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  • Edward Lord 9:11 am on June 28, 2016 Permalink  

    My message at Pride in London: celebrating, loving, and fighting discrimination together 

    On Saturday 25 June, I had the privilege of speaking from the main stage of London’s LGBT+ Pride as Deputy Chair of Pride’s Community Advisory Board, representing bi people and communities. This is what I said:

    “It is twenty years since I first got involved in Pride in the Capital. 

    And it was in that year, 1996, that bi and trans people were for the first time recognised in London Pride’s official title. 

    Twenty years on we are still here, out and proud.   

    Whether we identify as bi, queer, pan or in any other way, we stand here shoulder to shoulder with our LGBT+ siblings fighting against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. 
    That is what Pride is all about. 

    Celebrating together;

    Fighting together;

    Loving together. 

    Have a great day everyone. Happy Pride.” 


     
  • Blogging in Shadows 7:50 pm on June 26, 2016 Permalink  



    Hush
    By Jacq Applebee


    I lost my voice for several months when I was a child.  I don’t talk about it much.  I pledged myself to become an ambassador of silence, and now I use my mouth in other ways.
    As a teenager I learnt sign language, but even that was too involved.  No, I preferred the fluid voice of a human body in motion.  I listen to facial expressions, and I read kisses like journals.  A long drawn out groan means more to me that a library of books.  
    A lack of words however, does not mean a lack of sound.  I’ll murmur with delight when I eat rose-petal chocolates, I’ll sigh when I sink into a hot bath.  The noises I make when I come surprises me every time.  My mouth holds power, and it is something that I treasure.  I choose to be mute only when it pleases me, and it pleases me to communicate without words.  Why would I spend my time yapping, when my mouth is capable of so much more?
    I long for a silent world, and want to draw a hush around me – the quiet is a comfort blanket that muffles the rest of existence into distortion.  If only I could keep that blanket around me when I dream, when I lose control, and am surrounded by the sounds of screaming.  I’d cut my tongue out if I knew it would silence my nightmares.
    I like my lovers to keep their mouths shut when they are with me.  I have ways to quieten those who cannot help themselves.  Take Professor James Fitzgerald, for instance – his Southern Irish accent was mellow and sweet, but he talked far too much.  He was the youngest professor in the University, and he insisted that everyone call him by his first name when they spoke with him, but I longed to hear his real voice.  I wanted his body to speak to me.  
    I knew he wanted to screw me from the first moment we met.  He had come to my accounts office in the basement of the University with an expense sheet.  I was impressed; this was something that most other academic staff saw as beneath them, a thing they would get their secretaries to do, but Professor Fitzgerald said that he wanted to get a feel for the place.  I think he was secretly checking out the potential for some action.  All that blarney wasn’t fooling anyone, and I reeled at the volume in which his eyes swept over my round soft curves.  However I heard something else beneath the flirting – the gaps between his lilting words held a hidden concern; he was unsure of me.  My silence was a deep pool he could not fathom.
    The next day, we sat in the private dining room at the top of the University’s oldest building.  For almost three hundred years, only the most senior academics had used this space for their meals, but I was allowed in as a guest of the professor’s.  There were no noisy students here, no clanking pots and pans.  I was more grateful than he would ever know.  
    I savoured my carefully prepared meal, and enjoyed the sly looks that James gave me.  He started recommending what I should have for dessert, his voice a low whisper, but it was still too much.


    “Hush.”  

    It was the first word I had spoken all day.  I lay my warm brown hand in James’ pale one, and he smiled with surprise when he noticed the card that I had slipped him, with my address and a time written neatly on it.
    “Tonight?” he asked softly, and I nodded before rising to leave.  
    I had a long way back down to my office, but I didn’t complain.  I enjoy my job, and a major perk of this is my assistant, a beautiful deaf woman named Kate, whom I’ve dated a few times.  Numbers are her language. We get along just fine.  
    ****
    As an ambassador of silence, I always prepare before venturing into new territories.  At home later that evening, I set out my supplies before James would arrive and the real adventure would begin.  Ball gags are the main tools of my trade.  I lined them up on the white bed sheets – my modest arsenal in my campaign for quiet.  I fingered a large hard gag made of resin.  This was not really something for beginners, but James was generously proportioned, and it might just fit.  I lifted my perforated dribble gag next; that little beauty usually led to a complete loss of composure for whoever wore it.  I put my pony-bit gag away; it was more for show than anything else.  There would be no theatrics tonight.  A few homemade creations were included in the line-up – three knotted scarves were for the more nervous of my lovers.  There was one last addition, a rigid dildo made of swirls of blue and white silicone.  I adored the firm feel of it inside me, and as a bonus, it had a bulbous base that could double as a gag too.  
    My thoughts were interrupted by my mobile phone vibrating on the bed.  I switched it off, and answered the front door.
    “Sorry, but your doorbell doesn’t seem to be working,” James said apologetically.  In truth, I had disconnected it when I first moved here years ago.  
    James stood in my hallway, and looked nervously around.  He opened his mouth, and I place a finger to it.

