August 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
White House to hold roundtable on bisexual issues
The White House

The White House is set to hold a roundtable on bisexual issues (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key).

The White House is set to hold a closed-door event next month exclusively dedicated to issues facing the bisexual community — an apparent first for the Obama administration.

In an email invitation dated Aug. 16 and obtained this week by the Washington Blade, White House LGBT liaison Gautam Raghavan refers to the event as a “a roundtable discussion on issues of importance to the bisexual community” and says it’ll take place Sept. 23 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.

“Participants and administration officials will discuss a range of topics including health, HIV/AIDS, domestic and intimate partner violence, mental health, and bullying,” Raghavan writes.

The invitation was apparently sent to LGBT supporters of President Obama and explicitly says the meeting is “off the record and closed to members of the press.” A White House official confirmed the event would take place, but didn’t respond to further requests to comment on it.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said his organization was invited and plans to participate, adding it’s the first exclusively bisexual event at the White House of which he’s aware.

“It’s a testament to this administration that they are focusing on all elements of the LGBT community and they should be applauded for hosting an event focused on some of the specific issues impacting bisexual people,” Cole-Schwartz said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • I think it would be interesting for HRC to outline what issues they intend to bring up at this meeting. What do they see as the issues impacting specifically the bi community?

  • An excellent way of the White House marking Bi Visibility Day in a manner that can lead to more constructive work in future.

    I do hope organisations that have a long track record of focus on bisexuality are on the guest list?

  • Honestly, the inclusion of the HRC upsets me, as they have a pretty bad track record on bisexuality.

  • you mean unlike the HRC? … too easy

  • White House gets bi-curious: how to be visible and invisible at the same time. That’s my take on this. We wouldn’t even know about the meeting had the invitation not been (perhaps strategically) leaked and the Blade reported on it. Still I think it’s a first step. At the same time, it would be nice if someone stepped forward as the voice of a prominent bisexual activist confirming their participation and our representation. We don’t even know who’s on the list. I also find the ‘off the record, unofficial, behind closed doors’ nature of all this a little iffy. But hey, baby steps, right? At least someone either inside or outside the White House has the right idea: to get people talking.

  • As a friend of mine said, the only reason we can see for HRC to be at a meeting of bisexuals is to apologize. For decades, HRC has used us as volunteers, and taken our money, and done nothing for us, despite tireless efforts by bi leaders to get them to work with us. Indeed, a recent rating of major LGBT organizations on bi issues gave them an F:

    Not only that, at a Marriage Equality rally in New York an HRC staffer harrassed a bisexual transman, who had previously experienced a hate crime, just for carrying a flag. HRC needs to respecrfully listen and learn at this meeting, and figure out what they can do to atone.

  • How ironic to have a policy meeting on Bisexual Visibility Day that is a closed door meeting. Not only can one not know who attended but one cannot know what was discussed. So typical of this "most transparent administration" ever. Sarcasm off.

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