The story is pretty well known among those who come to the Utah Pride Center once a month for the Utah Bisexual Support Group meetings. The concept for a bisexual group in Utah came about in September, 2005, when co-founders Jay and Shauna Brock approached adult program director Jennifer Nuttall asking if there was a bisexual community presence at The Center. They were instantly signed up for the job. In December, 2005, the first meeting was held and now, two years later, the second Bisexual Awareness Month is happening. The concept was dreamed up right here in Utah, and to date, Utah is the only state celebrating this event.
Shauna is bisexual herself, and explains that she is “very proud of the fact that we are the first state to start an awareness month and celebration around this huge segment of our population and that Utah is spearheading the discussion of our issues in the public forum. Since Kinsey’s research in the 1950s, the existence and prevalence of bisexuality has been accessible public knowledge, but our invisibility has endured through the decades. I hope this trend begins to reverse as January’s events bring increased awareness.” Dr. Lisa Diamond, an Associate Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah, has conducted various longitudinal studies of the sexualities of women who self-identify as sexual minorities. She reports that “nonexclusivity in attractions appear to be the norm rather than the exception, and this is critical to understanding sexual fluidity from a psychological perspective.” Organizers say the research only proves that the existence of bisexual behavior, attractions, and desires certainly deserves more attention.
That is why they decided to devote an entire awareness month to Bisexuality. Rachel Langton, one of the Utah Bisexual Support Group moderators, clarifies that “The most important thing is to foster a sense of community among what is often considered an ‘invisible’ sexuality. While many people’s sexualities are, in fact, fluid over the course of their lifetimes, we are a culture that demands labels and boxes. So, if you’re a bisexual woman who happens to be dating a man, then you are instantly classified as heterosexual.” Yana Walton, a graduate from the University of Utah’s gender studies program, echoes this sentiment. Walton says she’s experienced this cultural assumption repeatedly while living in Salt Lake City. “If I bring an opposite sex partner to the Pride Festival, I sometimes feel like an outside spectator rather than being recognized as actively celebrating my sexuality.” In the same vein, if you’re a bisexual man who is dating a man, it is often though that you must be gay. One of the goals of the event organizers is to break down the idea that bisexual people do not exist – and having a month devoted to the celebration of all sexuality, especially bisexuality, does just that.
For the entire month of January, the Utah Bisexuals Support Group will host several events open to all Utahns that bring awareness to all the diversity within bisexuality, create a sense of community, and break down some negative stereotypes surrounding the B in GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender).
The Utah Pride Center has been elated to include Utah Bisexuals Support Group as part of their adult programming. Their meetings are held at the Utah Pride Center on the second Thursday of every month from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. For more information, please contact the Utah Pride Center at www.utahpridecenter.org or the support group’s website http://utahbisexuals.bravehost.com/index.html.
A listing of events for the month is listed below. (You can find the hosts by looking for the purple flowers.)
Bisexual Awareness Month Activities:
Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 8:00pm
Coffee Social: Kick off BAM by joining us for a coffee social!
(at Sugarhouse Coffee: 2100 S. 1045 E.)
HOSTS: Russ and Shauna
Monday, January 7, 2008 at 8:00pm
Bisexual Group Social at Dee’s Restaurant: Join us for a late night bite to eat at Dee’s!
(at the Dee’s Restaurant located on the corner of 2100 S. and 700 E.)
HOSTS: Deserae and Matt
Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 7:00pm
Bisexual Panel: We will have a panel set up to answer questions on Bisexuality.
(at the Utah Pride Center)
HOSTS: Rachel and Shauna
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 7:00pm
Coming Out Social: “Oh My, We’re Bi! Let’s Have Pie!… or Cake!” Join us for our Coming Out Social, with pie, cake, t-shirts and fun.
(at the Utah Pride Center, Multipurpose Room)
HOSTS: Shauna and Russ
Saturday, January 19, 2008 (time to be determined)
Speaker on current research on Bisexuality (to be determined)
Cafe Espresso – 4600 S. Redwood Road
HOSTS: Alex and Shauna
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Movie Night: ‘Kinsey’. We will be showing the movie ‘Kinsey’, followed by an opportunity to discuss the movie and Bisexuality.
(at The Utah Pride Center)
HOSTS: Deserae and Shauna
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Queer Reader, the Utah Pride Center’s monthly book club, will be discussing the book “Bi Any Other Name”.
(at The Utah Pride Center)
HOSTS: Shauna and
Monday, January 28, 2008
Family Home Evening: Bowling at FatCat’s Bowling Alley
(at FatCat’s Bowling Alley)
HOSTS: Jay and Shauna