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  • biphoria

    biphoria 6:26 pm on December 4, 2016 Permalink  

    The December Newsletter 

    Our December newsletter is out, complete with Canal Street's Christmas lights.

    It's here.
     
  • bisexualblogs 3:34 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink  

    BiTopia at Notts Pride 2016 — Bi Nottingham 

    Here is a very belated post to share photos from our third time participating in the Nottinghamshire Pride Parade in July. I started the morning by arriving early to meet people who wanted to join BiTopia for the parade through the city centre. I know there are reservations and criticisms regarding the commercialisation of Prides […]

    via BiTopia at Notts Pride 2016 — Bi Nottingham


     
  • nottmbitopia 3:29 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink  

    BiTopia at Notts Pride 2016 

    Here is a very belated post to share photos from our third time participating in the Nottinghamshire Pride Parade in July.

    I started the morning by arriving early to meet people who wanted to join BiTopia for the parade through the city centre. I know there are reservations and criticisms regarding the commercialisation of Prides (which I share too) but I still love to see local and national businesses put signs, flags, and rainbow coloured items on display. It makes me feel more supported, fosters an atmosphere of celebration, and raises awareness in the city centre that Pride is happening.

    notts-pride-signs

    The photo shows four business decorated for Pride. A brightly coloured rainbow display in a local bead shop, a Costa & Sainsbury’s with banners, and the Hartley’s cafe cow wrapped in a rainbow flag.

    As we stood waiting to set off we passed around signs, flags, banners, whistles, etc. and took photos of each other. There was a great buzz in the air as the fire engine drove into place and the samba music began – and then we were off!

    One thing I love about Nottinghamshire Pride is that the city is so small the parade effectively shuts down all pedestrian streets through the centre making us very visible. People have to see and hear some our messages. They have to wait for us to pass. It is a wonderful (albeit brief) take over.

    For me this Pride felt different from previous ones I’ve attended. It felt more inclusive of minority groups within the LGBTQ+ umbrella that are normally ignored, erased, and discriminated against as QTIPOC Notts and Notts BLM led the parade followed by local trans and bi groups. This was the first time I have ever seen a BME group lead a pride parade. I hope it happens more often in the future.

    BiTopia attendance was difficult to count as many people were there holding signs and flags to support and represent more than one group which was great to see.

    There was also a minutes silence for victims of the Orlando shootings which happened the month before.

    As usual I have barely been able to find any photos of the bi, trans, QTIPOC and BLM groups in the media. This erasure angers, saddens, and disgusts me.

    However BiTopia flags and members are visible in the background on the ITV news website, and there is a photo of QTIPOC members and the Chameleons banner there too. Communities Inc also have a shot of BiTopia members and a very brief video clip of BLM leading the parade. The Notts Post website has a photo featuring a lot of trans groups and trans flags.

    A few more of my photos are below:

    img_0509

    The first photo shows my view of the front of the parade waiting to set off. Everyone is facing away from the camera. Bi, trans, and rainbow flags are visible. There are signs against bi erasure. Intersectional signs with messages such as ‘Black Lesbian Lives Matter’ or ‘Black Nonbinary Lives Matter’ are also being held in the air.

     

    img_0520

    A photo of some of the people walking in the parade with BiTopia. They are smiling and holding signs and bi flags. Some have rainbow coloured flowers round their necks and/or bi flags round their shoulders like capes. The main BiTopia banner is visible. The message reads ‘Bringing together bi people in the East Midlands.’

     

    After the parade BiTopia members met up in various different venues around the city centre to socialise.

    I have now left the area so this will be my last Nottinghamshire Pride for a while but I am really proud of what we have achieved over the past 3 years and have many great memories. Thank you to everyone for your support during these last three Prides.

    If you still live in the area you are most welcome to join BiTopia for Pride in 2017!

     

    Hannah

     


     
  • biphoria

    biphoria 2:30 pm on November 1, 2016 Permalink  

    Looking Forward To November 

    Our latest e-newsletter is out, with news about Christopher Biggins' biphobia, BiCon 2017, Jen getting the MBE and more.

    Of course it had all the bi meetup dates for the weeks ahead too.

    Read it here
     
  • Blogging in Shadows 12:07 pm on October 31, 2016 Permalink  







    bisofcolour:

    Bi’s of Colour book, edited by Asha, Jacq and Nila

    Are you a bisexual/pansexual/fluid person of colour?
    Do you live, work or study anywhere in Europe?

    If you answered YES, then read on!

    We are making plans to write a book about the lives and experiences of bisexuals of colour in Europe.  This is part of our long-term plan to have a document that reflects us.  It will be built on the foundations of the Bi’s of Colour History Report.  We plan to have the following chapter headings, but this is just a guide.

