Friday, February 23, 2007

This week's Bay Area Reporter is on newstands!

This week in the Bay Area Reporter I investigate a closely linked criminal and civil discrimination: “Man who filed bias suit against city is arrested” and I report about award winning out scientists: “Two Bay Area gay scientists honored.”

For more news and entertainment visit the
Bay Area Reporter online or pick up an issue at your local independent or queer bookstore.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It’s a bi, bi universe
An interview with co-authors of The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe
Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski

Heather Cassell: What made you think of writing a humor book about bisexuality?

Mike Szymanski: There was nothing funny about bisexuality out there and bisexuality is pretty funny. I have a whole shelf full of bisexual books and I have another two shelves full of gay books. The gay books are fun. They’re the kind of books you can pick up and read. They play off of the stereotypes and things like that.

Well you know there are tons more stereotypes with bisexuality and some of them are true and we want to play off of that and some of them are not true and we want to educate. The [gay books] have a lot of attitude and I didn’t see that in the bi books that I had. I felt that we need something that is like the preppy handbook or some of these really fun gay books.

Nicole Kristal: The gay manual. That is something that we looked at a lot and thought, ‘God why don’t we have something like this?’ Ever since I was in college I was trying to be a bi activist. I wrote about bisexuality in college for our literary magazine. I just felt that there’s nothing out there for me for when I was kind of dealing with this stuff. This was a real opportunity to help people kind of accept their bisexuality and realize that it can be fun and enjoyable, not something to be mad about. A lot of people just get serious because no one believes that bisexuality exists. This was a way to poke fun at that and also help people.

MS: We didn’t want it to be just for the profession bisexual or those of us who are bisexual and wear it on our sleeves and we don’t want it to be a bisexual 101 either for the newbie bisexuals. It had to be something that everyone in the gamut could relate to.

HC: And what are your personal opinions about the younger generation these days not using the word bisexual and referring to themselves gender queer or queer?

NK: I don’t even know if they are even calling themselves that. I mean I feel that a lot of it is like sex is not as politicized as it was. I mean that they are not activist, the younger generation, they are just sexual and they don’t want to be hassled with the labels it seems.

MS: It’s the “whatever” generation so my feeling is whatever works, works. I don’t care what we call ourselves I never though bisexual was really a great word, but I’ve never heard anything that has been better. We actually tried to come up with some.

NK: Yeah we did. We couldn’t. I mean the thing about out book too is that we try to flip those derogatory slurs and make them funny like we’ll call ourselves fence sitters, which is something that people in the bi community won’t do. We’ll joke about it, ‘We’re fence sitters.’ We don’t want it to be offensive anymore.

MS: And the whole thing are we confused. Well no we are not confused about our sexuality, but we are confused about our definitions because even in our own community we can’t even come up with a solid definition of what bisexual means.

HC: Why now a book about bisexuals and more books are emerging like Jennifer Baumgarder’s book, Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics is coming out soon.

NK: I think that bisexuality is perpetually trendy. There’s always a new wave of bisexual trends that come out and Newsweek does a story about it every five or ten years.

MS: The movies always hint on it. TV is becoming a lot more open to understanding it and using it in their plotlines without too much confusion.

HC: Do you think it’s still edgy to be bi? Do you think people are still really confused?

MS: Until people understand it, it is edgy. People don’t understand what it means. They look at Brokeback Mountain it was the “gay cowboy” movie. Those guys were both bisexual. They had very successful heterosexual relationships and but they loved each other. They were on the scale of bisexuality in a time period where it was hard to be very open about your feelings and it wasn’t like they were forced to have these heterosexual relationships. One of them especially had a very successful hetero relationship and yet it was called the “gay cowboy” movie and very few reviewers actually used the “B” word in their reviews it was enlightening to see that the New York Times and a few other big publications did and called it bisexual. But until it’s understood and people actually understand it, it’s going to be edgy, weird, and different.

NK: And another reason this is timely is because of the “Gay, Straight, or Lying” article in the New York Times that came out in July 2005.

HC: So how does someone know if they are bisexual or not? You have those fun quizzes.

NK: Yeah people are taking the quizzes way too seriously. [laughing] It’s like a joke and people are like using it like a Cosmo sex quiz or something.

