Stop Erasing Bisexuality

181194_10151901019970012_1873878837_nBisexual activist Nicole Kristal, of the #StillBisexual campaign, has a message for journalists, politicians, and other influential personalities who fail to include bi people in their discussions of LGBT issues.  “Stop Erasing Bisexuality.”

She was frustrated that some people stubbornly wouldn’t listen to her on this topic, so she decided to start sending them “care packages” with actual erasers that have her message printed directly on them.  I enjoyed interviewing Nicole about her fun and effective campaign.

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Rio: What made you decide to make the bi erasers?

11905399_10155826736380012_8558601746612962707_nNicole: I wanted an item to send to publications and journalists that printed bi-phobic or bi-erasing articles. Emailing these publications and journalists seemed to make little impact, so I thought sending them something more tangible with a letter explaining why their actions hurt the bi community might make more of an impression. Obviously, the erasers can also be sent to gay organizations who fail to be bi inclusive, as well as anyone commenting on LGBT issues who fails to include the “B” in “LGBT.” I also wanted bisexuals to have something they could put in their pockets and take to gay bars so when they encountered a biphobic individual, they could just hand them an eraser and walk away.

Rio: How did you go about making them?

Nicole: I hired a graphic designer to choose a font I liked and then hired a company to print them. Originally, we wanted the phrase “Stop Erasing Bisexuality!” to look partially erased, but turns out you can’t print grayscale on erasers.

Rio: Have you sent any erasers to journalists yet?

12096438_1635645290009649_4634467810986459283_nNicole: I just got them yesterday, so no. I actually received so much demand for the erasers via Facebook and Twitter that I am focusing on a way to make them available to the general public. We are trying to set up #StillBisexual campaign video shoots across the country. The one in NYC cost $71, so I am hoping if I sell the erasers to fund the campaign I will be able to set up video shoots around the country and not have to pay for them out of my own pocket. But we are not yet a 501c3, so I will probably just charge tax and sell them like ordinary items until we are an official non-profit.

Rio: Can you give us an example or two of journalists you’ve contacted in the past whose bi-erasure inspired you to make these erasers?

Nicole: Absolutely. The editor-in-chief of Entertainment Weekly Henry Goldblatt published a lengthly letter from the editor, boasting about how their all inclusive gay issue featured the best in gay and transgender entertainment. Faith Cheltenham pointed this out to me. A bunch of us wrote him and Entertainment Weekly about it and how many bi roles there are on television but received no response. And really any article that erases someone’s bisexuality and refers to them as gay when it’s clearly inaccurate…they will be receiving erasers.

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Nicole Kristal and Bi.org writer Mike Szymanski at the White House Policy Briefing on Bisexuality, Sept 21st 2015

Rio: Do you think the interns or assistants who vet letters for journalists are more likely to forward your letter along due to it being accompanied by one of these erasers?

Nicole: Well, as a former journalist, I know that if a package is sent to someone, usually the person it’s addressed to opens it because they like receiving free schwag. Or is it swag? You know what I mean.

Rio: Seems like it could be an effective strategy then. Is there a website or another way for people to purchase these erasers from you? Can they just contact you?

Nicole: They are available for purchase through our campaign website: www.stillbisexual.com.

Rio: For those who don’t know yet, can you describe your #StillBisexual campaign?

daily-mailNicole: We are a confessional-style social media and video campaign aimed at dispelling the misconception that bisexuals don’t stay bisexual. We do so through filming #StillBisexual videos in which bisexuals tell their stories via handwritten cards, flipping them silently. The cards outline how they came to identify as bisexual, the biphobia they encountered and how they came to realize their bisexuality was here to stay. Each video ends with a card that reads #StillBisexual. People also have tweeted photos that say #StillBisexual. People can participate however they feel most comfortable. Gay folks and partners of bisexuals can also make videos as allies. Larry Nelson, Brenda Howard‘s widower, did this.

Rio: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

Nicole: Two things: if you see something biphobic in the media, tell me so I can send that person/publication an eraser. Second, if you buy an eraser, it would be awesome if you’d take a selfie with it and tweet or post it on Facebook for the campaign. We are also currently organizing #StillBisexual campaign video shoots in Chicago, Atlanta and Boston so please let us know if you’d like to participate.

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Rio Veradonir
Rio Veradonir is a contributing editor for Bi.org. He studied creative writing at Southern Oregon University and is a Lead Organizer for amBi - the world's largest bi social club (visit amBi.org for more information). You can follow Rio on Twitter @RioVeradonir.