Bi-invisibity has been an issue for some time now, decades in fact since formalized advocacy in Jamaica since 1974 with the formation of Gay Freedom Movement. The very name of GFM is a clear overlooking and even as then in those days newspaper articles especially by Jennifer Ffrench on the subject for several years bisexuality has not risen to the level of equal importance as it should in as far as visibility and such. Major reference only comes with associations with HIV infection rates and how the group acts as a barrier for transmission on the HIV virus as evidenced recently in a speech by our minister of health Dr Fenton Ferguson at a meeting of funders and stake holders where some figures were presented. Previous references come from voices for the removal or decriminalization of the buggery law in as far as HIV prevention as the primary reason by Dr Peter Figueroa at that Sexual Health Awareness meeting on November 2013 where he went into great detail on the last major study and emphasized the point.
Other outfits such as Aphrodite’s P.R.I.D.E Jamaica made sure the issues were addressed in their successful Seizmic Self Development and Enterprise Project Sessions for some 45 persons but as always with such small outfits they get no help from the more established LGBT organizations and or funding disappears for them so continuity is a major issue for such exercises.
The former GLABCOM gay, lesbian and bisexual community steering committees (an imprint of targeted interventions of JASL) and general LGBT meetings discussions tried its hand even getting key influentials involved such as a popular female party promoter but as usual again no real support comes from the main NGO structure and the emphasis ended up becoming more on HIV in the MSM community but mainly gay men via condom use and such and again bisexuals only limited to being a bridge for the virus’ passage to the general population. One event planned which was dubbed Bi-Fridays was conceptualized to try to attract such persons but very little response came as persons felt they would be identified and labelled mixed with ridicule.
Social media interventions via discussion boards, questions posed in groups and threads only seek to bring out the trolls and bitterness that seemed buried waiting to be stoked by the thought of suggesting bisexuality, how can we change that though? Even my own blog posts have received a backlash from persons asking why persons like myself and a few others even discussing bisexuality. So our bi brethren go underground. A recent thread on Facebook proved such that such anti bisexual sentiments still abound and coming from not only younger gay men and lesbians but rather surprisingly older persons which had me and some others sit up and take notice. But I should not be shocked as sometimes last year a former female party promoter and one half of the aforementioned Couture Elements team bore a daughter and shared her joy on Facebook only to be lambasted by persons on her friends list to the shock and horror of those who saw it and left an ugly feeling for some advocates former and present.
Comments to such effect as how can a lesbian go dickly? Or questions as to why she would share this openly knowing how persons can be downright rude and uncaring or what would a woman see in a man and or a penis for pleasure?
I would imagine prolonged awareness programs are required but sadly inwardly for the folks who believe in the one way or the other mantra in terms of homosexuality. Individuals who are otherwise enlightened can continue to share the right information but there is a definite need for more systematic interventions that are sustained and not stop and start activities. But community development in a real sense has never really been the main objective as law reform takes precedence than other matters that require urgent attention.
Think on these things
Peace and tolerance