Why did I start Bconnected?
Long answer: To usher in bisexual anarchy that will destroy The Standard Narrative around sexuality, love, gender, and relationship structure.
Short answer: To save myself.
When I was trying to come out, not only to myself but my family as well, I was grappling with the data around being bi and what I could see around me in terms of any kind of bi-ness–which was absolutely nothing. At 36 I had never met anyone using the bisexual label. Bisexuals are the largest group under the LGBTQ umbrella….but nearly 70% of us are closeted….What?!….Where are these people and why are we all living like this?
I wanted to find other bisexual people but I had no idea where to start looking. The existing gay or lesbian scenes were exactly that–I would usually be the only bi person at an event.
I had tried hanging out in the swing scene for about a minute. Turns out that’s not a match for me (nor most of the bisexuals I know). Which, hey–I ain’t got no judgement if that’s your deal. But so many bisexuals have expressed to me that they can’t connect with someone in that environment.
Granted the few “Lifestyle” events I went to had the most concentrated group of bi women I had ever been around. I quickly noted that none of them were living as out bisexuals, let alone using the label ‘Queer.’ (I wouldn’t adopt that label myself for a few more years). My interactions were brief and somewhat unsettling. One man walked up to me, with no prior conversation between any of us, and said “Wanna eat out my wife.” (Picture me staring blankly at him, too stunned to speak. I mean, to be fair I was in a sex club. But still, I think I honestly expected the evening to feel more like a scene in Cleopatra). Women would send their husband or boyfriend over to talk to me and a few people would touch me without asking. It felt patriarchal and the complete opposite of sex positive.
My only thought was: I’m an adult, I don’t want to live like this. Is this my community–a sex club in Denver? It’s 2am and I’m an hour away from home. I have kids!
After one particularly difficult day in therapy I left my therapist’s office and thought: I’m done. I’m done feeling isolated and lonely. I’m going to find these other bisexual motherfuckers, if they even exist, like this lady is telling me they do, and we’re going to form an army and take over. Because fuck this. (Since childhood, I’ve had a flair for adopting grandiose personas and ideas as a way of surviving seemingly impossible situations. My first self-appointed name was Lisa The Great, which I started using during the time that my mom was having a pretty significant battle with mental health, and I wasn’t exactly thriving living in my grandparents’ basement where I wasn’t welcome.)
I started The Longmont Bisexuals’ Social Club that same day and scheduled our first meetup. (The name changed a few times before we finally became Bconnected). I think about six or eight people RSVP’d and three showed up after I nervously waited for 30 minutes. We had a great night chatting and I felt totally electrified with enthusiasm.
At the end of the evening we asked the manager of the establishment we were at if we could set up a bi night once a month at the brewery. She told me she needed to think about it because she didn’t want to give the brewery a “sketchy vibe”.
The first year of the meetup would prove to be the first of a few hard years for me. I would get a good group of people then they’d disappear. One particularly low point happened when I reserved a table for twelve in Denver and waited as no one showed up, with a combination of emotions that ranged from feeling like a total joke to a crushing sense of isolation. I still greatly appreciate the server who — after I told him for almost an hour that, no, my friends would be here any second — said as gently as he could, “Hey girl…should we call it?”
Later that night I had a panic attack in the bathroom.
At one point, after a handful of meetups to which almost no one showed up, I suggested to my friend Timmy we pull the plug. Timmy, who’d helped me run the group since early on, wisely suggested that instead of quitting we double down and start doing more events.
On another occasion while driving to one of my scheduled events I had come to dread, I voiced that I was thinking of quitting the whole idea to a person I was dating at the time. This Queer is pretty sparse with words, but they looked at me and with full sincerity said “No. This is your thing”
I credit those two as helping me settle into radical acceptance that no matter what happened I would just keep hosting more events. I became completely immune to feeling dejected if an event had little or no attendance.
Bconnected is, among other things, a coping mechanism for me. The meetup had to get going because I had to find some kind of acceptance within myself and a sense of belonging. I, and probably most Queers, have a long pattern of wanting to be atypical within a group of any kind while simultaneously desperately wanting to belong and thrive within the same group.
During this period, dating for me was going poorly. Keep in mind that at the time I was sorta out, but not really, so the internet was my only option for meeting anyone. It still makes me laugh that I honestly thought that trying to find a ethically non-monogamous girlfriend as a married mother of two would be as simple as setting up an online dating profile. I would soon learn, rather painfully, that most female-bodied Queers aren’t exactly looking for a married lady.
That’s ok–the Meetup will fix all that! #sardonichumor
We started to get more and more people showing up who were trans and non-binary, which surprised me at first. It shouldn’t have–they’re just as homeless as the bisexuals in-terms of fitting in and having a sense of belonging in the world. So many of us overlap the Queer/Trans/Bisexual labels that eventually Bconnected would become more of a home for the bi queer trans folks than the “people like me” I was initially hoping for.
It’s funny what the Universe sends you when ask for all the other Nice Bisexual Ladies and Gentlemen from the suburbs to show up. This is hopefully just the beginning of me learning to be more intersectional.
I love Bconnected. It’s turned from my coping mechanism to my community and creative outlet. I’m proud of myself as well as my friends who routinely show up and help build bi visibility and culture. The Bconnected community graciously accepts me for my strengths and weaknesses and I look to them to feel connected and have a community where we each feel understood and appreciated.
I still hope that those Ladies and Gentlemen who have one eye peeking out of the closet at our group decide to start participating at some point.
We need them and they need us.
When all the bisexuals come out everything will change. There will be an enormous cultural shift that allows personal freedom and choice to be our guiding stars, instead of the crippling social norms of rigid labels and relationship styles that are suffocating so many of us.
With any hope, Covid-19 will not burn out the engine behind myself, and the community as a whole, from creating a space for the rest of us to come out to.