By Robyn Ochs
BIG NEWS: Kate Brown is the first out bisexual Governor in US history. On February 18, the Governor of Oregon stepped down and Kate Brown, who had been the state’s attorney general, ascended to this position. Brown, a Democrat, has been in state government since 1991, including a time as Senate Majority leader. She has been out as bi since shortly after being elected to the Oregon House of Representatives. In OutHistory’s project, “Out and Elected in the USA: 1974-2004,” she wrote:
I believe it was during my early 30’s that I figured out who, or what, I am. But it wasn’t until it was written in the Oregonian newspaper that I was bisexual that I had to face the inevitable and let those around me know. Thus began my very public coming out as a bisexual:
- Coming out to my parents – who flew in from Minnesota “to have a talk.” Their response – “It would be much easier for us if you were a lesbian.”
- Coming out to my gay friends – who called me halfqueer.
- Coming out to my straight friends – who never thought I could make up my mind about anything anyway.
And, most frighteningly to me:
- Coming out to my legislative colleagues. At the beginning of the next legislative session sitting in the House lounge, representative Bill Markham, who is over 70 years old, extremely conservative, and a legislator for more than 20 years comes to join me. Over lunch he looks up to say, “Read in the Oregonian a few months ago you were bisexual. Guess that means I still have a chance?!”
Some days I feel like I have a foot in both worlds, yet never really belonging to either.
At the Creating Change Conference in Denver, Colorado
December 4-8, bi+ activists facilitated several workshops: Building Community & Resisting Biphobia; Intersection Electric; Building Bisexual Health Awareness; Bisexual/ Pansexual/Fluid Caucus; Beyond Binaries; Bi the Agenda: Shaping Bi Inclusive Advocacy. In addition, they participated in a daylong Bi Organizing Institute; hung out in the BOPP Hospitality Suite; and chatted, shopped and collected materials at a display table shared by various bi groups (thanks, Task Force!). On Saturday, just before the State of the Movement plenary, 50+ loud and enthusiastic bi folks carrying signs and chanting “We are the B in LGBT” engaged in a bi visibility action.
And on a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Bend and Break,” Callie finally used the ‘B’ word: “So I’m bisexual! So what? It’s a thing, and it’s real. I mean, it’s called LGBTQ for a reason. There’s a ‘B’ in there and it doesn’t mean badass. Okay, it kinda does, but it also means bi.