MS: The problem with that it’s all by self-definition. Unless you call yourself bisexual you’re not so Anne Heche who’s now married [recently separated], but had a very wonderful long relationship with Ellen is straight. And Rock Hudson who was married to a woman, and according to her biography had a great sexual relationship with him, is considered a gay icon. People who are bisexual don’t necessarily like to use the name so it’s a very weird definition.

NK: You know if you’re bisexual if you get that tingle between your legs for a man or a woman. You know if you are with a woman or with a man you can still get that tingle for whatever the opposite sex and the same sex. You just simplify it based on physical attraction and desire and are honest with yourself and realize it doesn’t have to be one or the other. That’s how you can know if you are bisexual.

HC: What do you think is the hardest part about being bisexual?

MS: Explaining it to people.

NK: Yeah I feel like bisexuals don’t necessarily have a date on a Saturday night. I think it works against us more than it works for us. You know people assume you are really promiscuous and I’m not. You know I’m a pretty prudish bisexual. I don’t have sex parties, I don’t go to sex parties, and I don’t have orgies. I had a group thing in a hot tub in college like everybody else but I’m not running around having tons of sex. So what does that say about me? You know, it makes me almost feel that I’m not living up to everyone’s expectations which is ridiculous because the expectation is that I will be irresponsible and get STDs and you know be perpetually horny.

HC: Talking about having a gay side or straight side, you bring up in the book that bisexuals get accused of not understanding queer issues, like gay marriage, and straights just don’t understand why we support gay issues. What is your response?
MS: I’ve been on panels with that where people have gotten up and screamed at us saying that bisexuals don’t understand the gay community and lesbian community problems. I say you know when I come out of a gay bar and get bashed for coming out of a gay bar I don’t get half bashed as a bisexual. I don’t get half discriminated against. So even though there’s some thought that we have some sort of privilege.
NK: They think that we undermine their political agenda. That’s the bottom line. A lot of the gay movement is founded on that it isn’t a choice that we’re gay. They think that bisexuals make it look like it’s a choice and that’s the problem. What’s so funny is that they think we don’t understand this prejudice. We suffer so much prejudice from them that I would almost argue that we’re more discriminated against because we’ve got the straight people and the gay people coming down on us.
HC: What is it about recognizing bisexuals that’s so difficult to do?

NK: The problem with mainstream America is that they look at preference and they use that to define your sexual orientation. We don’t agree with that. It just doesn’t work.

HC: What about bidar? You had that fun quiz about bidar in that section. Do you believe bisexuals can create indicators to identify each other?

NK: For clothing we have to have community in order to do that and we don’t. So I don’t think that the clothing thing is going to happen anytime soon. People do pick up on it. It is a distinct type of energy. It’s sort of a melding of a male and female energy.

MS: That’s good. That’s good actually. It’s also an ease and a comfort that some people don’t have. Like you can tell when a straight guy is uncomfortable or something and I think that bi guys and women tend to be a lot more easy going and a lot more comfortable with things that may otherwise be shocking or uncomfortable either sexually or even in conversations.

NK: People who are comfortable with their bisexuality have sort of down to earth quality and they are not usually super obsessed with fashion I’ve found that’s just kind of – I don’t know a defining characteristic. But I don’t know may be that generalization is not fair. I’m sure there’s a lot of very well dressed bisexuals out there.

MS: We just don’t know any.

HC: And why is it that bisexuals just can’t get it together in the “What not to wear category”?

NK: I think it’s the androgyny. It’s like you don’t know if you’re going to go tomboy butch or femme one day and you end up mixing it all together and that’s what you got a weird look. I mean sometimes I’ll put an outfit, but it’s never totally femme I’ll always wear some big shoes or something that fucks it up and I’ll be like damn it why can’t I get this right?

MS: My gay friends have tried to dress me for years. They’ve just given up. They always said, ‘We can tell you have a straight side in you look at the way you dress?’

The Lambda Literary nominated Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe is coming to San Francisco.

The Queen of bisexuals Carol Queen is hosting a book reading and signing with authors Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski at Good Vibrations on Friday, February 23 at the Valencia Street store (603 Valencia Street at 17th Street) in San Francisco at 7:30pm.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

This week's Bay Area Reporter is on newstands!