    Hush.

    I kissed him, pressed the directive inside with my lips and my sweeping tongue.  I wanted no words between us.  I held his hand and pulled him after me, my footsteps swallowed whole by the thick carpet.
    When we reached my small bedroom, James froze on the threshold.  He gaped at my collection of sex toys, and then he turned to me smiling a wide naughty smile.  I stepped to the bed, and held up the smallest gag in my collection, a soft red sphere that hung from a strip of thin leather.  I silently asked him if he wanted this, by raising an eyebrow.  
    Of all the things that could have happened next, I never expected one of them would be Professor Fitzgerald making a dive to kneel at the side of the bed.  He reverently ran his hands over the line of gags, and I was shocked beyond belief.
    Once I had recovered, I drew the red gag over his face.  He arched against the toy, and quietly sighed.  I read his exhalation like poetry, knew just how he felt.  He had found something he loved, and a thing that he never thought anyone else would want to indulge him with.  My heart sang at the knowledge that he would be a citizen of my silent world.  
    James remained on his knees as I buckled the gag, adjusting it until I achieved the perfect fit.  He grunted, and I translated the sound.  He adored the full warm sensation, and he loved the liberty of restraint.  He was now free to scream until his lungs hurt, and a muffled murmur would be the only thing that anyone would hear.  I lifted his hand to my face, and kissed the inside of his wrist.
    “Welcome,” I said with the action.  "Welcome home.“
    I shouldered out of my long simple dress, and stood naked before the professor.  He watched me as I moved, but remained on his knees by the bed.  I crooked a finger, and he shuffled to me, eyes wide with longing.  
    James was a tall man, so I could rub my breasts over his frizzy black hair from his position on the floor.  He nosed my skin desperately, increasing the speed and the friction with every movement.  I could hear my own heart beating as I gyrated against him, a roaring drum in my ears.  I grabbed a handful of his wild hair, and he stilled after a moment.  
    It was now time to open relations with the natives.  I sat on the edge of the bed, and James instantly leaned forwards, following me.  A firm yet gentle hand on his head stopped him, and he looked up at me with a question in his eyes.  I shook my head, and opened my legs instead.  My fingers reached into my pussy, spreading my lips wide.  All my professor could do was to kneel where he was, and inhale my rich scent.  This was a special type of communication, animal-like and base, but as I watched his chest expand with an intake of breath, I heard his hunger clearly.  I grinned at the loud hiccup as he tried to draw my fragrance deeper.  
    James was a quick study, and I rewarded him by slipping a finger inside myself, only to smear it along his stretched lips; a taste of things to come.  
    I reached to the collection of toys, and produced the pretty dildo.  James tilted his head, and made an inquiring noise behind his gag.

    Hush.  

