My Brother’s A Keeper – NYC Staged Reading for Bisexual Awareness Week

Hello all readers!

I had the pleasure of the most wonderful telephone meetings with Dr. Dr. Herukhuti.

First and foremost he’s an awesomely supportive individual. I’d seen a post in the New York Area Bisexual Network about a play that was casting bi folks for a bi play. 😀

My initial contact with him came the day I tried out by phone, reading lines to the man who wrote the play himself!

I was so nervous but I tried my best. When I floundered he encouraged me to continue and assured me I was doing good. After the reading him and I engaged in a most enlightening and freeing conversation.

I didn’t get selected for the play but he was kind enough to call me and tell me personally. He also extended the offer to BiWifeLife (at that time) to be a sponsor for his play. He was even kind enough to offer his assistance on the name change when the time came along with J. Christopher of FluidBiDesign/MenKind. 🙂

My husband and I read the script together and to be perfectly honest the play reflects so many facets of our lives it’s like I could have written it myself! I can’t give away any spoilers, you have to come out and see it for yourself 🙂

I STRONGLY encourage ALL Bi people & supporters, men, women, gender non conforming and trans, to come out and watch the play.

It’s an amazing play, believe me I know the script in detail.

“My Brother’s Keeper touches on many of the issues bi people face such as stigma, under educated friends and family, safe sex practices in non monogamy, honesty & communication within relationships and so much more.”

-Jay Dee, Founder LivingBi (formerly BiWifeLife)

My Brother's Keeper
My Brother’s Keeper

Dr. Herukhuti is a clinical sociologist, cultural studies scholar, and traditional African shaman who focuses on sexuality, gender, and spirituality themes within the African Diaspora. His work has been published and anthologized in various academic and popular contexts including Sexualities, Journal of Bisexuality, ARISE Magazine, and Ma-Ka Diasporic Juks: Contemporary Writings by Queers of African Descent.

Our Visit To The Doctor & Bi Stigma

After publishing the article Coming Out To Your Doctor  my husband and I felt it was time to go have ourselves tested for STD’s and HIV.

Instead of setting up appointments with our primary care physicians and possibly waiting weeks to have the testing done we decided to go with a local public health resource.

We called in, did our preregistration over the phone then headed down to the testing clinic.

There were a few things about our visit that really brought home the Bi stigma.

Over the past almost year I’ve had the pleasure of working with an organization that focuses on the health needs and rights of those in the Sex Trades/Adult Entertainment Industry.

A part of my work with this organization was to give lectures/presentations to health care providers and social service providers regarding etiquette when dealing with lines of questioning regarding sex work and sexual partner history.

In other words, the doc had no idea she would be seeing a very well educated patient on protocol and politics of her field.

The nurse and the doctor both made offensive mistakes that are common in health care settings when dealing with sexuality and health.

Our visit yesterday was an example of the exact reason why I became so involved in the organization I was working with. Regardless of sexual identity, sexual practices/tendencies or gender identity, selling sex as a business or survival,  all people deserve courteous respectful health care. All humans. Period. 


Pre-Screening 

We came to the clinic together, registered together and saw the nurse as well as doctor together. When going through the screening process we were approached with the assumption we were straight and monogamous because we are married and presenting together for testing.

The nurse did screen us both individually but at the same time in the same room.

I knew what questions were coming and I wanted to see how my husband would answer. He’s not the talkative type, doesn’t like going to the doctor much and he’s somewhat still somewhat shy about his sexuality. I knew he’d be flustered by the screening questions but instead of answering for him (which is usually his preference) I just waited to see how he’d deal with them.

After a few basic questions THE question came:

“You’re married,  you’re here with your wife… so you only have sex with women…or men and women?” The question was posed with the assumption of the answer but asked anyway.

She looked at me, he looked at me, I looked at him…and waited for his reply.

He tried to figure out the right way to say it and finally said: “Men and women.”

She looked at me, then back to him.

She asked what kind of specific sexual acts does he indulge in with men. He looked at me again. Again, I didn’t say a word. I really wanted to see how this would play out.

He answered her questions (those q’s and a’s are personal, thank you 😉 )

She asked: “What about protection? Do you use protection?”

He explained to her NEVER has he done ANYTHING sexual with a male without a condom. Ever. She looked at me, I confirmed what he said, condoms always.

The next question is one that really irks me in so many ways for so many reasons as a Health Care professional.

She asked him: “How many sexual partners have you had in the last 6 months?”

Again, he looked at me, I looked at him.