This week in the Bay Area Reporter I look into HIV/AIDS in the Black gay male community: “AIDS rates among blacks puzzle researchers”; I report about the NAACP’s award from the EQCA: “NAACP honored by EQCA”; and I explore queer building families: “Adoption agency builds rainbow of families.”
For more news and entertainment visit the
Bay Area Reporter online or pick up an issue at your local independent or queer bookstore.

Monday, February 12, 2007

"Winter of Love" celebrates it's thrid anniversary with the Marriage Equality Story Quilt

San Francisco – Mayor Gavin Newsom and Marriage Equality USA kicked off the third anniversary of the “Winter of Love” with a gala event at City Hall on February 12.

Participants in the civil case pending in California’s Supreme Court stood along side Mayor Newsom, Assemblymember Mark Leno, Senator Carole Migden, and other marriage equality activists as they unveiled the Marriage Equality Story Quilt.

“I’m so proud to be a San Franciscan. I’m so proud to participate in this remarkable ideal…as we try to advance our principles and advance our values… and say we want to live our lives with dignity,” said Mayor Newsom. “It’s so much richness and so much deeper than just a gay and lesbian issue. It’s about America.”

The hope is in the air that marriage equality will win. Assemblymember Leno reintroduced bill AB43 the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act in December 2006. The legislation proposes to change the language in the California Family Code from marriage being a relationship between a “man and a woman” to “two persons,” has 44 Democratic votes in the Assembly and the civil case pending at the California Supreme Court gives a feeling that marriage equality is within Californians grasps.

“It’s just a reminder of how important it is for us to keep at it,” said Molly McKay, media director of Marriage Equality USA. “San Francisco really started something and it’s spreading.

McKay continued, “This is a super bowl year. We have a decision that is in the California legislature [and] through the California Supreme Court. We can have marriage equality. It’s all about this year. We need to keep at it. Whether we get marriage equality this year it’s totally up to us.”

The "Marriage Equality Story Quilt" will be on display in San Francisco's City Hall this month. The Quilt was produced by Maya Scott-Chung, 46, outreach director for LGBT parents for MEUSA. She developed the concept of the quilt as a part of her public health master's degree project at San Francisco State University.

Scott-Chung perceives the quilt as a tool to "bring alive" and "tying together the connections of communities, ethnicities, and families" and represent the impact of the 1,138 federal rights that marriage automatically provides for couples and their families.

She modeled the quilt after the AIDS Memorial Quilt because of the impact and the historical meaning. The quilt commemorates the three-year anniversary of the "Winter of Love," when Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; the 36th anniversary of the beginning of marriage counter demonstrations when LGBT couples began requesting the right to marry; and the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned laws against interracial marriage.

Scott-Chung told the B.A.R. that marriage wasn't a high priority for her and her partner, Mei Beck Scott-Chung, until it became available at City Hall. Mei Beck Scott-Chung was two months pregnant at the time and they were on their way to a doctor's appointment, but ended up getting married at City Hall on February 13, 2004. It all became crystal clear to her in an instant what marriage meant and how family would be affected culminating, in "being good and responsible parents."

Since then she has been a marriage activist.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Request for Participants:

Research study about same-sex women relationships

You are invited to participate in a University of Rhode Island research study to explore the effects of closeness in relationships between women romantically involved with other women. The information gained through this research will be used to better understand how women relate in romantic relationships and how they define, view and experience closeness in their relationships. Your participation in this study is completely voluntary, confidential and anonymous. In order to participate, you must be:1) at least 18 years old, 2) English speaking, and 3) a woman (in terms of gender or biological sex) 4) in a monogamous, romantic relationship with another woman. This study is not concerned with the way you may identify in terms of your sexual orientation. Therefore, you may identify as lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, or any other term you choose. It is only important that you are currently involved in a monogamous, romantic relationship with another woman and have been for at least the past year.
Just click the below link and you'll be directed right to the survey:

I am a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Rhode Island currently collecting online data on closeness in female couples who have been together for at least one year. Could you please post the below request for participants to any university and/ or women's list-serves to which you may have access? Thank you, in advance for your help in completing my goal of at least 200 participants by March, 2007.For questions, please contact Cassandra at:, not the one posting this for her.

