is time to first change the narrative and stop accepting these thoughts and images as what we should be. As a bisexual I am already invisible. As an older person and disabled, I do not exist at all. My life is a constant parade of micro-aggresions. The community has to include all of us, not just the viable among us.
- Biphobia is rampant within a vocal minority in the gay and lesbian community. The oppressed have become the oppressor. It seems to be perfectly acceptable to talk any way you want about bisexuals. This is more than just “all you bisexuals can’t take a joke and need to get a thicker skin.” Words kill! There are people out there in a very fragile place who simply can’t take the bullying and hate any more. It needs to stop.
- We need funding for research with a focus on bisexuality. Why are suicide, mental health issues, and domestic and sexual violence rates so high among bisexuals?
When she came out three years ago, Lynnette had some difficulty finding resources and a community. At the same time, she had become interested in podcasting. Despite her fear of public speaking, she worked up the nerve to guest on a podcast. That experience was all the encouragement she needed to learn to podcast. She gathered others from a diverse background and created The BiCast, a podcast for the bisexual community, with a goal to reach the isolated with information about community, culture, history and resources. One year and more than 82 podcasts later, The BiCast is now a mixed media cross-platform organization with a growing presence on social media.
After spending a lifetime in self-denial and invisibility, it is no surprise that Lynnette is a strong proponent of visibility. “Get out there!” she urges bisexuals. “Help develop local support groups. Attend Pride events and LGBT activities in force. Include the disabled and the aging. Organize regional conventions. Communing with those to whom you do not have to explain yourself does wonders for your well-being.”
With years of experience handling all manner of situations and people, Lynnette is just the type of accidental activist to chorale us to a better place. “It does get better,” is her advice for young bisexuals. “It’s a cliché but true. Stay strong in your convictions. They are valuable. You are the future. Please stay and be part of it. There is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect in your imperfections. You can and will change the world. But remember not to forget our past and those who struggled and fought before you…and for you.”
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