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QWOC+ Boston is a group that promotes diversity by creating and sustaining safe spaces for LGBT people of color in the Greater Boston area.
Posted By QWOC+ Boston on April 19th, 2012

Submit! Nearly There is a zine project meant to address the serious absence and silencing of stories about the experiences of queer people of color.

 

Collaborating with POC Organizations: Thank You to the Bisexual Resource Center

Posted By Spectra on August 2nd, 2011


Founder’s Note: In the spirit of partnership-building, we wanted to highlight a community organization that has helped us make our purple pride extravaganza possible.

Through partnerships with other institutions that also give voice to members of the LGBTQ community of color, QWOC+ Boston has been able to extend our outreach efforts to include other sub-communities and networks over the years. In so doing, we’ve in turn provided frequent opportunities for other organizations to offer valuable resources and provide critical services to community members they may otherwise have been unable to reach. We believe this is an important part of community building, which is the core of our work. This is why, even when collaborating is challenging — which it often is — we believe it’s worth the discomfort to push through and find ourselves united in solidarity on the other side.

In the case of working with communities of color, and specifically, women of color, it should come as no surprise that many organizations end up doing more talking than actually working towards efforts to provide more culturally competent resources, increase multicultural diversity, or address gender inequities within their leadership. So when an organization extends themselves to us in the way that the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) has this year, with no quid-pro-quo stipulations, no catch, no hidden agenda, just simply because they believe in the importance of the work we’re doing (and know first-hand how hard it can be for grassroots groups to get support), it’s like discovering a natural spring in the middle of the dessert, and then waiting to see if it’s a mirage…

Except it isn’t — the kind of support we have received from the BRC is the kind of support many marginalized groups are in serious need of and thus, deeply appreciate. I have been fortunate to meet and get to know a few members of the Bisexual Resource Center this year. And what has struck me about their leadership is that they continually extend their hands to us year-round; not just when they need co-sponsorship of an event or need us to sign some petition, but to offer words of encouragement after learning about trials we’ve experienced (i.e. racist venues during pride), and similarly, to congratulate us on our successes, and of course, let us know that they were down to help and support QWOC Week in whatever they could.

But what I really want people to know is this: As the co-sponsors of our Open Relationships and Polyamory discussion this past weekend, the Bisexual Resource Center remained enthusiastic and supportive even after the QWOC Week planning committee decided that the discussion would be closed to just people of color. 

This meant that most (if not all) of the BRC board couldn’t attend the very event they were co-sponsoring. But they didn’t all of a sudden become lukewarm (something that we’ve seen happen time and time again once we relay that the kind of support we need is the less visible kind). They didn’t withdraw their support simply because they couldn’t be the center of attention and take credit for the discussion. They stayed on board with complete understanding of why it is that we — as women of color — needed to have the discussion in a safe-space for people of color. In fact, not only did they pay for appetizers for the post-discussion social, but they showed up after the event was over to check in with us and congratulate us on its success. I wish every other organization in Boston could be as gracious, and could push themselves to understand — as the Bisexual Resource Center does — that sometimes, the greatest support you can give communities of color is to take a back seat, and still cheer.

This is part of why we wanted to take a moment to say Thank You, to the Bisexual Resource Center. Beyond also providing valuable resources and support to bisexual women who are part of the QWOC communtiy, we have really appreciated their allyship during QWOC Week. Even though this is a relatively new partnership, we’re excited about continuing our work together and want other organizations to know that our experience so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We may run into hiccups along the way — it’s part of collaborating and learning about each other — but I’m confident that because we’re each coming from a place of real support, we’ll be able to push through any barriers and continue to create bi- and trans- safe spaces for women of color in Boston.

“QWOC, as we run in many of the same circles. My friends who are queer women of color get a lot out of her events; it fulfills their need for community, connection, and mutual understanding in a way that they can’t really find anywhere else. The Bisexual Resource Center has been providing resources to the bi community for over 25 years, and getting the message out about QWOC is a boon to the many folks we serve.”
– Jennifer Bonardi, Bisexual Resource Center

So please read about the Bisexual Resource Center below, and leave them a comment saying thank you on our behalf!

Sincerely,
Spectra

About the Bisexual Resource Center

The Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) is an educational organization that was founded in 1985. Originally known as the East Coast Bisexual Network, the organization is headquartered in Boston and provides education about bisexual and progressive issues. It also provides support services by hosting bi-positive events, promoting bi visibility, and welcoming all to their support group. The organization is the most active American bisexual advocacy and resource group. “The Bisexual Resource Center envisions a world where love is celebrated, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression.”

This summer, we were delighted to collaborate with the BRC to put on our QWOC Week Kickoff Event: A Discussion about Open Relationships & Polyamory in Queer/Trans Communities of Color.

Other fun facts: 

  • The BRC is part of a state wide coalition of organizations led by Mass. Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) to help push the adoption of H.R.1711, which outlaws gender-based discrimination and hate crimes.
  • The organization joined an NGLTF-coordinated coalition of over 360 groups from across the country in ’07 to advocate for a trans and gender expression inclusive Employment and Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
  • It is also the only bisexual organization in the National Coalition for LGBT Health

You can learn more about the Bisexual Resource Center by visiting their website: http://biresource.net/

  • QWOC Ally Volunteer Spotlight: Queer Femme Warrior, Beth Rubin!
    • Jen Bonardi

      I am so psyched for this post that I can't even stand myself. Like Ellyn said, it's our absolute pleasure to work with QWOC and I'm so looking forward to opportunities to keep doing so.
      -Jen, BRC

    • Ellyn

      Thanks, Spectra, for building connections across so many communities in our city. The BRC is proud to be doing collaborative work with QWOC. Let's do more! ~Ellyn, BRC