September 20, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Some say Ohio is the center of the political universe. Whether or not it’s the center, it’s certainly a great place to be involved. In 2008, my partner and I moved to Columbus from Philadelphia to be closer to her family. I continue to be surprised by how progressive Columbus is for a midwestern city. Because it’s the capital of a major swing state, everything you do here has national and even global consequences. If you’re someone who cares about making the world a better place, becoming aware that you have greater political power and therefore greater political responsibility, can really drive you.
Most of the time I post here to link you to my posts on other blogs. All of this is to say that you can use this site as a way to get an overview of my writing/videos/photographs. You can also use this site as a hub to find links to all of my other online activity.
I’m going to keep this post sticky so it’s the first thing people see when they get here. That doesn’t mean that new things aren’t happening though. Just scroll down the page to see my latest posts.
A number of events inspired me to begin political blogging in December 2010. One was the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that enshrined money as speech and destroyed our past progress on campaign finance reform. My learning process about why that occurred and how to fix it helped me understand the importance of electoral politics. Another event that pushed me into political blogging was Senate Bill 5, a union busting bill pushed forward by Republicans in Ohio. My involvement in the process to repeal that legislation deepened my political understanding and sense of urgency. Another event that set my world on fire was the 2010 midterm elections. I realized I had to become involved if I wanted to have hope for preventing similar electoral disasters in the future.
I come from a family of passionate writers and voracious readers so blogging is natural for me. I also enjoy the creative process of taking and editing video and photographs. I understand that my voice as a woman, as an out bisexual, as an out atheist, and as someone who grew up with low socioeconomic status, is marginalized. I’m exercising my political voice as a form of resistance to that marginalization. I’m also trying to model political curiosity and engagement to everyone who identifies with me.
I blogged prolifically on my own until I was recruited to Plunderbund.com in February 2012. Plunderbund is a well-known and highly respected blog written by a team of authors covering politics in Ohio. The site gets around a million visits per year. Since being recruited to Plunderbund I’ve published around 70 articles there, supplemented with my personally created videos and photographs.
In November of 2012 I joined the team of LGBT bloggers at HuffPost Gay Voices as a bisexual voice. HuffPost Gay Voices was created in October of 2011, and from the first month out of the gate, HuffPost Gay Voices has consistently been ranked the number-one lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender news/culture website on the Internet by comScore. The Huffington Post is the only mainstream news organization with an entire vertical dedicated specifically to LGBT news. That means that we have a lot of straight and non-transgender people reading our stories every day, and anytime you raise the level of visibility of LGBT issues, you have the opportunity to not only inform people but also change their minds. You can become a fan or subscribe to get email updates of my posts at Gay Voices by clicking <THIS LINK>
You can follow me on Twitter @OHLMK and you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My Youtube channel has over 200 self-created videos around 60,000 video views. My videos on the Plunderbund Youtube channel have around 13,000 video views, for a grand total of around 73 thousand video views. This eponymous blog you’re at now has over 200 posts. You can subscribe to get email updates about what I post here by clicking on a button in the top right of your screen. My Twitter account has over 900 followers and over 10,000 tweets. My favorite social media platforms are Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.
If you send me a friend request on Facebook I will probably only accept if I’ve met you in person or you’re someone whose work I’m familiar with and respect. Not to worry though. My personal page is boring because I only posts personal things there. The real excitement is on my public page, where all the political posts go. You can find and like my public Facebook page at this link.
I live with my partner, Shannon. She is my world. Shannon and I met in 2005, were engaged in 2010, and registered as domestic partners in 2012. We look forward to the day when the Supreme Court of the United States acknowledges that denying people the right to marry, based on sexual orientation or gender identity, is unconstitutional.
May 23, 2013 § 4 Comments
I just read this article by Cameron Kude…
He’s contradicting himself. In one breath he says that bisexuality paved the way for pansexuality (implying that they mean different things). In the next breath he says that pansexuality and bisexuality are not different things.
Pansexuality and bisexuality mean the same thing. The only reason the word pansexuality exists as a term is because people don’t understand that the word bisexuality isn’t defined by the dictionary. It’s defined by the movement that reclaimed it and defined it- the bisexual movement. And the bisexual movement has always defined bisexuality in the same way that people are now defining pansexuality (and all the other anything-but-bisexual words that have gone in and out of fashion over the decades).
He also says that queer is a useful term for bisexual people to use. I disagree. I think it contributes to bisexual erasure. When you call yourself queer, people don’t know that you are bisexual. Lesbians and gays use the word queer too. Unless you always say bisexual when you say queer, you are contributing to bisexual erasure if you only use the word queer. If you are using the word queer in addition to using the word bisexual, what do you mean by queer? Are you saying you’re gender-queer? If you are then why not say that instead? Are you saying you’re a political radical? If you are then why not say that instead?
Using the word bisexual to label your sexual orientation is important. It honors the reality of the bisexual movement. It contributes to bisexual visibility. It builds the movement for change that will help end biphobia.
Why are labels valuable and important? Because using clear language is important. Why? Because we need to communicate with each other. If we don’t want to be understood we should just stop talking. Here’s a link to a blog post that explains why labels are important for social change.
May 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Recently I was talking to a friend and I said that bisexuals were always portrayed as immoral and mentally unstable in movies and television. My friend (who happens to be a lesbian) said, “Except for that bisexual character in The Good Wife.”
That character’s name is Kalinda Sharma:
The firm’s in-house private investigator. Kalinda previously worked for Peter for two years. He fired her after accusing her of working two jobs. After becoming good friends, Alicia finds out Kalinda had a one night stand with Peter before she knew Alicia, damaging their friendship. Kalinda has a cynical, misanthropic outlook on human behavior. She is bisexual. She often plays a major part in winning cases for Lockhart & Gardner, although not always ethically or legally. The character’s signature wardrobe piece has become a pair of knee-high boots; the character initially wore pumps but Panjabi felt that boots “grounded her in the character.”
Misanthropic: marked by a hatred or contempt for humankind
You can’t be moral and emotionally well adjusted if you’re misanthropic. If you get ahead in unethical ways. If you cheat on people. If you engage in criminal behavior.
Please. Stop portraying bisexuals as running around in knee-high boots, hitting men with baseball bats. And stop claiming that these are accurate and positive portrayals of bisexual people.
May 19, 2013 § 5 Comments
The way bisexual people are depicted in film and television tells us a lot about the level of biphobia that exists in our society.
The tropes I see repeated over and over-
Hypersexual (more sexual than the other characters and/or sexual in socially inappropriate ways and places)
Identity conflict (unsure of who they are/conflicted about who they are)
Temporarily thinks they are bisexual (therefore not actually a bisexual character). This one is very disappointing for bisexual people who get there hopes up when a show introduces a character who says they are bisexual.
Somehow “other” – different from the other characters in some significant way
The bisexual characters that would change the world-
Faithful and Monogamous
Equally as sexual as other people, respectful of social norms around sexual boundaries
Emotionally Stable/Mentally and Socially Well Adjusted
Comfortable in their sexual orientation identity, not afraid to use the word bisexual, congruent and unconflicted in other parts of their identity as well
Successful in all areas of life- friends, relationship, work, giving back
Average and Relatable
I would like to see bisexual characters that aren’t consensually non-monogamous. Not that there’s something wrong with having more than one sexual partner when all parties are honest and consenting. However, the average person tends to assume that bisexual people can’t be monogamous. Therefore it would do more to help people get over stereotypes about bisexuals to have characters with monogamy as a preferred relationship structure.
I would also like to see bisexual characters that aren’t transgender, not because there’s something wrong with being transgender, but because the average person tends to assume that all transgender people are bisexual. Therefore a cisgender (born with assigned sex aligned with gender identity) bisexual character is going to do more to teach people that bisexual and transgender are not synonymous. However, having a bisexual person in a monogamous relationship with someone who is transgender would be a good way to help overcome the stereotype that bisexual people aren’t attracted to transgender or genderqueer people.
Writers may wonder, “How do I communicate that a character is bisexual without having them go back and forth between male and female lovers, or without having them have more than one lover of more than one gender at a time?” My answer to that is you have the character simply talk with another character about the fact that they are bisexual. Have them explain that bisexuality is simply just having the capacity to be sexually attracted to more than one gender. Have them explain that they know they could fall in love with someone who was male, female, or someone who didn’t identify with those genders.
