For more than a dozen years, Fenway Health’s Bisexual and Bi-Curious Men’s Group has been a haven for men seeking a confidential forum to discuss bisexuality. Meeting on the second Tuesday evening of each month, the drop-in group typically sees anywhere from three to seven men seeking support around their experiences of bisexuality, says group leader Charles Strauss, a licensed clinical social worker and self-identified bi-male.
One of Strauss’ primary goals is to foster a space that is as open-minded and inclusive as possible to address the diversity of bisexual identities. To that end, there is no pre-registration nor requirement to label oneself in any particular way. Participants can use their real name or an alias, and can attend for 10 minutes or attend 10 meetings in a row depending on their needs.
“Attendees are all over the map in terms of the Kinsey and the Klein scales,” he confirms. “Some men are serially monogamous while others are not; some feel that gender plays a part in who they’re attracted to while others are gender blind.” Participants tend to range in age from their 20s to their 50s, representing a broad range of individuals exploring bisexuality from a variety of contexts, including people who are new to Boston and comfortable with their sexuality; married men who want to address their bisexuality in a confidential space; and others curious about their experiences of desire.
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According to Strauss, “The group is low pressure. All questions are okay and participation is completely optional.” Each member attends for his own reasons and is invited to speak from his own experience rather than generalizing. Discussion topics have included such themes as what our bodies tell us; relationships with straight and gay folks; finding support during the holidays; and bisexual pride. The group also welcomes topics from members. “I encourage members to make their sharing personal and immediate,” says Strauss.
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Strauss wishes he had known about the group when he was coming out and sees his role as facilitator as a way of ‘paying it forward’. “It’s an honor to be part of the first place where bi men feel safe enough to come,” he noted. “There is a tenderness and sacredness to leading the group. I feel like a boat man ferrying people across a transition.” He highlights the power of group experience as a way to provide mutual support and community, to share stories and experiences, and ultimately to overcome isolation. Educational material and information about other bi-supportive venues such as the Biversity Calendar and the Bisexual Resource Center is available at each meeting.
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For more information, please contact Charles Strauss at 857.523.8268 or Charles@CharlesStrauss.com.
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