    I placed a finger to his lips, and then quickly removed the device from his mouth.  James flexed his lips, working out the stiffness with see-sawing motions of his jaw.  I gave him a moment before I pressed the dildo to his mouth, then pushed the base of it inside.  He dutifully accommodated the tool, and when I removed my steadying hand, he bit down to hold it inside him.  I almost laughed as James looked down at the jutting dildo – he went cross-eyed at the effort.  
    I lay fully on the bed, and spread my legs once more.  My pussy was an open invitation that the good professor accepted, by climbing up to squat at my feet.  It took a few tries but eventually he managed to position himself so that he could push the dildo inside me.  The solid strength would have made me speechless, if I wasn’t already struck dumb by the moans James emitted with every shove.  I could hear other things – my sticky juices made sordid music that I could listen to all day.  
    My quiet world threatened to shatter with my building climax, and I panted, keened, but I did not scream out.  I remembered my place as an ambassador.  Wherever I go, and whatever I do, a hush should follow.  This was my commodity, my skill and my pure sweet heaven.  There were no other words for this; none that I could express in English anyway.  I came to the sound of explosions in my head.  James stumbled back, and the dildo lay protruding from my pussy like the flagpole of my new nation.
    "Well, that was different,” James said breathlessly.  He yanked the dildo out, and replaced it with his heated face a moment later.  He planted persistent kisses all over my pussy, with urgent open-mouthed phrases.  I listened to his dialect as he stroked me with his tongue.  Then he spoke directly to me with a kiss to my clit.  I willed the involuntary sounds to stay inside me, but every sweep of his tongue brought the start of a scream to my lips.  Screams were for my nightmares only – they had no place here.  I came once more, with my mouth stretched wide, and my hips clenched around the head of a professor.
    I fumbled for the dildo, and stuck it into my mouth as I came down from my climax.  I sucked contentedly, and tasted my juices with every slurp.  
    James wearily climbed up the bed to lie beside me.  He kissed my shoulder affectionately, and I gurgled like a baby.  But as the sound of childishness touched my ears, a different kind of silence fell over me like a shroud.  James seemed to sense my shifted mood, and he pulled the covers over us both.  A dozen different gags toppled to the floor and rolled away unheeded.  
    I listened to James’ heart thump against me, like a slow Morse code that I didn’t have to decipher.  I felt safe and sleepy, and so very satisfied.  Maybe that’s why I chose that moment to do something that was rare for me.  I stepped out of my silent world for just a second, opened my mouth, and I spoke out loud.
    “I saw my best friend die when I was eight years old.  I screamed at her to move back from the railway platform, but my words made no difference.  She fell in front of a speeding train.”
    James said nothing, but he wrapped his arms tight around me.  I stayed in his embrace until I fell asleep, and when my dreams came, only the softest whispers could be heard.

     
  • Blogging in Shadows 8:54 pm on June 25, 2016 Permalink  













    bisofcolour:

    The QTIPOC picnic was more than an alternative to London LGBT Pride.  This was a space where queer, trans and intersex people of colour could relax and have fun in a safer space.  There was no expectations, no gatekeeping; just the warm weather, good music and shared food and smiles.  It was great to see so many bisexuals of colour in attendance too!

    This was not an event for tourists and sightseers to look at - this was a space to join in conversations, take pics and simply chill out.  It was fantastic!

     
  • jen

    jen 8:07 am on June 23, 2016 Permalink  

    The polls are open… 

    I'm off to vote Remain!


     
  • Blogging in Shadows 7:55 am on June 22, 2016 Permalink  

    reminder that pride month includes bisexual and asexual people. 

    We are not allies; bisexual and asexual people are part of the LGBTIQA umbrella.  And don’t forget Intersex people too!

     
  • Blogging in Shadows 12:19 pm on June 19, 2016 Permalink  



    bisofcolour:

    Saturday 25th June marks London LGBT Pride. It also marks the Queer Trans and Intersex People of Colour picnic in Burgess Park, London.  So if you’ve had enough of pinkwashing of racism, colonialism, biphobia and transphobia in London’s Lesbian and Gay scenes, go to the picnic instead!  There will be no corporate sponsors pushing alcohol, no armed forces, and no facist hate groups.  In fact, this will be the polar opposite of what London LGBT Pride has become.  The hashtag for this picnic is #Notyourfuckingrainbow and that kinda says it all…

    Visit the page at  https://www.evensi.uk/queer-picnic-2016-burgess-park/177570693 to see the map and to learn more.

     
  • Guest Writer 12:27 pm on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Can’t sleep; I’m bisexual 

    A guest post by Holly which originally appeared here.

    I’ve done some amateur research on bisexuality and mental health. I feel like I’ve said a million times that bisexuals experience worse mental health than lesbian, gay or straight people.

    This morning I feel like I’m contributing to that statistic.

    Lots of people are saying the victims of Orlando’s queer nightclub shooting died because of who they love.

    My parents know who I love. (Well, they don’t know everybody I love, but that’s less to do with being bi than being poly.) But they don’t know how tough a few days this has been for me and mine.

    I don’t know what they learned about the shooting from TV news; I don’t know what they think about it. If the news is really as keen as people are complaining about it being to erase the LGBT+ identities of the people shot, if they’re really making it all about Isalmophobia, that’ll probably work on my mom, at least.

    But I know that when they bug me to talk on Skype and I make excuses, or when they call and I’m not here because I’m holding hands with strangers (which I really liked! holding hands is something so practical you make little kids do it when you’re going to cross a road, and something so affectionate that it’s felt like crossing some kind of threshold in nascent romances when I was younger) and then that I’m in the pub with my friends and even if we’re talking about politics and work and partners like usual, we’re all particularly in need of hugs and company this evening. The unspoken agreement on this makes it feel different, even if we’re not outwardly behaving any differently.