He said: “Babe, can you answer this one, I mean I can but I can’t. You’re better at this kind of stuff. You tell her.”

I said:  “No, come up with an answer on your own, this is your screening process.”

I explained to the nurse what I’d been doing over the past year and my education. I also explained to her it was very, very interesting to me to observe a patient actually experiencing the screening process. As an advocate I’m not in the room with the patient, I’m on the front lines educating and fighting these policies to be changed.

ought about our recent trysts and ultimately said “Babe, I don’t know what to say.”

I reminded him he did not have to say anything. He could elect to not answer any questions during the screening process and that is one question I personally refuse to answer.

It has no medical bearing whatsoever. It’s used as a tool for the medical provider to get an idea of your sexual life and possible risks you may be facing that you may not know about as a patient.

The question is not pertinent even if the patient is symptomatic of an STD or HIV at the time of the visit.

The answer is not a factor that can be used in urgent or immediate treatment of symptoms or disease.

It’s not relevant to the testing process in and of itself.

It’s not relevant to treatment for any health issues.

The ONLY TIME this question is pertinent is when it is necessary to provide partner notification in case of infectious disease.

Other than that it’s a useless question that can create bias and preconceived judgement in the mind of the health care provider potentially creating a hostile environment for the patient.

I choose not to indulge and have taken that stance since my first STD screening test as a teenager although I get scientifically why the question is a part of the standard screening process. If I did test positive for an infectious disease I’d disclose whatever info needed for partner notification instantly. No arguments from me there.

But in reality, who ever tells the truth on that question anyway?

Any scientific data collected from whatever clinic(s) from that question would be really questionable. The data is not verifiable and it’s not solid information to base research off of.

Anyway, I was screened by the nurse after he was.

Again the question regarding do I sleep with men only or men and women. I answered I engaged in sexual activity with both males and females.

She looked from him to me and back to him.

We explained we’re both bisexual and we do a lot of speaking, educating, etc on bisexuality in marriages and long term relationships. She was visibly shocked.

She then went on to ask the rest of the same questions of me she asked him. I answered what was pertinent to care only. She knew from his screening process don’t ask me clinically useless questions and she didn’t, she skipped right over them. 🙂

My husband and I both elected to take the OraQuick Rapid HIV test.

We were given an applicator with a swab on the end, instructed to swab our gums on each side top and bottom. Then all we had to do was wait 20 minutes for the results…


His Doctor…

She was friendly enough, really kind face, soothing voice, relaxed appearance despite her traditional businesslike black slacks and white shirt. She would be doing my husband’s screening, exam and testing I would be seeing another provider for the same. She didn’t mind my sitting in.

The doc wanted to go over the screening questions again.

We explained we’re a both bisexual couple who has sex with other men and women, together using protection always. We’ve never done anything without a condom ever just to bring her up to speed and avoid the same questions again.

She asked a few specific screening questions one more time to get more of an idea of our sex life. We reiterated we use protection always with other men when asked yet another time in a differently phrased question.

After she’d finished her inquiry the doctor then began to tell us both the dangers of men who sleep with men.

She went on and on about how men who kiss other men can get diseases they wouldn’t get if they weren’t kissing other men, she explained how men who get or give men oral without condoms can get diseases other people don’t get and of course all the many dangers of anything anal between two men.

Then the doctor told me and my husband that there is a disease called Nisseria Meningitis that is spreading in  our town of Brooklyn among men who come in ” very close proximity with, but not necessarily intimacy or physical touching with other men and it’s “VERY deadly, fast acting and easily spread”.

(click the above link to read ALL about the “outbreak”, I encourage you to do so for your own understanding.)

She felt we should be vaccinated against this disease because we were at risk since my husband is bisexual and we live in Brooklyn.

Needless to say I pulled out my phone and researched right away while declining the vaccination until I knew more.

I’d interrupted her a few times during her explanation of the risks of my husband’s sexuality to explain to her I wasn’t a laymen but a colleague, another experienced HIV/AIDS Educator, a current student of Health Care Management and I’ve been working on and around legislative advocacy surrounding Health Care rights in NYC for about a year now!

She explained she was an HIV specialist and she knew what she was talking about despite my background.

How could she know I just spoke at the End AIDS Conference in Philly only a couple months ago on several panels? One of my passions in life is HIV transmission prevention and education and I’ve been volunteering for speaking engagements and teaching opportunities since my early teens. I lost almost all my teenage friends to the disease in the 90’s. I volunteer my education, time and experience on the topic wherever possible.

I was beyond upset.

