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BI COMMUNITY DANCE By William Burleson Saturday night of the most recent BECAUSE Conference: the Midwest Conference on Bisexuality, featured a community dance. It was there, as I was dancing, ok, lurching, around the dance floor, that I had an epiphany. Very difficult to both dance and have epiphany at the same time. Trust me, you could hurt yourself. I was not just that I was dancing in a crowd of bisexuals—although that was pretty cool. No, that was part of it, but only a small part. My epiphany had its origin earlier in the evening. I was talking to someone I didn’t know, a man who was at a bisexuality conference for the first time. He was dissatisfied with some small conference detail that wasn’t very small to him. I probably said something like, “well, volunteers, eh?” Knowing full well I had the shelter of not having been a volunteer this year. Then, at the dance, Gary Lingen, a Twin Cities bisexual activist for, I don’t know, about 80 years, and I were talking. He suggested that I was now reaching the point in the community of being one of the honored elders. “Honored elders” is my term; he said “dinosaur.” Anyway, he didn’t have to tell me, I know I’ve become an old-timer. I’m happy with that. Indeed, I had long looked forward to the day I could sit back and say, “Humph. When I was working on BECAUSE, we did it this way…” As it turns out, however, that hasn’t been nearly as satisfying as watching the seeds grow that I helped plant; feeling I played a role, however small, in what this all is. Anyway, to my epiphany. It occurred to me that for many people on that dance floor, the event was a commodity. It is something they purchased for $70 plus $20 for dinner. If they aren’t satisfied, if the service isn’t up to speed, they will return it like a cheap sweater from Target. Fair enough. For me though, and I think for many more people on that dance floor, “commodity” was the least of its qualities. When I looked around, I saw people who I’ve known for a day and people I’ve known for the best part of a decade. Around me I see people form relationships, break up, and form new relationships once again. I see my fellow bisexuals have families and watch their children grow. I see people who love each other, people who hate each other, and

everything in between. I see friendships come and go, lovers come and go, and friends turn to enemies, and enemies to friends, all there on that dance floor. Now the epiphany: That’s a community. It’s just like any community. It’s just like a small town with all the flavor, dysfunction, connection, support, and continuity that come with it. They’re not my 100 best friends, yet I fully expect to know many of my fellow dancers the rest of my life. We will grow old together, if not all friends at least living on the same allegorical street in our town. We are all in this together, whether we like it or not. I can stay home, but I can’t make believe I don’t have a role here. For me it is anything but a commodity, it is a big part of who I am as a social, tribal, flocking being. Now for those of you who were there, you can judge for yourself if I am a better philosopher than I am a dancer. I sure hope so. Bill Burleson is a freelance writer and author of BI AMERICA: MYTHS, TRUTHS, AND STRUGGLES OF AN INVISIBLE COMMUNITY coming from Haworth Press in the fall of 2004.

bisexual community dance  

BI COMMUNITY DANCE By William Burleson Bill Burleson is a freelance writer and author of BI AMERICA: MYTHS, TRUTHS, AND STRUGGLES OF AN INVI...

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