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  • nottmbitopia 3:18 pm on October 10, 2015 Permalink  

    Could you lead BiTopia? 

    It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that I plan to leave Nottingham around February 2016. Before the big move I also plan on traveling abroad in December and January.

    This means that going forward BiTopia will need someone, or a few people, to keep it going. I’m letting people know early so if anyone wants to volunteer their time we have time to do a handover and work together for a while.

    What does running a group involve?

    Here is a list of things I do:

    • be at the pub once a month to run the pub social
    • keep a blog of what we do, and promote events online
    • write up events and news for Bi Community News Magazine
    • march in the Nottinghamshire Pride Parade
    • organise additional socials, eg. after BiCon, at Christmas, plus BiTalkias and workshops
    • run something for Bi Visibility Day
    • provide emotional support for members on an ad hoc basis, e.g. to help find a therapist, chat with when feeling suicidal, help nervous people feel welcome at the social, listen to people who turn to me for help when struggling with their sexuality
    • keep up to date with bi news and issues, to filter information out to group members
    • liaise with police, LGBT+ Groups in the area to provide speakers on bi issues when requested, and join in with activism such as IDAHoBiT Day events
    • buddy up with/promote other groups in the area, e.g. QT Notts, Notts Trans Hub.

    People can of course volunteer to do some of these things, or just what they want/are able to do. E.g. keep some form of regular meet up going, but not worry about the rest.

    How much time do I spend running BiTopia?

    During a week when nothing is happening, about an hour over the course of the week for things like tweeting, checking social media, and replying to emails.

    During the week with an event on, like Bi Visibility Day, about 8-10 hours over the course of the week which includes getting everything sorted and running the event.

    If anyone is interested, please let me know! If you want more info before making a decision, just let me know and we’ll have a chat about it.


    Thank you!


  • nottmbitopia 3:04 pm on October 10, 2015 Permalink  

    Bi Visibility Day Success 

    During the day I did a small bit of Bi activism on Twitter.


    The photo shows a tweet from the BiTopia account.  (User handle NottmBiTopia.) It says “Don’t erase. Don’t ignore. Don’t stereotype. Don’t discriminate against me. Don’t be violent towards me. INCLUDE ME.”

    That evening we had a wonderful turnout for the photos & speech at the Robin Hood Statue; many more people than I’d anticipated! The main bulk of the crowd were members of the LGBT+ Youth Group Outburst, as Jennifer (and friend) were going down to do a talk with them afterwards and their venue was just a few minutes away. Representatives from the police, Unison, and Nottingham University were also there along with members from a few different local LGBT+ groups.

    The photo shows about 30 people, holding purple umbrellas, bi and trans flags, and banners from Unison, the police and the Uni of Nottingham. The crowd surrounds a statue of Robin Hood with an arrow in his bow, about to fire. The statue has been decorated with rainbow bunting and a bi flag.

    I also got my photo taken with the representatives from the police. The uniformed officer present was actually the person whose image is used on the cardboard cut outs of policemen stood in shops in order to prevent shoplifting. It kind of felt like having a minor local celebrity present which was rather exciting. I enjoyed it when he put his hat on my head!

    police shot

    The photo captures the moment just before the intended shot is taken. Five people stand behind a rainbow flag with the Notts Police logo on, not quite ready for the camera. Some are looking at each other rather than the lens. A policeman in uniform is putting his hat on the woman next to him.

    After the photos had been taken Jennifer gave a wonderful short speech about Bi Visibility Day and I handed out some cake. Once we had packed everything up Jennifer went over to Outburst whilst I headed up to the Friends’ Meeting House for the second event of the evening.


    The photo shows a cake covered in white icing, with the words “Happy Bis Day!” iced in blue on top. A purple unicorn soft toy and a rubber duck sit next to the cake, looking happy as if they are about to take a bite!

    An image showing Jennifer stood in front of the aforementioned statue, wearing a purple shirt for Bi Vis Day.

