By Julie Ebin
Boundless: Events promoting holistically healthy lesbian and bisexual women’s communities. Transgender-friendly. Unless otherwise stated, all events are for lesbians, dykes, bisexual and pansexual women, MtFs, genderqueer folks, and same-gender-loving women but people of all genders and orientations are invited to attend. All Boundless events are FREE.
When I started the Boundless queer women’s wellness series in 2004, I wanted to make sure that Boundless would be bi-inclusive, meaning not only explicitly welcoming bisexual women in name as part of the intended audience, but also trying to walk the fine line of making the content and format inclusive of bi women, while still being queer-focused in content (i.e. info that queer women could not get elsewhere, or topics that they would feel more comfortable discussing in a queer women’s workshop or event). The approach I took was to both have queer-women focused events that included information relevant to bi women (e.g. our HPV event a few years ago included information about sexual transmission and prevention of HPV between women, and also between women and men), and also having some multi-gendered bi events, because many bi folks enjoy or prefer socializing in mixed-gender bi/queer environments.
Our initial series consisted of four trans-friendly, women-focused events per year, with the occasional “open to all” event thrown in, and later when we were able to collaborate more with Fenway’s men’s wellness series, Living Well, we were able to have two gender-free, bi-focused events per year.Boundless event topics, which have often come from community members, have ranged from physical well-being (“HPV from Woman to Woman: The 411 on the Vaccine and More;” “Getting Flashed: The Before, During, and After of Menopause), to mental health and bi community support (“Fighting Biphobia: What You Can Do [for bi folks and allies];” “Home for the Holidays: A One-Time Support Group”), to relationship and dating concerns (“Getting the Queer Sex You Want [And Not the Sex You Don’t Want];” “Women – Is Your Partner/Boyfriend/Girlfriend Trans? A One-Time Support Group”).Other bi-specific events have included the first-ever Boundless event (before Boundless even got its name): “Bisexuality. Feminism. Heterosexual Privilege. Our Bodies.” (with Robyn Ochs – this was a powerhouse kick-off event with over 50 people attending), and later, “So How’s Your Bi/QueerLove Life? An Exploration of Dating and Relationships;” “Celebrate Bisexuality Day: Celebrating our Health;” a bi double header – “Bi Stress Busters” discussion and “Putting the Bi in Bicycle – A Bike Repair Workshop;” and various Celebrate Bisexuality Day events. Robyn also generously donated her time to present many bi awareness workshops as part of the series (“Creating a Both-And Identity in an Either-Or World;” “Bisexuality, Strength and Courage”).
One of my favorite events, “Breasts, Boobies, and Bosoms, Oh My!” featured Kim Airs of Grand Opening, who took the audience through a romp of appropriate breast supports (right bra size, anyone?), mammograms demystified (and appointments sign-up), Kim Airs’ personal stories and gossip, and a fabulously witty demo of how to do a breast self-exam. We even had a raffle of breast art, and a delicious breast cake for dessert.
I, and more recently, Gillian Connolly and Katie Stetler, could not have created the series we did without many people’s support of leading workshops, collaborating, co-hosting, and just plain spreading the word. I was also privileged to work with various interns and volunteers throughout the years, some queer, some straight, some seeking undergraduate or graduate class credit, and some who just wanted to help out. These folks were instrumental in organizing Boundless events over the years. Thank you to all of the Boundless supporters so far, and all of those to come!
I have especially enjoyed collaborating on events. At times these have been in-depth partnerships where we have worked with organizations to find out what their members or communities want, and how we can serve them. A great example of was an event that I guest-facilitated in collaboration with hosts Mad Femme Pride, “Asking for What You Want: Queer Women Doing Safer Sex for Themselves!” held on November 18th. Based on discussions with Mad Femme Priders, the workshop was for queer/bi/lesbian women, and the focus was on safer sex (primarily between women) including: why have it, how to do it, and how to talk about it.
To get added to the Boundless mailing list, contact Katie Stetler, current Boundless Coordinator at (617)-927-6028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.