Thank you in advance for your help and please forward this invitation to others who may either meet the criteria or know people who would.

Please complete this survey by February 20th, 2007. Thank you!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Job Opening:
Social Workers
Family Builders for Adoption

Family Builders is a non-profit, licensed foster care and adoption agency, serving children in the foster care system. Family Builders by Adoption is predicated on the belief that every child has the right to grow up in a permanent, nurturing family. Family Builders educates the community about the needs of waiting children, advocates on their behalf and places children with permanent, secure families, through adoption and other forms of permanency.

Family Builders welcomes traditional families, single parent families, both men and women, gay and lesbian families, transracial and multiracial families and all other families as prospective parents. Family Builders is committed to serving all families equally with dignity and respect.

We have several social work positions open in our Oakland and San Francisco offices. All positions require MSW/MA or equivalent.

Social Work Supervisor in our San Francisco office. The Social Work Supervisor is responsible for the daily operation of the Adoption SF Project which provides recruitment, training and home studies for San Francisco county. Includes clinical supervision, managing work flow and assignments, and providing a direct link with SFDHS unit supervisors.Adoption Social Worker who will conduct home studies, as well as provide training and support to families as they prepare to become adoptive parents. This position will be based in our SF office, and will serve families throughout the Bay Area.

Permanency Social Workers. The social worker will work directly with older youth in the foster care system to create a permanent family. They will work with birth families and permanent families; provide clinical support services to youth and families and facilitate support groups for youth and families.

Family Builders offers an excellent benefit package including medical, dental, vision, acupuncture, chiropractic, mental health, pension and a generous holiday schedule.

Please visit our website at

To apply please send resumes to Family Builders by Adoption, 528 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94610, email or fax 510-272-0277.People of color and former foster youth strongly encouraged to apply! EOE.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Have your voice heard about female same-sex sexuality!

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School are seeking lesbian, bisexual, women-loving-women, and transgendered women who have been in a same-sex relationship for at least 6 months to complete a survey about sexuality.

We ask that you be 18 years of age or older and reside in Canada or the United States to participate in the study. We are interested in learning more about women's sexual orientation, sexuality, sexual trauma history and relationships in order to further understand the complexity of lesbian and bisexual women's sexuality.

This survey is confidential. If you would be interested in participating please go to ( and complete the online survey which is approximately 45 minutes long.

If you have questions, please email Shana Hamilton, Ph.D. at
This week's Bay Area Reporter is on newstands!

This week in the Bay Area Reporter I search for the answer to lasting love: “Many couples find lasting love”; I look into the ongoing case for the Castro Halloween shooting: “Judge orders DA's office to produce pictures of Halloween suspect”; and I review one of the lastest bisexual books: “Bisexuals are doing it for themselves.”

For more news and entertainment visit the
Bay Area Reporter online or pick up an issue at your local independent or queer bookstore.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Journal of Bisexuality Announces New Editor

by Ron Suresha, 2/5/07

Regina Reinhardt, who assisted bisexuality expert and advocate Dr. Fritz Klein at the Journal of Bisexuality, recently announced that Jonathan Alexander, PhD, has been named the new Editor of the quarterly Journal of Bisexuality, published by the Haworth Press.

Jonathan is an Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and edited (with Karen Vescavage) the groundbreaking 2003 double issue of the Journal, "Bisexuality and Transgenderism: InterSEXions of the Others."

According to Regina, who remains the JoB assistant editor, Fritz made the appointment shortly before his death in 2006. They are resuming work on earlier ideas for journal themes, and are looking for support to keep the Journal going: "It is Fritz's greatest legacy," said Regina.

A complete list of the table and abstracts of the Journal of Bisexuality is located on

More information on the Journal is also available at the
Haworth Press.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

NWSA Lesbian Caucus
Graduate Student Scholarship Award

Are you aware that each year the Lesbian Caucus of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) makes an award of $500 to a graduate student conducting research towards a Master’s Thesis or a Doctoral Dissertation?