    An image showing Jennifer stood in front of the aforementioned statue, wearing a purple shirt for Bi Vis Day

    We had a nice, quiet social at The Friends’ Meeting House with some interesting discussions taking place. Jennifer and her friend (sorry I’ve forgetton their name!) arrived later in the evening and said everything at Outburst had gone well. As usual for BiTopia events, somewhere between a quarter to a third of the people there were first time attendees. I was happy to note that they seemed to get a lot out of coming along, and two of them have since been to our monthly pub social. I was really happy with how well everything turned out, and I had a really great evening.

  • biphoria

    biphoria 11:07 am on October 7, 2015 Permalink  

    Our October bi news 

    Our bi news bulletin for the month talks about bi meetups, Bolton Pride, Chester Pride and more.

    Read it here.
  • Blogging in Shadows 2:01 pm on October 5, 2015 Permalink  

    It’s October, so that means in the U.K it’s Black History Month.

    Have a look at LGBT History website, and spot all the bi-erasue on it:

    I’m quite disappointed by the lack of LGBT+ content this month, but there are a few queer things happening. 

    LGBT Foundation in Manchester are celebrating

    And you can always read about the experiences of Bisexual people of colour here:

    What makes me particularly sad is that due to illness & clashes, there won’t be a Bi’s of Colour meetup this month.  In Black History Month queer people are often ignored.  In LGBT History Month, Black people are often ignored.  LGBT People of Colour deserve better than this.  Our lives matter too.

    PS- Something I left off the illustration, but is important to know: Black Lives Matter OUTSIDE of United States too!

  • EsmeT

    EsmeT 9:26 pm on September 28, 2015 Permalink  

    Church Times celebrates BiVisibility Day 

    My friend at church caught me at the end of the service this Sunday to ask me if I had read this article published on the 18th September in the Church Times. I don't read CT so he kindly sent it to me and I wanted to share it.

    OpinionFreeing sexuality from an either/or model 
    ‘Church Times’   18 September 2015 

    Bisexuality is often misunderstood, but has the potential to refocus discussions of gender, arguesSymon Hill 