    • Creativity and the Arts
    • Visibility and Erasure of Bi’s of Colour - where we are welcome, and where we aren’t
    • White Academics versus Activists of Colour
    • Dominant culture gaze - hypersexual, fetishes, imperialism and colonialism
    • Dating and Relationships
    • Isolation, exclusion and loneliness 
    • Health - Sexual health, Mental health, Disabilities
    • Bi’s of Colour and BAME organisations
    • Bi’s of Colour and LGBT organisations
    • Families, Carers, Acceptance and Rejection
    • Racism
    • Religion, belief and spirituality or lack of
    • Body image and fashion
    • Class
    • Ageing
    • Violence

    We are open to other headings, so if you think of something you can’t wait to express, let us know.  We are also interested in non-fiction, art, photography or things we haven’t thought of yet!  You can always contribute using a pen name if you want to be anonymous.

    All contributors will be paid - we’ll be crowdfunding, so everyone will get an equal share - the amount will depend on how much we raise and how many contributors

    If you are interested in contributing, email us at bis.of.colour@gmail.com .

    THIS IS A BIG FLIPPIN’ DEAL! 

    Please reblog widely.

     
  • jen

    jen 9:56 pm on October 28, 2016 Permalink  

    The Big Day Out 

    Back in June was the big announcement of the Queen's Birthday Honours List, but yesterday was the Big Day itself: and I was off to Buckingham Palace to meet a senior royal and have a medal planted on my chest for Services To The Bisexual Community. An MBE, or as I inevitably punned, an MBiE. The first such and the first Mx, a fabulous thing for me but also a tiny bit of trail blazing.

    The Investiture

    About three months on from the publication of the Honours List in June an invitation arrives in the post.  It's just about the best "boss, I want to take the day off work because..." you could hope for.  The Head of State, HRH Queen Elizabeth II, wants you to pop round to her place so you can be given a medal.  I'm sure there are employers who would say "no" to that one, but you really wouldn't want to work for them if you could avoid it.  I am finally sure from the paperwork that when you get the gong it's called an Investiture: I am very much a fish out of water here so the language is all a bit alien.

    You get to take three guests with you. I make my choices and so we are attending as a quartet of people who have volunteered with some of the UK's most prolific and enduring bi projects.

    9am on the big day and I and my three guests are pulling on posh frocks and the like.  It's not far from where we've stayed the night to Buckingham Palace but there's unanimity on "in these shoes, we're getting a taxi".

    To the Palace and we arrive early so there is time for some queueing in the grounds, being photographed through the gates by tourists. This is followed by being guided around the building and after a short while separated, recipients from their guests.  The guests - being mostly in threes - can chat amongst their groups or with one another, while we recipients are led to a room where we mill about together for about an hour - so lots of respectful conversation with people you'd probably not otherwise meet who you know are bloody good at whatever it is they do.  A couple of them I know faintly from their equalities work or from the occassional 10 Downing Street LGBT receptions.

    There are about 83 of us in attendance, and about two dozen people guiding us around the building, checking who is there and so on. One with exquisite politeness takes me to one side: the medals are in female and male versions, and we wanted to make sure which you would prefer, very sorry to disturb you and ask.  An answer is given and from that point on there is never so much as a flicker of an eyebrow.

    The honours come in descending order of rank so I get a while of waiting while the Knights and what have you are taken first.  A CCTV feed lets you watch the ceremony in progress - and there are my guests in the front row!  Hell, they look so fine.  And then my name is called and I am off to the final queue.

    Presentation of each honour is made in female first then male, and within each alphabetical order, so being a Yockney I conveniently came either at the end of the women or between the two big gender blocs depending how you choose to see it.  It's not often having a name at the end of the list works out to my advantage!



    Whatever you think of the monarchy as a thing, it is amazing what a fine job of her role here the Princess Royal makes. Each one of us, whether the highest ranking or the last in the line, get a very similar amount of time in conversation, and I gather afterwards that the ones higher up the queue who have ever received another honour from here are greeted with how good it is to see them again.  I know she must be very well briefed but it is flawless and consistent.

    Everyone wants to know the conversation you get: the Princess Royal asks about where I live and reflects that on matters of gender and sexuality diversity it must be difficult to know quite when and where to be out. I think herein is kind of an acknowledgement of the struggle I had back in the spring, working out what to put when it asked about things like gender and title, as well as the wider world. I answer that the thing is that while it can be hard to be out, everyone who is makes the closet door that little bit wider open for the person behind them. And my time is up and my medal is on my chest and I have shaken a Princess' hand.

    In the structure of the presentation you bow or curtsey, go forward to receive your honour and brief talk, walk backward, curtsey or bow again and move on.  To blend things as best as I can, I curtsey at the start and bow at the end.  Again: no flicker of judgement or what have you, just the same warm congratulation from the team keeping the wheels turning as they give every other recipient.  The monarchy is ancient, the honour I'm receiving some hundred years old, but the people making the wheels turn are thoroughly modern.

    An orchestra plays as the presentations take place - as I took my seat after the presentation I realised we were being treated to an arrangement of a David Bowie song. Deliciously appropriate. (As I was receiving the award I'm told it was Nobody Does It Better. I have no idea, I was far too lost in worrying about falling over as I curtseyed or what have you).

