HRC staff this week joined other advocates at the White House complex for the Obama administration’s second annual Bisexual Community Briefing. The event was held in conjunction with Bisexual Awareness Week, also known as #BiWeek, which culminated on Friday with Celebrate Bisexuality Day.
HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Project Coordinator Charles Girard spoke on a panel about Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid and Bi+ Communities, and HRC Membership Outreach Coordinator Laya Monarez spoke on a panel about Bisexual People of Color Communities. Other HRC staff, including, Helen Parshall, HRC Diversity & Inclusion Assistant, and Lisbeth M Meléndez Rivera, HRC Director of Latino/a and Catholic Initiatives, also attended.
“As a Latina Bisexual Transgender Woman I have faced a lot of oppression and discrimination,” Monarez said. “Being able to speak about these issues and be a part of such a strong community that was being celebrated at the White House felt very validating. My whole life I’ve been taught that my identities will keep me from success, yet I can now say I’m the first of my family to ever speak for my communities at the White House.”
As bisexual people continue to gain visibility and awareness, there are a variety of issues that plague their community. Compared to other groups in the LGBTQ community, bisexuals face striking rates of poor health outcomes, ranging from cancer and obesity to sexually transmitted infections to mental health problems. Additionally, bisexual youth face a unique set of challenges that affect their ability to flourish in their families, schools and communities.
“As a young bisexual woman, it was a privilege to be invited to the White House for this event,” Parshall said. “It was a celebration of the breadth of our community, an examination of the intersections of our identities, and a recommitment to continue to strive for greater inclusion. It was incredibly powerful to stand up in a room of bi+ identified activists across the generations and to share in the commitment to continue to grow this work and stand together at the intersections of oppression.”
President Obama’s legacy of progress for the LGBTQ community is unmatched in history. HRC applauds the White House for hosting the events and thanks the Obama Administration for including HRC in this vital conversation.