Bis still not Homo Heroes

homo hero awards 2011Tonight was the fourth Homo Hero award ceremony in Manchester, organised by the UK’s biggest LGBT sector health charity LGF.

With eight awards presented each year, there have been six bisexual community nominees shortlisted across the awards to date: Marcus Morgan of Bisexual Index twice, Jen Yockney of Bi Community News and BiPhoria twice, Natalya Dell from the BiCon 2011 team, and Bi Community News magazine.

This year the only one was Marcus Morgan, head of Bisexual Index, for volunteer of the year.

He lost out to longstanding Manchester trans activist Jenny-Anne Bishop.

After making six shortlists and still seeing no winners it’s starting to look like the Homo Heroes are an award where bisexual nominees are allowed through the door but just can’t take the trophy. Former nominee Jen Yockney blogged last year about how one of the awards specifically celebrates challenging homophobia, without a bi counterpart.

Nominations open for Bi Book Awards

Bi books

Bi booksSubmissions are now open for its third annual Bisexual Book Awards.

Any 2014 book with a bisexual character, bisexual storyline, bisexual subject matter or bisexual theme, is eligible for submission. Awards are open to all authors regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Books can be submitted by the author, publisher, or the Bi Writers Association (BWA), however, anyone may contact BWA to recommend a book. There are nine categories total, seven of which have open submissions.

Books are judged on three main criteria: 1) quality of overall writing; 2) quality of writing about bisexual material, characters & themes; 3) quantity of bisexual material. A panel of judges will decide each category. Finalists will be announced by the first week in April, and winners will be announced at the Bisexual Book Awards, tentative date, Sat May 31 of 2015. The Bisexual Book Awards will be preceded by BWA’s annual multi-arts reading, which will feature finalists of the awards.

“Bisexual books and bi writers have few opportunities for recognition, even at LGBT Book Awards, so the Bisexual Book Awards is our answer to that,” says Bi Writers Association director Sheela Lambert. “In addition to recognizing books and authors for their achievements, the Bisexual Book Awards process creates a complete annual list of bisexual books for readers, and encourages more bi-themed books to be written and published,” says Ms. Lambert.

To submit a book, send an email to the Bi Writers Association at fuscialadybug (at) netzero (dot) com with: name of book, author name, publisher, year of publication and whether it is fiction or non-fiction; then request a nomination form.

Bisexual Book Awards Guidelines are available on the BWA website at biwriters.org

20 Years On, Mancs Are Still Bi

20 years to the day...

20 years to the day…

Manchester-based bi organisation BiPhoria is celebrating its 20th birthday – their first social / support evening for bisexual folk and those who think they might be bi was held on the 1st September 1994.

It’s the UK’s longest-running bisexual group: there were others before it, but those have fallen by the wayside in the intervening decades.

BiPhoria on the Manchester demo

The group is active socially, academically, educationally and politically

Group convenor Jen Yockney told BiMedia, “My first time along at the group was three months later at the December 1994 meeting. I think it was fortunate both in the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers who have been there over the years keeping it alive, and also in being a mixed group in a city that has a vibrant queer culture.”

Manchester’s queer culture hasn’t always helped the group: the city council is proud of its progressive record on lesbian and gay rights in the 80s but had the non-existence of bisexuality as a matter of council policy in the 90s and 00s.

At the time the group formed many bi groups were gendered – men’s or women’s bi spaces – but the early 90s was when the bi movement in the UK started to get to grips with gender diversity and building welcoming spaces regardless of gender identity.

BiPhoria has been the cornerstone to work including bi social and support spaces, political activism (lobbying local and national government as well as highlighting biphobia on the local gay scene), and research publications on bi needs and mental health. Earlier this year the group led the Manchester LGBT demo about the Sochi winter Olympics for half of the march, alternating with the Lesbian & Gay Foundation.

Tomorrow, BiPhoria will celebrate its 20th anniversary meeting. We expect there will be cake.

Happy birthday BiPhoria. Give ’em a birthday retweet on Twitter here.

 

Bi Book Awards Announces Shortlist

Bi booksThe Bi Writers Association (BWA) announced the finalists for the Bisexual Book Awards today in six book categories and two additional categories: Publisher of the Year and Bi Writer of the Year.

The awards are for books published during 2013.

In all, sixty books were nominated. “We are thrilled that an unprecedented number of bisexual books were nominated this year. No book awards has ever seen 60 bisexual book submissions,” says Sheela Lambert, Director of the Bi Writers Association. The previous record was held by the Lammy Awards, who received 33 nominations to their bisexual book categories in 2011.

This is only the second year of the Bisexual Book Awards. “It’s our goal to increase awareness of bisexual books, to inspire authors to write more novels with bisexual characters, more non-fiction on bisexual topics, more bisexual memoirs, and to encourage more publishers to publish them. It’s working!” says Lambert.

Books were allowed to cross-nominate to multiple categories, if appropriate. But the general fiction category got so huge this year, any books also nominated to a genre fiction category, had to be removed. According to Lambert, “judges were complaining they had too many books to read. We were just not expecting this many books!”

