Bisexual support and social groups are of utmost importance for bisexuals. Bisexuals are often unwelcome in the straight and gay world; we are seen as too gay to be straight and too straight to be gay rather than a whole, valid sexuality. The LGBT community we are supposed to be a part of too often shuns us, sometimes for the same bigoted misconceptions that gay people have been fighting against for decades. With a world telling us we don’t exist, that our sexual orientation isn’t valid, or erasing us altogether it is so important to meet people going through the same struggles; we bisexuals need each other.
Right now, bisexuals struggle with higher rates of intimate partner abuse/ rape/ stalking, poverty, and health problems than straight and gay people. While the cause of these statistics cannot be positively identified, it is likely that a lot of these problems have a lot to do with bisexuals not having the same opportunities for community in the way that lesbians, gays, and straight people do.
Starting and building a bisexual community might seem like a daunting task, but you are not alone and will really be helping people. I reached out to people who are working on building a bisexual community in their area their tips for starting and growing a bisexual community are below.
If you have a bisexual group and have more tips to add, please email me at codi.coday@PAVESnonprofit.com and I will add them. If you are wanting to build a group and want someone to talk to or bounce ideas off of you can email me as well. We are also looking for leaders to develop groups outside of Denver for PAVES.
If you aren’t sure whether there is already a group in your area check here.
1. Wording & Description
“Use the word Bisexual in your title.” -Latina Bisexual & Lesbian Amigas Meetup
“Use the term [bisexual] in your description.” -Leaders of the Latina Bisexual & Lesbian Amigas Meetup
“Oh, and don’t expect everyone to read your instructions/help, no matter how easy and obvious you make it.” -John G., London Bi Meetup
“After so much of the bisexual+ community has experienced queer gatekeeping, many of us don’t feel bisexual enough or queer enough to attend meetups. Including questioning or possibly bisexual in descriptions helps people feel like they can come to the event even if they don’t feel bisexual or queer enough.” – Codi Coday, PAVES
2. Group Goals
“Decide the group goals: support, social, or educational? The more specific the better, but if your group is the first in your area, then it’s OK to start broad. Type up a mission statement.” -Dr. Mimi Hoang, Co-Founder of Los Angeles Bi Task Force, amBi Los Angeles, and Fluid UCLA
“Identify who you want your group to made up of based on the needs of your community. Check and see what groups already exist and who they are serving or who they are missing. Being more inclusive is better, but sometimes the existing community has holes that need to be filled. Do all bisexual and pansexuals, no matter their race, gender, relationship style/status, ability, income, and age have a place in the existing community? What can you do to help make the answer to the question yes?”
-Codi Coday, PAVES
“Decide the social/political mix you want your group to be.” -John G., London Bi Meetup
3. Recruiting Members
“Recruit members by creating a group on Meetup.com or Facebook. Schedule events, which could be in public settings like coffee shops.” -Dr. Mimi Hoang, Co-Founder of Los Angeles Bi Task Force, amBi Los Angeles, and Fluid UCLA
“Publicize your group by e-mailing friends, then notify your local LGBT center, or other local progressive organizations (e.g., feminist or social justice orgs). Utilize other bi+ groups like BiNet USA.” -Dr. Mimi Hoang, Co-Founder of Los Angeles Bi Task Force, amBi Los Angeles, and Fluid UCLA
4. Be Patient
“Be patient, it takes a few months for people to hear about the group and get it on their schedule.” -Camille Holthaus, Bisexual Organizing Project, Minneapolis, MN
“Be VERY patient, because the bi+ community struggles with a lot of stigma, and it takes longer than other groups to gain momentum.” -Dr. Mimi Hoang, Co-Founder of Los Angeles Bi Task Force, amBi Los Angeles, and Fluid UCLA
“Inspire an attitude of inclusivity and nonjudgment in all activities. I accept trans women, coupled women, non-Latina women and butch women. Every woman welcomed.” -Leader of the Latina Bisexual & Lesbian Amigas Meetup
“Work on being inclusive and tolerant in the words you use, books/courses/online multimedia/other LGBT communities can really help.” -John G., London Bi Meetup
“Make sure your events are inclusive to members with disabilities. Include whether the Meetup has stairs, whether it is wheelchair accessible, and whether it is accessible to blind and deaf people as well in each and every description.” -Codi Coday, PAVES
6. Vary Events
“Don’t forget people have other interests.” -John G., London Bi Meetup
“Keep your events varied to fit a variety of personality types. Plan hikes, coffee, brunches, nights out, game nights, happy hours, etc. However, don’t try and host anything that doesn’t come naturally to you. For example, I’m not really into games; luckily my co-organizer is and she hosts a lot of game nights, which have become well attended.” -Lisa Brodsky, Denver Metro Bisexual Social Meetup
7. Find Help From Within
“Eventually find some trustworthy active members to help you with leadership. You don’t want to burn out.” -Dr. Mimi Hoang, Co-Founder of Los Angeles Bi Task Force, amBi Los Angeles, and Fluid UCLA
“My advice for anyone starting a bisexual support or social group is to find a partner to do it with you! You may find there are times you feel burned out or overscheduled, but if you have someone else planning and hosting events the meetup continues and doesn’t “go dark” if you’re busy.” -Lisa Brodsky, Denver Metro Bisexual Social Meetup
8. Don’t Take Setbacks personally
“Don’t take it personally when people leave the group.” -John G., London Bi Meetup
“I think the most important thing to tell yourself for the first year is to stick with it no matter what. Don’t beat yourself up if you have some poorly attended meetups. Community takes time to build!” -Lisa Brodsky, Denver Metro Bisexual Social Meetup
9. Encourage Enthusiasm
“Always keep a lookout for and encourage enthusiasm from members to get involved helping out.”- John G., London Bi Meetup
“I always try to make sure I greet new members when they first show up to an event and explain the basics, how casual/formal the style is (so they don’t end up waiting for a big announcement/formal start if there isn’t one).” -John G., London Bi Meetup