Ron Suresha the well know author and anthologist of books centering on gay and bisexual men's subcultures, particularly the Bear community and his husband Rocco came down from their new home in the "mountains" of Connecticut to attend the NYC Pride March last Sunday June 29th. Their mission was to try to meet and speak with well know gay sex columnist Dan Savage who was being honored as one of the grand marshal's.
Sadly, it wasn't a social call.
Instead Ron was there to meet up with other bisexual leaders from across the NYC Tri-state area (including BiDiscussion's Estraven Andrews from Westchester and BiRequest's Paul Nocera from Brooklyn) to try and get Savage to to stop with the endless falsehood and hates speech he regularly directs towards bisexual people.
Though I find him attractive for an unbearded fellow I did not actually intend to “peg” Dan Savage. But the idea of trying to pin him down and nail my books to his head until he read them is not too far off from my state of mind.
The lack of understanding about bisexuality in general and specifically the bi male experience that the author of the “Savage Love” column in Seattle’s The Stranger was perpetuating was just the sort of thing that I felt, if I could just tell Dan my own bi coming-out story and give him copies of my books, would remedy.
While the rest of the LGBTQ Community (especially in NY State) had been putting aside small disagreements and diligently working together to achieve real progress on issues such as marriage equality, Savage, had instead decided it was a perfect time to vent a little spleen and see if he could drive a further wedge between the "B" and the rest of the LGBTQ community. This had clearly gotten on the last nerve of the bisexual community and instead of preparing for a happy pride the queer internet was suddenly seething with bisexual activists and their gay, lesbian, trans*/genderqueer and straight allies plotting some sort of "Zap" in the middle of the parade.
While some people in the mainstream gay/lesbian community and their straight friends are under the impression that Savage is some sort of secular saint, he is actually considerably more controversial because of his callous and disrespectful treatment of large numbers of people including transfolk, people of colour, asexual people and practically anyone he doesn't regard as "cool enough". So there was a legitimate concern that things could degenerate into a "nasty, jeering, Danphobic mob".
Fortunately cooler heads prevailed, and instead it was decided that perhaps three or four bisexual leaders could go meet him as a delegation at some point in the route and offer to educate him of the reality of bisexuals people and present him with useful books and articles such as Bi Men: Coming Out Every Which Way, Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out, Bisexual Perspectives on the Life and Work of Alfred C. Kinsey, Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations and other important and useful works. However, even thought Savage and the Bisexual Contingent were scheduled to march in the same Section, no one had counted on the immense crowds, the greatly heighten post 9/11 security not to mention the beefed up police presence that suddenly appeared once a triumphant Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to use the occasion to take a well deserved marriage equality victory lap.
After trying and failing to get thru the crowds, Paul and Estraven returned to their respective contingents while Suresha and his husband Rocco embarked on a Pride Day Crosstown Sprint to Meet Dan Savage, finally catching a taxi for to the end of the parade route and positioning themselves strategically where the VIPs debarked from their limos. As Surchas recounts
"Finally, we heard the announcement for the arrival of the Grand Marshall of the parade, Dan Savage. As soon as we recognized him stepping out of the car, we started waving our arms and calling out to him. Rocco caught Dan’s attention first, and, yelling at the top of his big bear lungs, “This man has come all the way from the mountains of Connecticut to meet you!” (Yes, we are well aware that we live in the hills, not the mountains.), waved him over energetically toward me standing in my snappy little black outfit — kilt, leather vest, and fedora.
So as Dan came closer, I reached out my hand to introduce myself, “Hi! I’m Ron Suresha, the author and editor of Bi Guys and Bi Men and I want to talk with you about your problem with the bi activist community . . .” Dan recognized my name, and started nodding as I spoke. And so the conversation began."
In then end, even though the initial exchange lasted no more than 90 seconds, at least some level of serious contact had been achieved. Savage asked tht the books and other materials be shipped to him and seemed to indicate that he might be open to starting an actual dialogue with the bisexual community.
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode . . .