12/23/2011 10:02 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Bis Who Buy: Bi-Identified Consumers and Saving the Economy

While we've survived the autumn of our Occupied discontent, now we're faced with the bleakness of an unforgiving economic winter -- regardless of our sexualities. Consumers -- bi and otherwise -- vote with their money, wittingly or not: support a pizza chain or hamburger giant whose food you like but whose mogul funds anti-gay efforts, and you've supported your enemy.

Now broaden that to the nation: we have a dysfunctional Congress -- elected by the people, so we only have ourselves to blame -- that has pretty much abdicated its responsibilities and paralyzed the economy (well, greedy financial institutions did that, but Congress didn't stop them, and in some ways it greased the skids) and ensured another year of gridlock through lack of compromise, compassion, conciliation, and plain ol' horse trading/horse sense.

So how do LGBT people fit into this picture? More importantly, how can these sensitive/uppity/loving/compassionate/bitchy/benevolent souls save the nation, or at least the economy? And how does sexuality play a role in all this, if at all?

To answer the last question first: not much, ironically. Whose campaign we donate to makes a difference; whose product or service we support/patronize/matronize makes a difference. That we buy with a bi sensibility and an eye toward social justice and fairness makes a difference. But it isn't our sensibilities that will win the day; it will be our dollars that do -- with our spending informed by our sexualities/sensibilities. And when we casually order that pizza or beer, well, we shouldn't be so casual about such one-night fast-food stands.

So money among us 99-percenters does speak even down here in the trenches, especially in this political season. You may call it cynical, but if you believe in a cause, then our collective financial capital, as well as our political capital, has worth -- the worth of our ideas, actions, feet in the street, and shopping carts in the aisles (or online).

But to truly be effective, you need to make sure that bi people who buy are visible when doing so. That means making our bi bucks more effective and visible, too - not by defacing currency (although some provocateurs do so), but by making your bisexuality or gayness visible on your check, credit card, website, donation, or wherever you want to be open and out.

That constant, repeated "dollar diversity for visibility" takes vigilance, effort, political savvy, and so on to make each dollar go further, societally. And what better time than now, when our country needs us to contrarily spend and save in order to save the union? Wouldn't it be grand if LGBT people led the way to saving the economy? Brother Barney Frank almost did so singlehandedly, but he'd probably be the first to tell you he can't do it alone.

So this holiday/political season, just remind yourself that every dollar is a vote and an investment, whether it's in a bar, brothel, bathhouse, boite, coin-toss booth at a fair, the Bentley dealership, the Earth-friendly bike shop, or a pizza parlor -- regardless of whether you hold the onions or your reaction to right-wing vitriol. It's OK to get angry, but to channel that anger effectively and economically is so much better -- one bi buck at a time.