I was really pissed and ready to call the Director of the facility to offer training to his staff, at no cost! They needed it dearly!

In my mind all I could think was what she’s describing is a public health concern not a bisexual male or Men who Sleep with Men (MSM) health concern.

If this disease is transmitted by close proximity only  then someone should alert the Department of Health and notify the public of this new soon to be epidemic was my thinking.

I’m sure bisexual men take public transportation, go to work daily, eat out, attend recreational activities in public. If MSM have this special disease that’s airborne and spreads easily THIS WHOLE CITY would be infected by now! 

What about family members of MSM who are near each other often?

How about the people MSM’s live with, can they get it too?

Can they spread it too?

It’s this kind of medical misinformation that could have a less informed patient shaking in his boots after a visit with the doctor. (The link to the medical research on the meningitis outbreak in Bklyn is highlighted above. No need to panic NY’kers, it’s nowhere near as serious as she implied. We won’t be taking the vaccine.)

The doc then examined my husband’s penis for any lesions, discharge, etc. During the exam despite him informing her he’d used protection always she insisted on swabbing the back of his throat to test for diseases because “Men who have sex with other men can get infections in their throats much easier, even if you have used a condom and there has been no exposure.”

Huh? What? Can we say Bi stigma again?

Remind you of something?

HIV in the 80’s much?

I was sent steaming into the next exam room to wait for the other physician who had my chart to examine me.

When my doctor came I explained my husband and I were in for testing together. He didn’t go over my screening and I’d given urine already.

We’d been there about 4 hours. We had a meeting at 5:30pm and it took about an hour commute to get to our location- it was 4:30pm.

By the time “my” doctor was available I had no more time or patience for the process any longer and I wasn’t willing to be late to my 5:30 meeting.

We had to leave, I wouldn’t be able to stay for a full exam.

It was explained to me by “my” doctor if our test results came back abnormal we’d be contacted via email or phone.

If we didn’t hear back in 3-5 days everything is normal but we could inquire about our results if we’d like confirmation. I had no symptoms or complaints so a full exam wasn’t necessary.

I intend to schedule an annual GYN with my regular health care provider for a full exam this coming week.

(originally written 9/7/2015)

-Jay Dee, Founder

Coming Out To Your Doctor?

So, this morning while scrolling through Facebook I saw a post about a guy who decided to come out to his primary care physician. He was more anxious and nervous to tell his doctor than he was to tell his wife. In the end the visit went well, he was supported by his doctor and he carried on with his day.

Some of Us have the courage to tell people how we identify, some of Us don’t. some of Us would rather not tell a soul while others wish we could go to the highest point in our city and yell it to the whole town.

When should you tell your health care provider about your sexuality?

Do you have to ever tell your doctor about your sexuality?

Well, that all depends on your particular health care situation. If you feel you need care for a health issue related to your sexuality then it may be a good idea to divulge so you can get the treatment you need.

It’s good to keep in mind for the easing of your nerves that all medical information is privileged and private, protected by HIPAA. I’ve included the link so you can read all about how your medical information is protected. 🙂

Your physician cannot share your personal information with ANYONE without facing professional, legal and possible civil ramifications under Federal law.

Do you need to tell your physician about your sexuality if you have no health care issues related to your sexual identity?

Well, in all honesty that’s a personal choice only  you can make.

For some, telling your doctor may be the first step to Coming Out. It may be a place where you can speak to someone face to face about your feelings surrounding your sexuality without fear of judgement or having to see this person on a day to day basis.

Your doctor may also have resources in your local community for support regarding your sexuality if you need.

In the end, telling your health care professional about your sexuality is a personal choice only you can make.

Only  you can determine your comfortability level with your doctor, only you can determine if He/She needs to know.

Have you had a coming out experience with a health care professional?

Tell Us all about it below.

I’m sure other readers who may be considering Coming Out to their doctor would benefit from knowing what it was like for you!

-Jay Dee, Founder

Politically Correct?

Every single day there’s a new LGBT terminology, a new politically correct way to address a fellow human, a proper way to approach a topic.

Last time I checked each human is an individual different from every single other human on this planet. Not even identical twins think and behave EXACTLY alike in all respects.

Through media and politics it seems we as residents of this country have lost our right to think and feel however we may wish.

Sure racism, homophobia, trans phobia and all of the many other unjust patterns of thought are harmful, painful and horrible but the fact is we can’t stop people from thinking and feeling however they do. Not everyone agrees with Our site I’m sure, but we’ll be here anyway 🙂

Whomever controls this country can attempt to inundate our population with the latest schools of thought but not everyone is required to buy in.