Then just have the character go on with life. Have them go to work, spend time with friends, spend time with their partner, take care of an aging parent, raise children, etc. The normal everyday things that make up a human life. People will know they are bisexual because they talked about it once. It doesn’t have to be brought up again an again. Sexual orientation is just one part of who we are. It doesn’t define us.
Another way to communicate a bisexual character’s sexual orientation is to have them be an equal rights activist. You could have them participating in the movement for bisexual equality. That way there are many more moments available to communicate important concepts about bisexuality through the voice of the character. However, it would be important to portray the activist as diplomatic and balanced. Otherwise it would just be playing off the stereotype that only radical people participate in activism of any kind, and would therefore make the bisexual character an “other” and not relatable to the average person.
If a person wants to write a bisexual character into a television show or movie they should start by studying the history of the bisexual movement. http://laurenmichellekinsey.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/know-your-bisexual-movement-history/
I think it would be difficult to handle the topic well if the time period of the show or movie was set before 1950 when the bisexual movement began. It would be difficult for any character to self-identify with clarity before that time, because there wasn’t language to talk about it.
Knowing a gay or lesbian person helps people learn to overcome stereotypes and support equality. People (especially Americans) feel like they “know” fictional characters they see on TV and in movies. Having gay and lesbian characters that defied stereotypes has helped heterosexual people rewrite their assumptions. The same will be true when bisexual characters are handled well in mainstream fiction.
Positive bisexual portrayals will also help bisexual people feel safer in the world, and feel less of the toxic self-hatred that can come from being misunderstood and marginalized.
May 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Check out my new project - http://shorthairupdos.wordpress.com
May 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I promised you that I’d use this site as a hub at which you can find links to all my other work. I’ve been slacking a bit on keeping you updated here on what I’ve been publishing over at Huffington Post. That’s because I’ve been keeping the Bi the Bi website updated with those links. But that’s a lame excuse really, so here I am, bringing you up to speed.
If you want to get an email every time I publish at Huffington Post you can go here…
…and hit the “fan” button.
Here’s text from our Bi the Bi website about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and the topics we’ve covered so far…
“Bi the Bi: Two Bi Writers on Big Bi Issues” is monthly series on Huffington Post that will eventually be compiled and published as a book.
In December 2012, Huffington Post blogger Lauren Michelle Kinsey initiated the creation of a series with published author and Huffington Post blogger A.J. Walkley. The series is an ongoing conversation in which the two women answer questions from readers about bisexuality. They believe that through this process they can help reduce the destructive power of biphobia, and empower bisexual people to live happier, healthier lives.
A.J. and Lauren are both monogamous, bisexual, cisgender females who are in long-term relationships. A.J. is in a relationship with a cisgender male, and Lauren is in a relationship with a cisgender female. Both A.J. and Lauren are committed to remaining visible as bisexuals in spite of society’s tendency to want to label A.J. as heterosexual and Lauren as a lesbian.
Lauren lives in Ohio and A.J. lives in Arizona. They’re connected to an international network of bisexual activists, who are working globally for greater acceptance and understanding of bisexual people.
You can ask A.J. and Lauren your questions about bisexuality by sending an email to email@example.com or by filling out the form on this website. Each month they will select one question to answer for the series. You can choose to be anonymous or request to be mentioned by name. Some questions that have been answered so far are…
April 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Brenda Howard (December 24, 1946 – June 28, 2005) was an American bisexual rights activist.
She is known as the “Mother of Pride” for her work in coordinating a rally and then the Christopher Street Liberation Day March to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Howard also originated the idea of a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world every June. Additionally, Howard along with fellow LGBT activists Stephen Donaldson and L. Craig Schoonmaker are credited with popularizing the word “Pride” to describe these festivities.
April 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In February 2012, Meg Barker and colleagues published the following definition of bisexuality in The Bisexuality Report, from the Open University in the UK. Here it is:
“Bisexuality generally refers to having attraction to more than one gender. It is a broad term which may include the following groups and more:
●● People who see themselves as attracted to ‘both men and women’.
●● People who are mostly attracted to one gender but recognize this is not exclusive.
●● People who experience their sexual identities as fluid and changeable over time.
●● People who see their attraction as ‘regardless of gender’ (other aspects are more important in determining who they are attracted to).
●● People who dispute the idea that there are only two genders and that people are attracted to one, the other, or both.