Q&A: Bisexual Community Activist & BiNet USA president Faith Cheltenham

By Stevie St. John

Editor’s note: Last year, Faith, an L.A. resident, was one of Advocate’s “Forty Under 40.” Visit Faith’s blog to read about BiNet successfully lobbying Google to unblock the term “bisexual” from auto-completing in search results. Faith’s answers below are slightly paraphrased, but the substance is all from her responses. – Stevie

Faith_C_Advocatepic
Advocate photo
Faith Cheltenham, president of BiNetUSA

Q: What does BiNet do?

A: BiNet does advocacy, networking and outreach. We support the development of local groups across the U.S. We’re letting people know there is a community for them – that there are people like them everywhere.

Q: What are some key issues/challenges facing the bisexual community?

A: There are some issues that are unique to the bisexual community; one is work environment. Even in a workplace that has an LGBT resource group, bi people often don’t feel comfortable.

Bi men and women are less likely to be out at work; they simply don’t feel safe. They see that other bi people aren’t promoted. They are seen as not productive, indecisive and unreliable. It leaves you in a bit of a bind in the workplace.

Many people think bi issues are the same as gay and lesbian issues, but there are often differences. Bi women experience higher rates of domestic violence. And bi people have higher rates of certain health issues, such as thinking about suicide.

Q: Are there local resources you want people to know about?

A: SoCal has a large and prominent bisexual community; it’s one of the biggest centers of bisexuals.

There’s AMBI, which is very active and has diverse programming, and the Los Angeles Bi Task Force. And there are chat groups: Bi-osphere, Westside Bi Social Chat (hosted by AMBI and Interweave) and Bi Talk at the South Bay Center.

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