LOVE REVOLUTION

Rio Veradonir, leader of amBi Ashland

Rio Veradonir, leader of amBi Ashland

LOVE REVOLUTION: Ashland bisexual club hosts fundraising party

By John Darling | For the Tidings

Rio Veradonir, leader of Ashland AmBi, a chapter of the national organization of bisexuals, has a message he wants to get across: Bisexual people are born that way and are a biologically distinct orientation, different from gay and straight. It is the orientation least understood by the public and, therefore, suffers the most prejudice, including being thought promiscuous, which is not true, he says.

There will be a fundraiser party for Ashland AmBi at 8 p.m. Friday at Love Revolution, 383 E. Main St. The event features sparkling wine, finger food, a DJ, burlesque and dancing. It’s open to bi’s and the general public.

“We seek to create a space where bi people can feel comfortable being themselves and so the public can see that bi exists,” says Veradonir, 30. “It’s about interacting with the community and helping them understand that we’re normal people who happen to be bi.”

The local bi group is online at www.amBi.org/Ashland and has 20 to 30 members. The chapter is not for swingers or arranging dates, but, it states, "to build a vibrant and visible bisexual community. amBi is a diverse social group that hosts public and private events and activities for bisexuals, our partners, and allies."

Bisexual people usually become aware of their orientation in puberty and have much more latitude to stay in the closet until later in life, because they can be seen in a heterosexual relationship, says Veradonir, who has been married to a woman for four years and also has a “boyfriend.”

“I realized I was attracted to both men and women before I knew there was a word for it,” he says. “My wife is straight and she knew about it before we married and is fine with it."

Bi’s suffer a type of prejudice, since they carry a stereotype of being able to date or love anyone, so "they must be promiscuous," he said, adding that it’s not the case any more than it is with the general public.

This prejudice is deeper than that against gays, he says, noting some gays won’t date a bi person because of it.

“It depends on the person. Many bi’s are monogamous and might date or marry one person of either sex but not both. Some are not monogamous.”

Bi’s find themselves in a strange situation, he says. A bi male can be seen holding hands with a woman and be thought hetero or be seen with a man and be thought gay, both of which are higher on the scale of legitimacy than bi.

Tickets to the gala are $15 at LoveAshland.com or $20 at the door. The event is expected to sell out.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.