Attached is a copy of the flyer and application cover sheet for the annual NWSA Lesbian Caucus Graduate Student Scholarship Award. This same information can also be viewed online at where applicants who are NWSA members can process submissions electronically. (Information on other NWSA scholarship & award opportunities can be found at

March 1st is the postmark (or electronic postmark) deadline for submissions so there’s still plenty of time to prepare and submit an application packet! Students making submissions to any of the NWSA award competitions are encouraged to apply also for NWSA travel grants (deadline February 15th) so that in the event they are selected a winner they can be considered for a travel grant.

The winner of the 2007 Lesbian Caucus scholarly research award will be invited to attend the annual NWSA Lesbian Caucus Breakfast Reception during the 2007 conference and will be welcome to submit a related article/essay for publication in NWSAction (Fall 2007).

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. For further information, feel free to contact me at

Lisa Burke

Disclaimer: Unless explicity stated otherwise, the opinions and perspectives contained within this e-mail are my own and should not be construed as representative of NWSA or any of its constituency groups.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Call for Submissions:
The Journal of Lesbian Studies

Special Volume of The Journal of Lesbian Studies
The Lesbian Image in International Popular Culture
Guest Editor Sara E. Cooper, California State University Chico

This special volume of The Journal of Lesbian Studies is seeking essays that explore a wide variety of lesbian images in a global context. Essays may address the lesbian image as it appears in literature, art, film, music, television, Internet, the news media, marketing, or any other venue of International Popular Culture. Essays may concentrate on one particular culture or be comparative in nature. Although no one specific theoretical approach is preferred, essays should critically and carefully examine the images discussed, including a commentary on the cultural or national context in which they appear, as well as discussion of related issues (e.g. intended audience, reception, political or commercial agenda, and the implications thereof). We also welcome creative contributions, including personal accounts, oral histories, feminist theory, research, fiction, poetry, etc. Authors may use a pseudonym if they prefer. Please let your friends, colleagues, and members of your community know about this project.

The concept of “lesbian” increasingly has been theorized, debated, and studied in the last four decades. Images marked as “lesbian” create desire in men and women alike, sell commercial products and services, and stir up controversy on many levels. Despite enormous international interest in the idea and image of lesbian, however, I believe that most people have only a limited understanding of what it is to be lesbian in a global context. In part, this limited perspective is due to the unavailability of images of the broad diversity of real women-centered women. For instance, in United States mainstream popular culture, images often portray a middle to upper class, thin, fashionable “lipstick lesbian,” as is the case in the television series The L Word and the predominantly gay male series Queer As Folk. Even some first-rate imported films such as Fire and Aimee and Jaguar show a lesbian image that conforms to the Western concept of beauty, although they complicate the paradigm of what is “normative” in terms of lesbian life and community in other places and eras. Japanese manga and anime, on the other hand, frequently contextualize girl-girl love within the High School arena, a fact which demonstrates a cultural reality in which such romances are considered “safer” (compared to opposite-sex attractions) and less likely to be consummated at that age. Some portrayals of female-female desire go even further to challenge commonly held views as to what is lesbian, such as the excellent Internet sites maintained by Male to Female and Female to Male transgender lesbians across the globe.

All thematic issues of the Journal of Lesbian Studies are simultaneously reprinted in book form by Harrington Park Press, the book affiliate of Haworth Press. We hope that the resulting book will be used in women’s studies courses and will be available in feminist bookstores.

Please send a one-page overview of your proposed contribution to Sara E. Cooper at by February 28. 2007. Proposals will be evaluated for originality and writing style, as well as how all the contributions fit together.
Essays of 15-30 pages (including bibliography), maximum word count 9000, as well as creative submissions (flexible page and word limit) as Microsoft Word attachment will be due by August 31, 2007.
This week's Bay Area Reporter is on newstands!

This week in the Bay Area Reporter I investigated the suspicious death of a trans woman: “Family questions SFPD probe in trans death”; announced Saturday hours for a queer youth health clinic: “Dimensions Clinic expands to Saturdays”; and reported on finding LGBT seniors: “Seeking LGBT seniors.”

For more news and entertainment visit the
Bay Area Reporter online or pick up an issue at your local independent or queer bookstore.