BiNet USA, which is reportedly the oldest organization for the bisexual community, is attempting to control the use of the bisexual Pride flag.
BiNet claims it owns the copyright to the flag, and, therefore, people have to pay it if they use the flag.
According to Out Magazine, BiNet recently directed a tweet at user JayneBShea, who was allegedly using the flag to make merchandise.
“We at BiNet USA are asking you to get in touch so we can discuss your use of the bisexual pride flag without any money going to our organization. Thank you for removing the flag from your site, socials or work. We know this is a lot so we hope we can work a new deal,” it reportedly wrote.
BiNet claims that those who use the flag in any “financial endeavor” should come to a licensing agreement with the organization.
“The copyright of the flag is solely BiNet USA’s,” it wrote. “It does not belong to one founder and no founder can approve its use without the President and/or board approval.”
The organization then took aim specifically at Target, saying it owes BiNet a cut in profits because the retailer sells bi Pride flags.
“Most other Pride flags were not created by an organization but way back when Bi Net USA were the first to create a new flag, and then many other communities followed suit,” BiNet reportedly continued. “Many of which we bis are also part of and calm home. What of those other flag makers? Do they struggle too?”
It asked the “community to help us out and DM us anytime you see #biprideflags being sold.”
“We should step up against the commercialization of the dream of pride,” it ended the thread. “And ask hard questions of any who make money using Pride flags or sell to increase visibility.”
BiNet’s Twitter account was deleted after receiving backlash.
“I checked – you haven’t licenced my bisexuality – nor my right to use a symbol to identify it. If I see someone paying you grifters a licence fee they’ll not get my business,” one Twitter user wrote in response.
When speaking with the Daily Dot, BiNet President Faith Cheltenham addressed the controversy.
“Anybody who is a non-profit. Please use it. … But the issue is when we have for-profits making tens of thousands or millions of dollars.”
Michael Page designed the flag in question and unveiled it in 1998. According to Out Magazine, “BiNet contends that was done ‘in conversation with’ their organization.”
“Michael Page does not identify as bisexual. He was very clear when he spoke with me (in) 2016 that this was an opportunity for BiNet to make money. When the flag was sold on (the) initial website, a portion of the money went to BiNet,” Cheltenham told the Daily Dot.
*First Published: Apr 29, 2020, 5:23 pm
Moises Mendez II is a recent graduate from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. He is a freelance journalist based in New York City writing about everything from music to LGBTQ issues.