bialogue (bialogue) wrote,

[Dallas/Ft Worth TX] Putting the B back in the Big D: Local group re-launches bi website & meetings

X-Posted from the Dallas Voice a community newspaper for LGBT Dallas. This article by News Editor John Wright originally appeared in the print edition of September 5, 2008.

Matt Goodman says he’s known he was bisexual since he was 5. “I didn’t know what to call it, but I knew I liked boys and girls,” Goodman said.

Matt Goodman, executive director of DFW Bi Net, poses with a bisexual Pride flag. Goodman says the fact that most gay and lesbian people don’t know the flag exists is evidence that the “B” in LGBT has been largely ignored. - JOHN WRIGHT/Dallas VoiceGoodman, now 29, says he came out when he was 18 after enrolling in art school at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he became vice president of the campus LGBT group.

After returning to Dallas, Goodman had a 7 1⁄2-year monogamous relationship with a woman, whom he eventually married. But after going through a divorce about six months ago, Goodman decided to rediscover his bi roots and come out all over again to his friends and family.

When Goodman began searching for bisexual resources locally, he quickly discovered that there weren’t any. Since then, he’s set out to try to change that.

Goodman recently helped revive Dallas/Ft Worth BiNet (DFW BiNet) Goodman, who now serves as executive director, said the latest incarnation of the group has launched a new Web site and held its first organizational meeting on Saturday, September 6th 2008. The agenda includes approving a constitution and a business plan, obtaining nonprofit status, and preparing for the upcoming Pride parade.

DFW BiNet’s MySpace page already has already attracted over 100 "net-friends", and on Wednesday September 17th 2008, the group will hold its first monthly support group meeting.

“I’m looking at it as a brand new start,” Goodman said. “Dallas doesn’t have a really strong bi voice right now, but I’m going to fix that. There are a lot of bi people in Dallas-Fort Worth. We’re just not organized.”

The mission of the group, Goodman said, is to connect bisexual, bi-curious and bi-friendly people, and to provide support for people who are coming out, as well as their friends and families. The group will also work to educate the LGBT community and the general public about bisexuality.

Stereotypes abound when it comes to bisexual people, including that they all are sex addicts or just homosexuals who fear coming out. And those stereotypes are among the factors that have led to the “B”, for bisexual, being largely forgotten when it comes to the LGBT Community, Goodman said.

Much has been made of late about the importance of transgender inclusion, especially with the controversy involving the federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). But Goodman noted that many people who identify as gay, lesbian and transgender may be bisexual.

“We’ve been involved in every LGBT issue since Day 1. We were at Stonewall,” Goodman said. “We can’t be cut off, because we’re all part of the same world. You don’t exclude part of the community. You have to take care of your family.”

Logo Dallas/Ft Worth BiNet (DFW BiNet)Tommi Ivey, 26, who also recently joined DFW BiNet, said she views the group as an opportunity to help others. Ivey said she’s been out since high school, when she had a girlfriend, but since then she’s dated mostly guys.

It was one of those guys, she said, who led her to DFW BiNet after he expressed concern that he might be attracted to other men.

“I was trying to find some resources for him, but I ended up finding things for myself,” Ivey said. “To me it was a curiosity that turned into a great opportunity.”

Ivey’s said she’s evidence that it’s often difficult to pigeonhole people. She described herself as a moderate Republican and a full-gospel Pentecostal. And she said she identifies more as pansexual than bisexual, meaning she can be attracted to people regardless of their gender or gender identity.

“I go for the heart and soul of someone, and whatever outer form that person comes in, that’s what they come in,” she said. “It could be a guy who is a cross-dresser and I may not know it’s a guy. Or it could be the regular girl next door, or it could be a regular guy. It doesn’t matter.”

Ivey said while she has a strong support structure, her background allows her to relate to those who don’t. She comes from a conservative religious family, and she’s experienced the coming out of her lesbian sister and her gay best friend.

“There are people who don’t have that support structure, especially here in Texas because it’s a Southern state, and there’s a lot of the religious right out there that just doesn’t get it,” Ivey said. “A large majority of people assume that you’re just a slut and you’ll mess around with anything, and that’s not the case.”

Gary North, treasurer of the national umbrella organization BiNet USA, said despite lingering prejudices, acceptance of bisexuality is growing overall — which could help explain the reinvigoration of groups like DFW BiNet.

“I think this might be generational,” North said. “As young people come up, they’ve never known a world that didn’t have that moniker [LGBT], those initials, and it’s understood that there is a spectrum out there. It’s not just either-or. It can be both on a sliding spectrum.”

Bisexual/Pansexual Groups for people in Texas

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Tags: activism, articles pro-bi, bisexuality, community
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