    And it was over and outside for photos and off for a huge slap-up meal and strawberry cider and, at last, taking your posh shoes off and being able to walk more easily!

    The Honour Thing

    It's a big deal, and one I find a bit weird: I have to tell myself now and then during introductions to add "MBE" to who I am. I didn't start volunteering for glory (hell if I had I'd've picked a different field!) but because I'd come out as bi and trans and tried to find support and social spaces, but the services and spaces I found were so lacking that I felt the only way they would happen would be if I learned the skills and got stuck in.

    But I have been volunteering, for various bi causes, for over 20 years - I started in about 1992 depending on quite where you draw the line. Since 1995 there's been at least something every month and from 1996 or so something every week, barring hospital levels of health problems like having to lie down for a month after four charmers queerbashed me.  Some of the projects have been fleeting, others carry on for years: frontline support for people coming out as bi at BiPhoria, for example. 

    People ask me about the monarchy and the empire aspects. There are those who turn down their gongs and the press is busy this week with a story of how John Lennon sent his back. I'm not wild about either the monarchy as a system or the empire as, well, my heritage is not very empire. But the bottom line for me is: this is the current Head of State of the country I choose to live in, and this is the system that same country uses for recognising the work in the community of its citizens.  It is both an Honour and actually an honour, and a world away from the world I grew up in that such a symbol of the establishment is recognising someone genderqueer championing bi people's liberty and equality.

    So: it was an amazing day out, and I shall probably spend the next fortnight gazing into the middle distance and going "wow" as I zone out for a moment. A double first, so to speak, that I hope to see followed up with seconds and thirds quite soon.

    Oh: and here are some photos!





     
      
     
  • Blogging in Shadows 12:11 pm on October 27, 2016 Permalink  



    I gave a talk recently about homelessness and minorities.  A summary and my slides can be seen here http://www.neurofamilymatters.co.uk/news/2016/10/25/invisibility-and-homelessness 

    I was homeless 23 years ago, but its effects have never left me.  The fear of being so vulnerable and alone as a black disabled sometimes-woman is something I’ll never be able to forget, as it was terrifying to me.  More support is needed for homeless who are LGBT , disabled, People of Colour and/or very young or old.  However much of the homeless initiatives I’ve seen tend to concentrate on straight white men.  Things need to be so much better.

    Also included in the link above is my partial zine on how to safely run away if you’re an adult.  You can buy the complete zine on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/256116258/get-lost-a-guide-to-running-away-for?ref=shop_home_active_3 

     
  • Blogging in Shadows 12:02 pm on October 27, 2016 Permalink  

    Asexual Awareness Week 2016:  Bi Aces of Color 

    biwoc:

    Happy Asexual Awareness Week!  Let’s build awareness and support our Biromantic, Biaromantic, and BiDemisexual Ace-Spectrum community members of Color. #BiAce

    Biromantic = Capacity to form emotional and romantic attractions to more than 1 gender or agender people, no sexual attraction.  

    Biaromantic = Capacity to form emotional attractions to more than 1 gender or agender people, no romantic or sexual attraction.

    BiDemisexual
    =  Capacity to form sexual attractions to more than 1 gender or agender people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals rarely feel sexual attraction compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity. For more info visit here.

    Bi Asexuals of Color seeking more community support and resources can reach out to:

    *Note: BIWOC online support groups are open to people who live outside of Boston.

     
  • Blogging in Shadows 12:02 pm on October 27, 2016 Permalink  

    Asexual Awareness Week 2016:  Bi Aces of Color 

    biwoc:

    Happy Asexual Awareness Week!  Let’s build awareness and support our Biromantic, Biaromantic, and BiDemisexual Ace-Spectrum community members of Color. #BiAce

    Biromantic = Capacity to form emotional and romantic attractions to more than 1 gender or agender people, no sexual attraction.  

    Biaromantic = Capacity to form emotional attractions to more than 1 gender or agender people, no romantic or sexual attraction.

    BiDemisexual
    =  Capacity to form sexual attractions to more than 1 gender or agender people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals rarely feel sexual attraction compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity. For more info visit here.

    Bi Asexuals of Color seeking more community support and resources can reach out to:

    *Note: BIWOC online support groups are open to people who live outside of Boston.

     
  • Blogging in Shadows 9:34 am on October 25, 2016 Permalink  



    Welcome to black history month!
    Here’s a diagram of a slave ship.
    Here’s a pic of Martin Luther King.
    Here’s exactly where you fit.

    Do Black Britons have a history?
    Do we even have a past?
    Where we came from isn’t a mystery;
    We’ve been here since Roman soldiers with skin so dark.

    You’ll see us if you care to look
    On stained glass in cathedral windows.
    So why’s UK Black History Month a US event?
    Why’s history a white washed show?

    We have poets and composers,
    Leaders of the TUC & politicians.
    We fought in world wars, and we fought for peace -
    You’d know that if you’d care to listen.

    Our achievements aren’t only in the past,
    We make history every day.
    So don’t ignore Black Britons
    This October, hear what we have to say.

     
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