Saturday, January 17, 2009

More or Less

According to my mom, my grandmother wasn't embarrassed in women's changing rooms because she figured, "They don't have anything I don't have, just more or less of it." This always made total sense to me, and in fact made me less shy when trying on new clothes or getting dressed at the gym.

It struck me the other day that my grandmother's concept also scales up. Everyone has a body -- they come in different shapes, but we all have circulatory systems, internal organs, senses, and the impulse toward healing. Everyone has emotions -- some of us know how to put words to them, some of us get overwhelmed by them, some of us have locked them away, but we've all experienced them. Everyone has talents -- whatever one's passion, career, hobby, interest, or passing curiosity, each of us has a strength, even if it's just being the only You of your kind.

Everyone has the capacity to do good as well as the capacity to increase suffering. Everyone has a unique combination of nature and nurture that has brought us to this point in time. We all have what everyone else has -- just more or less of it. It's a profound blueprint for fostering compassion.

In a flash, I saw the concept at work within myself as well. Over the course of my life, I've always been smart, kind, and funny -- just more or less of it. I've carried fear -- just more or less of it. I've felt connected and I've felt lonely -- just more or less of it. I've expressed my true nature -- just more or less of it.

Despite everything I've gone through, I've never really lost anything. My essence remains intact within the ebb and flow of time and circumstance. Whatever may happen in any given moment, I'm never less than whole -- and never more grateful to know it.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Call for Personal Stories from Bisexuals (San Francisco Human Rights Commission)

From the LGBT Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission:


Too often, bisexuals are ignored, demonized, or rendered invisible by both the heterosexual world and the lesbian and gay communities. Too often, the entire sexual orientation is branded as invalid, immoral, or irrelevant. Despite years of activism and a population twice the size of gays and lesbians, our needs still go unaddressed and our very existence is still called into question. This erasure has serious consequences on our health, our incomes, and funding for our organizations.

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee (LGBTAC) of San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission is currently working on a report that will address the issue of bisexual invisibility and recommend changes that the city can implement. Past reports include groundbreaking work on issues such as transgender discrimination, LGBT aging, and the medical “normalization” of intersex people. (For more about the Human Rights Commission and the LGBTAC, go to

As part of the “Bisexual Invisibility” report, we’d like to include personal stories from bisexuals to give a voice to a population regularly left out. Please note that because the LGBTAC’s official scope is limited to the City and County of San Francisco, we’re looking for authors who live, work in, or spend significant time in San Francisco.

Submission guidelines:
~ Stories should be 500 words or less. Your entry may be edited for length, grammar, or clarity. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer,” we want to hear your story, too! (Please note that we may not be able to include all entries in the report.)
~ Authors should identify as having attractions to more than one sex (whether or not you call yourself “bisexual”).
~ Stories should be grounded in personal experience rather than focusing solely on philosophical or political analysis.

Possible topics (you do NOT need to address all of these):
~ What do you feel are the particular gifts, perspectives, experiences, etc. that bisexuals bring to the broader LGBT community?
~ When did you come out as bisexual? Have you ever identified as lesbian or gay?
~ Have you ever felt excluded (or welcomed) specifically because you were bisexual?
~ Do you feel your healthcare needs as a bisexual are taken into account by mainstream health services? By LGBT-focused services?
~ In your experience, how well do LGBT organizations that include the “B” in their names also address the needs of bisexuals in their programs? Does a particular experience stand out?
~ How/when do you disclose your bisexuality when dating? Do you choose to talk about it at all? Why or why not?
~ Does your bisexuality conflict with other aspects of your life? Would you choose a different orientation if you could?
~ What is your relationship to the label “bisexual”? Why do you apply it to yourself (or not)?
~ How does bisexual space differ for you from mixed settings or primarily monosexual spaces?
~ What is the best part about being bisexual? The most difficult part?

Submission contact information:
Please send your piece to with the text IN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL ONLY. (To protect against viruses, messages with attachments will be deleted.) Please include your name, address, email, and phone number.

To ensure that we can include stories from a diverse cross-section of bisexuals, please include the following information:

Are you a parent?

Entries are due no later than FEBRUARY 15, 2009.

If you have any questions, please email

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