    And I pick up my phone this morning to check just how unnaturally early I’ve woken up (5:37) and my phone also tells me I’ve got an e-mail from my parents, subject line “You.” (My mom will probably never know what a great talent she has for ominous e-mail subject lines.) And it’s not like the little bubble of understanding and pain and grief and love I’ve coccooned myself in over the past few days. It’s small declarative sentences that, as always with this rural-Minnesota Guess/Offer culture, don’t seem harsh or difficult in themselves…but in which as a native of that culture I read guilt and accusation.

    And it’s all too much and I crumble.

    I started crying, not really about the e-mail but about loss and pain and despair and loneliness and whitewashing and gaywashing and ciswashing and all the secondary traumas. I cried because I couldn’t tell my parents this, I cried because I can’t tell them I’m bi and most of my friends are queer. I cried not because they don’t know who I love but they don’t know who I am.

    This is what being bi is. It’s not threesomes or cheating or fancying everyone or being greedy or indecisive. (Of course, some bisexuals will do and be those things, but so will plenty of straight or gay people!) It’s not even about who I love.

    It’s a friend of mine and her different-gender partner getting biphobia at a vigil last night for being perceived as a straight couple intruding on a queer event. It’s being told I “pass” for straight or have “straight privilege” for being married to someone of a different gender, as if being forced back into the closet is a privilege instead of a harm to my mental health. I can talk to my parents about who I love (they always ask about him anyway, if they haven’t talked to him first), but I can’t talk to them about the rest of what being bisexual is like.

    There are no employment protections in the state of Florida for LGBT people, nothing stopping the survivors of the weekend’s attack from being fired on Monday. This isn’t just about how they love, it’s about jobs and housing and everything that it’s okay to deny people.

    I always tell people who say I can’t be bi and married that they can be gay (for some reason it is usually gay men who tell me this, though it’d work as well with “straight” here of course) and single. We are who we are all the time, not just when we’re crushing on someone, or shagging them, or dating them.

    There’s a lot of rhetoric about people being unfairly targeted because of “what genitals they like” or “who they love,” but it’s about much more than genitals and even more than love. And this is actually enshrined in a UK legal judgment! In a 2010 asylum case, the expectation that gay men could return to Iran or Cameroon and be safe from persecution as long as they “lived discreetly” was acknowledged to be a form of persecution itself. One of the judges in the case, Lord Rodgers, said

    In short, what is protected is the applicant’s right to live freely and openly as a gay man. That involves a wide spectrum of conduct, going well beyond conduct designed to attract sexual partners and maintain relationships with them. To illustrate the point with trivial stereotypical examples from British society: just as male heterosexuals are free to enjoy themselves playing rugby, drinking beer and talking about girls with their mates, so male homosexuals are to be free to enjoy themselves going to Kylie concerts, drinking exotically coloured cocktails and talking about boys with their straight female mates.

    I’m in no way insinuating that my parents not knowing I’m bi leads to anything like the same kind of discretion as living in a country where my life would be in danger for it, yet it helps me to know that people recognize “living discreetly” amounts to a kind of persecution itself.

    It’s an insidious one, too, because it has to be constantly self-monitored. You end up with a little model of biphobia (or homophobia) running in your head all the time. Such hypervigilence is well-known to be a detriment to mental health. And when it becomes a habit to anticipate potential threats in order to be able to control one’s reaction to them, it’s both mentally and emotionally exhausting. Your brain gets so good at this, sometimes it can think of ways to hate, criticize, or police yourself that your enemies would never dream up.

    I think this is part of the reason why bisexuals overall experience more mental health difficulties than gay, lesbian or straight people.

     
  • jen

    jen 10:39 pm on June 10, 2016 Permalink  

    Honoured! 



    I’ve been sitting on this for weeks now but at last it is public: today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List names me among the many others recognised for their work.

    So from today I’m Jen Yockney MBE, which is one of the weirdest things I could imagine.

    The Honour is for my extensive volunteering work with the bisexual community and on wider LGBT issues over the past couple of decades, whether with BCN, BiPhoria, Bisexual History Project, the Bisexuality Report, Bi Life, Bisexual Action, LGBT+LD, lobbying of ministers and GEO, or other things that just now I’ve forgotten.

    When I saw the full citation for my activities – and all unpaid – it did come as a bit of a frightener.  By doing at least something every month for such a long time it adds up and by now I have done quite a bit.

