An avid BWQ reader herself, A. Rose Bi proudly identifies as a bisexual woman. She currently lives in New England with her lazy spirit animal, a Siberian cat named after CJ Cregg.
In addition to being an out bi woman, A. has a degree in Cognitive Science, has completed trainings for LGBTQ+ and sexual assault survivor advocacy, and has experience answering calls for an anonymous LGBTQ+ help line. She is passionate about feminism, the bi+ community, LGBTQ+ and female representation in the media, and helping others.
A. Rose Bi’s column relies on questions from readers like you! You can send any questions you might have or suspect other readers may have to the author directly at email@example.com or by posting on the Bi Women’s Quarterly facebook group. All questions are anonymous, nothing is off-limits, and anything related to upcoming issue topics is extra-encouraged!
Dear A. Rose Bi,
I work for a large company and we have a fantastic employee resource group (ERG) for LGBTQ employees. However, the name only directly references “gay and lesbian” employees. I know the group is inclusive of all LGBTQ-identified employees and allies, but I can’t help but feel lesser than as a bi woman because of the name. Am I making too big of a deal about this since they’re ultimately an inclusive group? Or am I right in feeling bothered? And if so, what do I do about it?
Feeling Left Out
Dear Feeling Left Out,
I’m so sorry to hear that! First, if you’re feeling left out and uncomfortable about it, then I’d bet there are other people who feel the same way. Regardless, you’re not overreacting. If your experience as an LGBTQ+ employee is negative, that’s something that your company’s LGBTQ+ ERG should be concerned about.
With that said, if you feel comfortable taking action or saying something, go for it! Here are a few things you could do:
Email the president or board of the group and let them know how you feel. If they react positively or are open to a conversation about renaming the group, great! Some words you can use in a name to be more inclusive of the whole LGBTQ+ population are “Pride,” “Out,” “Spectrum,” and “Queer” – for example, Out@Company X or Company X Pride. If they aren’t open to a discussion, consider continuing down this list of ideas.
If you know other queer, trans or bi+ people at your company, ask for their thoughts. Compile any other concerns your co-workers have about the naming of the group and present your research to the president or board of the group. You can either use this to help your case after an initial attempt to talk to them or start with this if that feels better for you.
Ask the group to put on a program focused on bisexuality. This would be a positive affirmation that they, in fact, do value their bi+ members.
Start your own group for bi, trans and/or queer employees. I’d recommend this as more of “last resort” if the existing group won’t listen or engage with your concerns. Some things to consider are whether you know other employees that would be interested in participating (there are likely some that you don’t know about!) and what the budgeting or resourcing process looks like for a company-sponsored employee group (if applicable).
From what you’re saying, it sounds like the leadership of this group will be open to a discussion! A lot of times, the oversight is due to a lack of knowledge and education. While I wish we didn’t have to educate others, especially other members of the LGBTQ+ community, about queerness and bisexuality, we often find ourselves in situations where that’s the case. Hopefully your group’s leadership will be responsive and you’ll help other non-lesbian and non-gay queer men and women at your company feel more included!
Best of luck and lots of love,
A. Rose Bi