Some folks just won’t change until they leave this earth. Some folks are able to see varying points of view and adjust accordingly or even change perspectives. Not everyone can.

I have never, ever been one to be politically correct. Respectful, yes, politically correct, no. I wouldn’t be who I am if I was. I’m  outspoken, I think for myself, don’t have a problem speaking my opinion and I don’t take kindly to people telling me what I should think and how I should feel.

I’m sure our readers and other Administrators can agree being told what to think and how to feel is not the cloth we choose to be a part of, that’s why we’re here. To speak out on an area not many are speaking out on.

All of this being said, for the record HerBiLife & HisBiLife (Formerly BiWifeLife) will take a NEUTRAL stance on all controversial and political topics regarding & within the LGBT Community.

Many if not most of Our readers ARE NOT involved in the politics of the LBGT Community and I, as the Founder of this community, don’t feel it’s appropriate to get our readers caught up in controversy or conflict.

If you notice Bruce Jenner is not on this blog. Nor will I write about the topic. I would ask any other Administrator/Contributor to refrain from jumping on the band wagon with any other controversial LGBT topic discussion here.

I think for myself, as do you, as does every soul on this planet.

Sure, we can express our opinions and discuss hot topics but to get caught up in the frenzy of some hot political topic based around sexuality or gender identity is just not my style.

I’m a rogue of society and I’m fine being just that. Never will I follow the masses.

I can be respectful of other’s thoughts, feelings and perspectives but I will not be bullied by the court of public opinion or jeopardize our peaceful, budding community by opposing some school of thought people think I should follow or promote.

Much rather would just stay out of things…

That’s what works for me and I think that’s what’s best for Us here. Can’t please everyone you know?

How do you feel about LGBT politics?

-Jay Dee, Founder

COMMENT BELOW

My BiWifeLife Summer Fail

So, all through the summer I’ve had this thing in the back of my mind telling me I was going to meet “Her” organically before the leaves turn brown again.

I refused to go online looking but maybe once or twice so far because I believe in the power of energy.

In my mind I felt like one day I was going to walk past her, she’d walk past me, we’d smile, speak and go from there. Maybe she’d sit across from me on the train, stand next to me on a bus, sit next to me on my lunch break or she may even be one of my colleagues. I love a woman with a head on her shoulders!

How can I not drive myself crazy over the hopes of finding “Her” when I crave her presence in my life like I crave food when I’m hungry or sleep when I’m tired?

I am not a heterosexual being. Being in a relationship with one gender is very difficult at times 😦

I’ve seen so many beautiful women, so many have flirted, given the indication and even stopped to speak here and there. A few times I thought I may have met “Her”.  For some reason I find myself a bit too shy to organically generate a new relationship at this stage in my life.

My work can be all consuming and I barely have the time my family wants some days, let alone have the time for a new relationship. 

I ask myself:

Am I in a position to develop a relationship given the position my life is in?

How much time would I realistically have for her?

How much time would I take away from my family to be with her?

How realistic is it that we’ll have the time we need with each other?

How realistic is dating when we’re on a tight budget and saving for goals?

These are all questions I rapidly ask myself as the opportunity is presenting myself, then I do what seems to be my now normal epic fail move by allowing the moment to pass without seizing it.

After the moment’s passed and the sight of her is gone (but still lingering in my mind and I’m fantasizing about what may have come if I would have just said _____) I then proceed to kick myself in the ass because EVERY SINGLE DAY I am acutely aware of “Her” absence in my life and I just potentially let “Her” walk away!

What the hell is going on with me!?! I’m a Leo, things don’t work that way for Leo’s! We’re never shy, we’re never nervous in matters of romance!

I’ve never had these kinds of issues before. I never had issues going after what I wanted. I was always the kind of girl who had no problem speaking to a female of interest.

Now mums the word and I really find myself nervous around a beautiful woman!

I don’t know what’s happening here but it’s a new twist in my BiWifeLife…

Pondering the reasons…

-Jay Dee, Founder

BiWifeLife Gender Inclusion?

Well, here we are at a crossroads. After a few years we’ve grown, folks have gotten to know and love us in concept, theory and as a resource.

Thing is bisexual married men, bi boyfriends, bi trans women and so many variations of bisexual in a relationship have asked me in the past few months “Hey, can I come to BiWifeLife too?”

The only thing my heart would allow me to say is “Of course, we don’t discriminate. This is a place for anyone bisexual involved in long term relationships.” The wheels started turning in my head to find a way to accommodate everyone who wanted to be here.

