Bi+ Activists Meet with White House During Bi+ Visibility Week

Dec 5, 2022 | 2023 Winter - Bodily Autonomy, Privacy, & Feminism

By Ellyn Ruthstrom

For the first time since the Obama Administration, bi+ activists from across the country sat down with Biden Administration officials on September 20—as part of Bi Awareness Week—to reboot a discussion that was last touched upon in 2016. The group shared population and disparities data as well as personal testimonials about the three main topics of the meeting: bisexual access to the MPX (monkeypox) vaccine, intimate partner violence, and the lack of funding for bi-specific organizations, programs, and research. Administration officials from Health and Human Services, SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), and other agencies attended the presentation and are already engaging in follow-up conversations with the group.

Organizing for the meeting began in July when we discovered that Robyn Ochs was the only bi+ advocate invited to the LGBTQ+ Pride Reception at the White House in June. There were no Pride receptions during the Trump years, so this occasion was a special opportunity for the community to celebrate together in the White House, and the action of not inviting representatives of bi+ organizations or other bi+ advocates felt like a snub. We felt that the bi+ meetings with the White House in 2013, 2015, and 2016 had not had a lasting effect on LGBTQ+ outreach priorities of the Administration.

Several activists conferred and initiated a conversation with the White House liaison to the LGBTQ+ community to rectify that omission for future events and to reopen communication with the Administration on policy issues impacting the bi+ community. Though limited in size due to COVID restrictions, the group of 14 activists that ultimately convened in Washington were from Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Atlanta, New York, and several other communities across the country.

The evening before the meeting with the Administration, the group met in D.C. with local bi+ community members to brief them on the meeting and to envision ways to work together to build the national bi+ movement.

The process of planning the meeting resulted in a new networking and organizing tool for the community, The group has launched a website to connect organizations and individuals interested in national bi+ activism. The website states: “We recognize that there are many Bi+ advocacy organizations across our country, and by no means do we desire to recreate those wheels. However, we wish to create this space to communicate effectively at a national level with all Bi+ Leaders who are interested in collaboration for the greater good of the Bi+ community in the United States.”

If you are interested in having your organization link up with the work of BiPlusOrganizingUS or if you are an individual activist who wants to get involved and do more, you can do so at And follow the group on Instagram and Twitter (biplusorgus), and on Facebook (BiplusorganizingUS).

Post-meeting group shot, including HHS and White House officials

Ellyn Ruthstrom has been a long-time member of the Boston Bisexual Women’s Network and sits on the board of Bi Women Quarterly.

Featured image: Bi (also trans, asexual, and pan) visibility outside the White House

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