A team of judges for each category has been working away for months to read and assess all the books and these are the finalists they have chosen. Winners will be announced at the Bisexual Book Awards Ceremony on May 31st, following Bi Lines VII, a reading and multi-arts celebration of bisexual writing, to be held in New York, USA at Westbeth, in the West Village at 55 Bethune St., corner Washington 6:30-10pm.

Finalists for the Bisexual Book Awards:
(listed alphabetically by title)

Bisexual Fiction
The City of Devi by Manil Suri, W. W. Norton & Company
Corona by Bushra Rehman, Sibling Rivalry Press
Hild by Nicola Griffith, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The Last Place She’d Look by Arlene Schindler, ExtravaGonzo
My Education by Susan Choi, Viking Adult
The Spirit of Detroit by Frank Anthony Polito, Woodward Avenue Books
The Two Hotel Francforts by David Leavitt, Bloomsbury

Bisexual Non-fiction
Anything That Loves: Comics Beyond Gay and Straight edited by Charles ‘Zan’ Christensen, Northwest Press
Barriers to Love: Embracing a Bisexual Identity by Marina Peralta with Penelope James, Barriers Press
The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television, Maria San Filippo, Indiana University Press
Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, Shiri Eisner, Seal Press
Kissing Oscar Wilde: A Love Story In The City Of Light by Jade Sylvan, Write Bloody Publishing

Bisexual Speculative Fiction [Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror]
Coda by Emma Trevayne, Running Press Kids
The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell, Harcourt Children_s Books
Inheritance by Malinda Lo, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Love in The Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block, Henry Holt and Co.
Pantomime by Laura Lam, Strange Chemistry
The Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj, Circlet Press
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Arthur A. Levine Books

Bisexual Teen/Young Adult Fiction
Bi-Normal by M.G. Higgins (Gravel Road Series), Saddleback Educational Publishing
Inheritance by Malinda Lo, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Love in The Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block, Henry Holt and Co.
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, Arthur A. Levine Books
Pantomime by Laura Lam, Strange Chemistry
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Arthur A. Levine Books

Bisexual Biography/Memoir
Anything That Loves: Comics Beyond Gay and Straight edited by Charles _Zan_ Christensen, Northwest Press
Barriers to Love: Embracing a Bisexual Identity by Marina Peralta with Penelope James, Barriers Press
The Blind Masseuse: A Traveler’s Memoir from Costa Rica to Cambodia, Alden Jones, Terrace Books/The University of Wisconsin Press

Bisexual Erotic Fiction/Erotica
The Flight of the Black Swan: A Bawdy Novella by Jean Roberta, Lethe Press
House of Sable Locks by Elizabeth Schechter, Circlet Press
Memoirs of a Gigolo Omnibus, by Livia Ellis, Vol. 1-4, Riverdale Avenue Books/Desire
The Reunion by Adriana Kraft: B&B Publishing
Twice the Pleasure: Bisexual Women_s Erotica edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, Cleis Press

Bisexual Book Publisher of the Year
Circlet Press
Riverdale Avenue Books

Bi Writer of the Year
Barriers to Love: Embracing a Bisexual Identity by Marina Peralta with Penelope James, Barriers Press
Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, Shiri Eisner, Seal Press
The Flight of the Black Swan: A Bawdy Novella by Jean Roberta, Lethe Press
Memoirs of a Gigolo Omnibus, by Livia Ellis, Vol. 1-4, Riverdale Avenue Books/Desire
The Soundtrack of My Life by Clive Davis with Anthony DeCurtis, Simon & Schuster
Twice the Pleasure: Bisexual Women’s Erotica edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, Cleis Press
A Wind of Knives by Ed Kurtz, Snubnose Press

ShoutOut Awards Pulls Bi Category

bi rosetteTonight the shortlists were announced for the second annual ShoutOut LGBT awards. Run by the local LGBT radio show for Bristol and surrounding areas, this is one of the few LGBT awards to recognise bi events and organisations.

Last year local bi meetup BiVisible won Best Bi Event, with the Queenshilling’s bi club night Greedy taking the runnerup spot. However on tonight’s radio show, the hosts announced that the category will not be going forward to the voting round because only BiVisible got any nominations in the first round – observing that “they got loads,” but as there were no other shortlistees, the award will go by the wayside rather than have a single-nominee category to vote on.

We hope they will give BiVisible the award anyway when the awards are announced – it would be a shame for them to lose for being too popular and not having enough competition up against them!

The programme’s website notes that the bi and women’s categories are both cancelled: “Best women’s event and best bi event.  Thank you for your interest in these categories, however there wasn’t enough nominees for us to open these categories up for you to vote on.”

The ShoutOut Awards are notable for having a bi related category and so – at least when there is enough variety in nominations – ensuring bi representation and promoting awareness of bi organisations and events.  Many other ‘LGBT’ awards fail to deliver on the ‘B’ due .

The Winter Pride UK Awards are currently being voted on and include a Lesbian category and a Gay category but do not have them for Bi or Trans – despite the “LGBT” naming of the event.  They have been challenged over this on twitter and pledged to change that in future years.

The Homo Hero awards meanwhile are “LGB” in name yet have an award for “challenging homophobia” but not a counterpart for fighting biphobia.

In the USA the Lambda Literary Awards recently merged their Best Bi Fiction and Best Bi Non-Fiction categories into a single category to ensure a large enough shortlist of nominees each year.

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