Pandemonium Year in Review
Pandemonium was founded in October, 2016 as a group that discusses issues related to members of the Bi+ community. The group also tries to build a sense of identity and community among the members. Once a month since its founding, Pandemonium has met for “Bi with Pie.” Bi with Pie is a monthly discussion group which tackles issues related to bi+ identities as well as other LGBTQ topics. This is an overview of some of the discussions the group has hosted over the last year as well as some suggested goals for 2018.
January Discussion: Bisexuality and homophobia
In January, we discussed some of the ways in which bisexuals can avoid homophobia and transphobia, but also the realities of biphobia and bi-erasure. For instance, bisexuals should not assert that everyone is actual bi or bi is the natural state of human sexuality, since this negates and erases the experiences of other sexual identities.
February Discussion: Bi Identities-
This discussion provided a brief overview of some of the different identities which fall within the bi+ community. Because we have some new members since this initial discussion, it might be useful to have this discussion again.
March Discussion: Trans in Prison/Letters to Prisoners
In March, Lucas lead a discussion about the oppression of trans individuals in the prison system. Problems faced by trans prisoners include misgendering, dead naming, placement with male prisoners if female or female prisoners if male, lack of access to hormones, lack of access or expensive access to hygiene or beauty products, etc. This discussion was followed by an opportunity to write letters to LGBTQ prisoners.
April Discussion: Bi Poetry
At the April meeting, Lucas shared some of his own poetry as well as the poetry of several famous bisexual poets. The poems were discussed for themes related to bisexuality.
May Discussion: Frida Kahlo and Bisexuality
In May, I did a presentation on Frida Kahlo’s bisexuality, as well as her political beliefs. I discussed the theme of bi-erasure in some media depictions of her.
July Discussion: Intersectionality and LGBT Organizing
There was no Bi with Pie meeting during the month of June. However, we met again in July and had a discussion on the topic of intersectionality. The discussion introduced the topic of intersectionality the way in which LGBT activists have both succeeded and failed to be intersectional.
August: Planning Meeting
In August, we met to plan Bi Visibility Day in September.
September: Poster Making Event:
We did not have a discussion topic in September. Instead, we gathered together to make posters for Bi Visibility Day.
We had a very small and unprofessional table at Pride. While our table had a very “do-it-yourself” look, we promoted Bi with Pie, Bi Visibility Day, and sent letters to LGBT prisoners as a solidarity greeting from Pride. At least two dozen people signed the cards to these prisoners.
Bi Visibility Day:
Pandemonium sponsored a very modest Bi Visibility Day picket. The goal of the event was to draw attention to the existence of bisexuals or the bi+ community i.e. increase our visibility. This was the first time we have organized an event like this and it should definitely be on our agenda for 2018. Bi-visibility day is September 23 rd.
October: Domestic Violence and the LGBTQ Community
Jenny led a great discussion on how intimate partner violence/domestic violence impacts the LGBTQ community. She showed us an LGBTQ power and control wheel and discussed gaps in services and research. Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month it was a timely talk.
December: Bisexuality and Vampires
Our final discussion of 2017 was on the topic of vampires and bisexuality. The discussion was lively and I only made it through half of the research that I had prepared. We discussed various representations of bisexuality in vampire media.
Moving Forward-2018 Goals:
Looking back at 2017, I think that Pandemonium hosted some really great discussions on a wide variety of topics. I also think it was great that we attended Pride and organized a Bi Visibility Day Event. We attracted some new members, such as G, C, and D, though the group remains fairly small. Our best attended discussions were the topics of Frida, vampires, and bisexual poetry. I am sure the group could be larger and more active, but I will admit that as an organizer, I put this group on the back burner. I do not invest as much of my energy into this group as I do other activist projects that I am involved in. I am comfortable with the amount of time I devote to it, as I think it is okay to have a small and low key group. To avoid burning out, I would like to scale the meetings back a bit, or perhaps mix up discussion based meetings with social activities as we enter the new year. Also, because I often go to Pizza Luce for other events, I would like to explore alternative meeting venues and meeting ideas. Here are some suggestions for 2018.
-Have less frequent meetings- perhaps bi-monthly. -Continue to have meetings with an educational discussion focus combined with some social events -Rethink Bi with Pie. Could we do Bi with Bites- and meet elsewhere for appetizers? Or Bi with Baklava and meet at Coney Island for Baklava. Maybe Bi and Beaners? I would like to move away from buying a pizza for the group for my own budgeting… -Try to promote Prism’s Events and better collaborate with Prism -Do a meet and greet with CSS Queer-Straight Alliance to promote our group. -Try to do something for Pansexual Awareness Day on December 8th! -Consider if we wish to do any LGBT prisoner work this year. If we do, we must re-visit if Lucas is welcome to participate in the group since he is the main contact and organizer with local criminal justice work. He has not participated in the group due to concerns about his criminal history -Consider other avenues of bi+ activism -Promote the BECAUSE conference in October -February- no regular meeting, but encourage members to attend feminism beyond the binary -March: Host a discussion on bisexuality and women’s history/feminism for March/Women’s History Month OR revisit last year’s presentation on various bi-sexual identities. -April: Host a discussion or panel on bisexuality and autism for our April meeting- Autism Awareness Day -May: Topic TBA -June: Perhaps a fun social event- like a bi bonfire on Wisconsin Point? -July: Host a birthday party or birthday celebration for Frida Kahlo. We can revisit the presentation I did last year on Frida’s sexuality or invite someone else to present. -August: Topic TBA -September: Organize Bisexual Awareness Day/ Consider a Pride Table (though I will be out of town)
-October: Host a panel or discussion on domestic violence and the LGBTQ community again. Perhaps work with Prism to co-sponsor this event. We could reach out to the Education Coordinator at Safe Haven to see if she would be willing to present this or facilitate the discussion. This is a great way to plug into Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
-November: Topic TBD
-December: Consider not having a meeting due to the busy holiday season.
Pansexual Awareness Day- December 8th