Watch the Lavender Table Talk Now!
Starting September 16th, we commemorate Bisexuality Awareness Week, culminating in Bisexuality Awareness Day on September 23rd. These are opportunities to bring visibility to bisexual people and the unique contributions they make to the world as well as the unique issues, discrimination, and erasure they face. Bisexual people make up the largest segment of the LGBTQ+/Same Gender Loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) community, with more than 40% of LGBTQ+ people of color identifying as bisexual. Furthermore, 23% of Black women aged 18-34 identify as bisexual and The Trevor Project found 35% of Black LGBTQ+ youth identify as bisexual.
Black bisexual people face intersecting stigmas as they deal with internal and external homophobia, biophobia, transphobia, and racism. Black Futures Lab found that 27% of Black bisexual people reported feeling threatened or harassed once or more a week. Black same gender loving, gay, and bisexual men are more affected by HIV than any other group in the U.S., making up 26% (9,712) of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in 2018. To learn more about HIV in the Black community and how we can reduce stigma by having difficult, but essential, conversations, view NBJC’s Words Matter HIV Toolkit.
In honor of Bisexuality Awareness Day, and with the goal of increasing awareness and reducing stigma around Black bisexual members of our community, NBJC is proud to present a Bi+ Awareness roundtable discussion, the “Lavender Table Talk.” Facilitated by Executive Director David J. Johns, the conversation features the following brilliant, Black bisexual leaders who have worked to bring visibility to the diversity that has always existed in our community:
- Candace Bond-Theriault is a Black queer feminist lawyer, writer, social justice advocate and self-care guru working at the intersections of law, policy, reproductive health, rights, and justice, racial justice, economic justice, and LGBTQ+ liberation. Bond-Theriault received her dual LL.M. degree in Gender & the Law and Politics & Legislation from American University Washington College of Law, her J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law, and her B.A. from The College of William and Mary where she studied the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. Her writing has appeared in SELF magazine, Colorlines, the Root, Blavity, Out Magazine, Rewire, Ms. Magazine, the Advocate, the Grio, and the Huffington Post. She previously worked as the Senior Policy Counsel for Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice at the National LGBTQ Task Force and as a legislative assistant at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. She currently serves as the Associate Director, Policy, Research, and Strategy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
- Sharhonda Bossier is the Chief Executive Officer at Education Leaders of Color. She previously served as the organization’s Deputy Director. Bossier has also worked as the Vice President, Advocacy and Engagement at Education Cities, and as the Co-Founder, Deputy Director, and Chief Fellowship Officer at Families for Excellent Schools. Bossier attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she received a B.A. in politics and legal studies and an M.A. in education.
- Andrew Gillum is a lifelong public servant and leader. While attending Florida A&M University, he was elected to the Tallahassee City Commission, making him the youngest person to ever be elected to the commission. He served on the commission from 2003-2014, when he was elected as the mayor of Tallahassee. Gillum ran for Florida governor in 2018 and was the Florida Democratic Party’s first Black nominee. Gillum has been honored as one of Ebony’s Power 100 and was named a 2019 Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He currently hosts the podcast Real Talk with Andrew Gillum, with new episodes coming out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on Quake Media.
- Blair Imani is an author, educator, and influencer. Her work focuses on women and girls, the global Black community, and the LGBTQ+ community, and she works to amplify the work and voices of those fighting the good fight. She is the author of the books Making Our Way Home and Modern HERstory. Her next book, Read This To Get Smarter, will be published on October 26, 2021, and is a guide to being informed, compassionate and conscious on topics including race, gender, disability, class, sexual orientation and beyond. Imani educates people through her social media with the series “Smarter In Seconds’ ‘ where she explains complicated topics in 30 seconds or less. Imani has been named as one of the Root 100 in 2019 and OUT 100 in 2018.
- ABilly S. Jones-Hennin is an elder leader in our community. He helped launch the National Coalition of Black Gays (NCBG) in Columbia, Maryland, the first national advocacy organization for African American gay men, bisexuals, and lesbians. He is a founding member of the Gay Married Men’s Association and the National Association of Black & White Men Together, and helped mobilize the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gays in 1979. Jones-Hennin participated in the first delegation of gay people of color to meet with representatives of the President of the United States during the Carter administration. His current focus is on those in the LGBTQ+/SGL community who live in the U.S. South and rural areas.
- Dr. H. “Herukhuti” Sharif Williams is an artist, cultural studies scholar, sex researcher-educator, systems theorist, cultural worker, interdisciplinary sociocultural scientist, and hem netcher tepi, whose work operates at the intersection of race, culture, sexuality, and spirituality. He is the author of Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality, Volume 1 and the co-editor of Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men and Sexuality, Religion and the Sacred: Bisexual, Pansexual and Polysexual Perspectives. He previously received a National Institute of Mental Health-funded graduate research assistantship and has received training in sex research, HIV prevention research, and socio-clinical research methodology at the HIV Center for Clinical Behavioral Studies at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. In 2013, he was invited to the White House along with a number of other bisexual leaders, activist, and researchers to a bisexual community issues and public policy roundtable, where he co-presented about HIV and bisexuals. Dr. Herukhuti is currently a member of the artist collective No Homo|No Hetero, which works to foster unity and eliminate biphobia in Black communities through art.