    In the 80s I was a teenager, following the progress of Clause 28 in the broadsheets but still in the closet about gender and sexuality both to others and myself.

    I started to come out and get engaged in community organising and LGBT politics in the 90s, with student groups and the like. I found that they were very LG in their LGBT, with bi people, voices and experiences silenced and sidelined. This meant seeking out bi and trans spaces: at that point my activism could have gone either way, but the bi spaces I found were perversely more inclusive of gender diversity than the trans spaces.  Don’t take that as meaning either that bi spaces were perfect – they definitely weren’t! – or that trans spaces were all dire: it’s just the balance of comfort between the two, then, for me.

    Over time I came to be involved in different projects.  Publishing magazines and pamphlets and lobbying local and national government and LGBT organisations can be removed from ordinary lived experience so I’m glad to also have BiPhoria keeping me - I think and hope - grounded in the day-to-day challenges of bisexual life for ordinary bi people.

    The high points have included the first full-colour issue of BCN, the huge scale of the two Manchester BiCons, and being the first representative from a bisexual community project to be invited to the annual 10 Downing Street LGBT reception.  And now, of course, today.

    Thank you.
     
  • Blogging in Shadows 5:49 pm on June 6, 2016 Permalink  



    See me walking down the street

    Big hips, fleshy arms

    See me smile, all toothy and bright

    See my skin

    See my fat


    The little girl inside me laughs and claps
    I skip over cracks
    See my stride, watch my flow
    See me strutting through this town
    See me walking.  See my fat

    A white boy catches the little girl’s eye
    He’s nothing but a teen, but still he knows how
    To spit, to scowl, point and laugh
    See me falter
    See my fat

    I ain’t your mammy, shut your mouth
    I ain’t your dancer, your exotic queen
    I’m just a shadow when the lights burn bright

    See her shrinking

    See my fat

    If my little girl disappears who will take her space

    The space she takes just walking down the street?

    How can any fat person ever make it out in one piece

    When hard eyes make every step a feat?

    This fat black soul is wounded as I speak

    See my fat

    And just let me be.

     
  • bisexualblogs 3:54 pm on June 5, 2016 Permalink  

    Can bi volunteer work help you get a job? 

    This year has seen a lot of changes as I’ve moved house, moved cities and found a new job – no wonder I haven’t had the time or energy to write anything here since January!

    I was very fortunate as I had enough money in the bank to last through a short period of unemployment and pay for the cost of moving. I also had enough to give me 1-2 months to find work/start temping so I had the privilege of being able to be out on my CV and take a higher rate of rejection. If it took longer to get work I would be able to cope for a while.

    There were a few reasons why I chose to do this. One is that I can no longer bear to hide my sexuality, even if I know the results of coming out will be damaging. I want people to see ME and not something I’m pretending to be. Another is that BiTopia and bi activism took up so much of my life there was little time for anything else. (Clearly wasn’t following my own advice on avoiding burnout!)

    In the UK there is an expectation that your CV must show examples of employment, volunteer work, AND some kind of skill building, teamwork based hobby. (Way to discriminate against all the bi people who are just struggling to get by, and can’t do some/all of the above.) So if I didn’t talk about my bi group on my CV, it wouldn’t fit the unspoken criteria for being short listed without lying anyway. Besides, it was all relevant experience to the jobs I wanted to apply for so it made sense to put it on.

    Another reason was that as I was moving to a much bigger city, there would be a better chance of finding an LGBTQ+ friendly employer. The people who saw queer stuff on the CV and immediately rejected me because of it would be the people who never got in touch – hurrah!

    Finally, I wanted to share what I’d achieved because I felt proud.

    It felt very scary talking about it out loud in the job interview in response to questions like, ‘Do you have experience using social media?’ or ‘Can you work with a wide range of people?’ I felt very vulnerable and afraid. I kept reminding myself they could be LGBTQ+ too,  but mostly I was waiting for them to shoot me looks of disgust or call the interview off early. (Not that they did of course.) My voice did wobble at times despite my best efforts to keep it steady and talk naturally.

    In the end I got the job, and I also had another interview lined up that I cancelled once I heard the news.

    I’m not going to end this with some sappy “You can do it too!” sentiment. Everyone’s situation is different. You might not be in a financial position that allows you to leave a job, take longer to find one, or pick and choose amongst them. It might be damaging or dangerous to come out in your field of employment. But bi activism and organising groups and events can equip you many relevant skills and experiences. And these can aid you in applications and interviews. If being out on your CV is something you are thinking of doing then I wish you good luck!


     
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