Even though the name of this blog is BiWifeLife, the issue is a bit bigger than that in my mind’s eye. The truth is there are SO MANY variations of bisexual that live lives within long term relationships and many face some of the very challenges bisexual married women face on a daily basis.

Men have such a stigma surrounding male bisexuality and when involved with a woman or even married to a woman being a bi guy can be insurmountably challenging.

Truth is, from issues pertaining to coming out to managing one’s sexual desires within relationships whether male, female, trans or in between life can be challenging on so many levels as a bisexual human.

After promoting biwifelife tirelessly for a few months I had to take in all the questions I’ve been asked and begin to realize the need for equal gender inclusion here in Our space.

The question is how to do that without alienating our steady readership of BiWives, long term girlfriends and straight husbands?

Well, after much thought KDaddy and I had a wonderful conversation on how to do just that.

As a bisexual husband himself, a great BiWifeLife Contributing Writer and a pretty straight forward kind of guy I’m beyond excited to announce KDaddy and I will join forces to launch a male inclusive aspect to BiWifeLifeBlog coming in Fall of 2015.

On the ground in NYC BiWifeLife will be joining forces with FluidBiDesign/MenKind to provide support here in New York City to bisexual men and women in long term relationships.

We will also be hosting a monthly Bisexual Social Mixer with a Roundtable Discussion in New York City. Wine and refreshments provided. 🙂 *If you would like to hold a BiWifeLife social mixer in your town email biwifelife@gmail.com and we’ll go over what we need to do to make that happen 🙂 *

We fully intend to be inclusive of all genders as of this Fall including trans women and trans men on both sides of this BiLifeBlog and of course in Our ground efforts.

Essentially we would become:  “A place for bisexual people of all genders involved in long term relationships and marriages.” 

Myself and Mercedes Jet will continue to cater to the BiWives and all female identified readers, KDaddy and newly hired writers will cater to all male identified readers.

There will be changes to the About page, Staff, tabs and the look and feel of the blog, but we WILL NOT loose focus in supporting bisexual married women in the least.

We aim to support everyone who struggles with bisexuality while maintaining healthy relationships with partners, spouses and friends.

We plan to roll out the “new” blog this Fall. 

In the meantime we’d love to hear what you guys think of the coming changes and how it may change our readership and community.

Please comment below. Your input on these changes are VERY valuable.

Sincerely,

-Jay Dee, Founder

MARRIAGE EQUALITY? For Who?! Not all LGBTQ! Not for me!

Now that I’ve congratulated all my friends and acquaintances I need to let folks know I’m PISSED OFF AND FIRED UP!!!

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I’m a bisexual woman assigned female at birth MARRIED to a person assigned male at birth.

I have been in long term relationships with a male assigned at birth and a female assigned at birth at the same time. Both wore my ring. He was my husband in a court of law, she was my wife…because she and I said so and we lived our lives as such.

Despite our sincerest desires my long term girlfriend and I COULD NOT marry and I still CAN NOT marry a female assigned at birth so long as I am married to my husband.

The same goes for a bisexual assigned male at birth. He cannot legally be married to a female assigned at birth and marry his long term boyfriend who was assigned male at birth and that goes or any combination of bisexual love.

We cannot marry both our male assigned at birth and female assigned at birth partners and that’s the point.
I would love to be able to take my long term girlfriend, with my husband by my side, down to the courthouse and give her the same rights as him in my life, legally.

I don’t want a side piece, an extra lover. I’d love to be able to fall in love and ask a woman to marry me, spend the rest of her life with me and give her all the legal rights she deserves, equal to my husband in a court of law.

Why is the bisexual aspect of this marriage equality discussion NOT on the table?

Don’t point out poly anything to me with regard to bisexuals having equal rights to marry! I’m not talking about bigamy, polyandry, polyamory, multiple husbands or wives.

I’m talking about the BISEXUAL EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS to marry ONE CISMALE AND ONE CISFEMALE or ONE TRANSMALE AND ONE TRANSFEMALE or any combination of M/F gender identities if we so choose.

This is about the B in the LGBT not having the same marriage rights as the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender persons who can marry any cismale, cisfemale, transman or transwoman of their choosing.

What about those of us who love both, carry long term relationships with both?

BOTH of my long term relationships deserve legal validity if we are ready for that step.

UNFORTUNATELY in this country the B seems to be silent in the LGBT world of progression. We’re still in the dark corners of the flag.

What do you think? Comment, c’mon…let’s get the dialog started!

-Jay Dee, Founder