Bisexual activists and NYC Pride officials have reached an agreement on alleged bi erasure at New York's pride parade, after a gay man, a lesbian, and a transgender woman were named grand marshals — without anyone representing bisexuals.
Since NYC Pride’s announcement of Rea Carey, Jonathan Groff, and Laverne Cox as grand marshals, bisexual activists argued that their population had been snubbed, noting that marshals included representatives from the LGT community respectively, seemingly forgetting the B.
Faith Cheltenham, president of BiNet USA and one of the most vocal critics from the bisexual community, took aim at NYC Pride in her recent op-ed for The Advocate, “NYC Pride Harmful to Bisexuals.” Cheltenham also launched an online petition last month asking for bi representation, which garnered nearly 500 signatures.
“While I have massive respect for the 2014 NYC Pride Grand Marshals — Jonathan Groff, Rea Carey, and Laverne Cox — it was deeply upsetting to hear that NYC Pride only selected three individuals to represent the LGBT community," wrote Cheltenham. "Even worse, when bisexuals emailed, called, blogged and tweeted about this 'oversight,' the organizers ignored us.”
But after The Advocate reached out to representatives of NYC Pride, organized by Heritage of Pride, and BiNet USA, the two parties have reached an understanding.
"Our organization's mission is producing LGBT Pride events that inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse community — and bisexual people are a key part that mission," David Studinski, volunteer Pride March organizer, tells The Advocate. "I've engaged in great conversations with Faith Cheltenham and Larry Nelson in recent days, and want to reiterate that the bisexual community has a home at NYC Pride 2014. As Larry carries on Brenda's torch at the March, we look forward to bisexual community participation at our entire event series, especially our rally on June 27. I'm excited to continue dialogue with key leaders and community members as we look to 2015 and beyond.”
Larry Nelson is the coordinator of the New York Area Bisexual Network, an organization started in 1987 by Nelson's late partner, bisexual activist Brenda Howard — who is credited with co-organizing the first pride march. The conversations seem to have resonated well with the bisexual community.
“We have received a firm commitment from NYC Pride on its intention to be inclusive of bisexual communities and identities this year at Pride," Cheltenham writes on BiNet USA’s blog, noting that "we’ve been heard." "We also feel confident that NYC Pride will welcome bisexual community participation in the planning stages for future NYC Pride events."
New York City Pride weekend starts June 27.