Report maps the LBT sector

WRC logoThe Women’s Resource Centre has published a comprehensive new report on the support and services available to bisexual, lesbian and trans women in the UK.

In All Our Colours: Lesbian, bisexual and trans women’s services in the UK highlights the key issues affecting different groups of lesbian, bisexual and trans women as well as providing a detailed picture of the sector supporting these women, what services are available and what challenges these services face in a time of recession.

It brings together existing research on lesbian, bisexual and trans (LBT) women in the UK and the LGB&T sector to provide a comprehensive literature review.

Amongst the key findings are that:
· There are very few services for LBT women across the UK and LBT women’s organisations are consistently underfunded
· Organisations led by and for LBT women are particularly marginalised in terms of political influence
· There is a lack of awareness of the issues facing LBT women, their support needs and the LBT population as a whole
· There is little infrastructure and second tier support for LBT organisations and all too often they become ‘add-ons’ to existing mainstream support
· Most LBT organisations rely on volunteers to deliver their core services and many only operate as informal, local and volunteer-run support and social groups

These findings may strike a chord for those who use or volunteer with bisexual groups and projects.

The online briefings can also be used as a directory for referrals to appropriate services and so can be a useful tool for women’s organisations and other agencies who are supporting lesbian, bisexual and trans women. The format of the report and the online version, which is made up of different briefings to download, also makes it versatile and relevant to a wide audience.

“This report is an excellent lobbying tool for organisations and women’s projects, bringing together valuable and timely research and information demonstrating the great need for such services,” says Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of the Women’s Resource Centre.

Copies of the report are available to download from the WRC website.

Bi Visibility in Edinburgh

Report from the Bi Day event in Edinburgh.

On Saturday 25th September 2010, The LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing hosted a celebration and exploration of bisexuality, to mark Bi Visibility Day that occurs annually on September 23rd.

The purpose of the day was to invite people in an LGBT community space to explore representations, perceptions and accounts of bisexuality in pop culture, press and personal lives through visual and interactive displays, a bisexual quiz, the sharing of stories and live music. We wanted to encourage discussion around biphobia both in and out with the LGBT community and perhaps engage with individuals to open up discussion around how we can increase the positive representation and visibility of bisexuality in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Nibbles and drinks were a great icebreaker and were welcomed by event dwellers who enthusiastically engaged in the interactive activities. There were fantastic live performances from local musicians who played whilst attendees wandered around interacting with displays of news articles, famous quotes and a photographic timeline of historical bisexual figures. There was an opportunity to personalise finger puppets that represented your sexuality and gender identity, and hang your secret crush on our Secret Crush Tree.

Highlights of the event centered on The Hub, which is a relaxed, comfy area of the Centre, providing a relaxed and friendly forum for discussion and the sharing of stories, experiences, opinions and reflections. Particularly useful was the discussion around bi-visibility in Edinburgh, as it raised the issue of bisexual people feeling under represented by organisations within the LGBT community and the ‘gay’ scene at large.

If you are interested in the further outcomes of this event please contact Jules Barnes at the LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing on 0131 523 1100 or by email
jules@lgbthealth.org.uk.

One in two hundred?

Figures published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate one in two hundred of the UK’s population to be bisexual. The claim comes from examining the latest “Integrated Household Survey” which includes responses from nearly 450,000 people.

0.5% of those interviewed identified as bisexual. A further one per cent described themselves as gay or lesbian.

However, it’s hard to imagine every bi or every LGB person would have been comfortable openly labelling their sexual orientation to a stranger – having grown up in a culture where being bi or gay can be strongly stigmatised. Reinforcing those concerns, the figures report a much higher level of bi and gay identification among younger people who have lived a greater proportion of their lives in more liberated times.

It is the first time a question on sexual identity has been included in the ONS survey, so even if the figure begs some questions, it marks a huge step forward in counting the lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the UK.

Happy Bi Day!

23/9 – Bi Visibility Day

A proud and happy Bi Visibility Day 2010 to all our readers!

With at least ten events to mark the date around the UK this is the highest profile that the date has had since it was first marked as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day in 1999.

You can find out about events in Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Winchester at september23.bi.org

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