    “NOBODY’s really bisexual.” It’s a sentence I have heard often. It has been said by gay people as well as straight ones; by “liberals” as well as “conservatives”. The evidence is mounting against it. A YouGov survey last month suggested that 23 per cent of British adults did not regard themselves as exclusively heterosexual or homosexual. The figure rose to 49 per cent among 18-to-24-year-olds. 
    As Christians, we need to be aware of this. Whatever our views on sexuality, we are called to recognise truth, and to witness to it. Bisexual people, like everyone else, need pastoral care, and that means acknowledging their existence. Bisexual Visibility Day will be marked around the world on Wednesday (23 September). 
    There is another reason for Christians to pay attention: the reality of bisexuality gives us a different starting-point in discussions of sexuality. Church debates are bogged down in name-calling and predictable arguments. At the same time, many churches are slow to recognise the reality of church-based sexual abuse. 
    In this context, we urgently need new questions, as well as new answers, if we are to respond meaningfully to issues of sexual ethics and to proclaim God’s love in the context of sexuality and human relationships. 
    THE tendency to ignore bisexuals seems particularly prevalent in Christian circles. The Pilling report made almost no reference to bisexuality (News, 6 December 2013). It repeatedly used the phrase “gay and lesbian”. At certain points, it seems that this is meant to mean “people who are not straight” or “people in same-sex relationships”. At other points, it seems to involve the more usual meaning of “people attracted only to others of the same sex”. 
    Church discussions on sexuality are confusing and controversial enough without using sloppy language and ignoring a sizeable number of people. The Pilling report is far from being the only culprit. 
    Campaigners on both sides of the argument say “gay marriage” when they mean same-sex marriage. As a bisexual Christian, I know that marrying a man would not make me gay, nor would marrying a woman make me straight. 
    I am not trying to say that bisexuals are more hard done by than gay people. This is not a competition. In some ways, bisexuals may suffer less from prejudice than gay people. In certain contexts, however, bisexuals experience additional hostility. 
    Homosexuality challenges traditional gender notions, but a gay person is at least looking for a partner of a particular gender. Someone who says that the gender of his or her partner does not matter may pose far more of a threat to those who are keen to defend binary gender categories. 
    THIS very challenge gives us a different angle from which to approach theological questions on sexuality. One of the most shocking aspects of the New Testament is its challenge to gender roles. 
    In the Gospels, we see Jesus allowing women to make physical contact with him, in a culture that found this shocking. We see him challenging male-centred divorce, and telling men who committed adultery in their hearts to take responsibility for their sexual behaviour towards women. In St Paul’s early writing, we read his assertion that “There is no longer male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3.28). 
    Things changed. Later writings such as the First Letter to Timothy (which, in the view of most scholars, was not written by Paul) encourage women to obey their husbands. But the radical tendency was not stamped out. 
    A second-century letter, Second Clement, declares that “a brother who sees a sister should think nothing about her being female, and she should think nothing about his being male.” The letter was read alongside scripture in some churches until as late as the fifth century. 
    SUCH attitudes raise questions not only for those who exclude sexual minorities, but for others who wish to allow gay people into the Church as a sort of exception. I have known Christians who say that gay people should be tolerated because they “can’t help” being gay. This degrading statement implies that bisexualscanhelp it, and should choose a partner of a different sex. 
    If we ignore these issues, we reject both Christian history and the needs of people who do not fit into neat categories of male and female, or straight and gay. The radical New Testament message of “no longer male and female” has the potential to free us from these human-made categories altogether. 
    This emphatically does not mean adopting an “anything-goes” approach to sexuality. Rather, it frees us to concentrate on what really matters. Most of the people whom I find attractive are women; some are not. Most of them have dark hair; some have not. 
    Society regards one of these issues as trivial, and the other one as a vital aspect of my identity. Perhaps if we were to regard them both as trivial, we might give more attention to what really is vital. 
    By taking gender out of the discussion, we can focus on what really makes a relationship right, how we truly live in love, and what it means to follow Jesus’s example in all areas of life. 
    These are tough questions that require a great deal of thought and prayer. We will not all reach the same conclusions, but at least we will be starting with helpful questions. As a popular bisexual slogan puts it, love has no gender. 
    Symon Hill is the author ofThe Upside-Down Bible: What Jesus really said about money, sex and violence, which will be published by DLT in November. 

  • jen

    jen 11:02 am on September 24, 2015 Permalink  

    Bi Visibility Day and politics 

    It's fab to see that once again bi activists were invited to a roundtable debate at the White House this Bi Visibility Day.

    But what about here?

    I took to twitter to see the engagement from political groupings

    Lib Dems: Now a long time ago - in the 90s I think - the Lib Dems LGBT+ group got me and some other folk in to help with bi inclusion and representation. It's well reflected with about ten tweets on the day including photo and video content.
    Tory: Their LGBT wing had nothing of its own but retweeted a couple of other bi tweets.
    Plaid: One tweet, but well crafted.
    Labour: Not a peep
    Greens: Not a peep
    UKIP: Not a peep
    SNP: Can't find anything there either

    Elsewhere the Government Equalities Office had a couple of tweets and the junior minister for Women and LGBT equalities tweeted a message too.
  • biphoria

    biphoria 9:45 pm on September 22, 2015 Permalink  

    Our Bi Visibility Day email 

    Our latest email bulletin talks about Bi Visibility Day
  • MrandMrs 8:40 pm on September 21, 2015 Permalink  

    Differing Attractions But Both Bisexual 

    We both have different attractions even though we're both bisexual.  Some of these may come from gender differences, and in some ways are role reversed to gender norms, and we also differ when it comes to visual stimuli.  It's always interesting to work out how each of us tick.

    One day, before we acknowledged our bisexuality, we watched the indie film 'White Bird in a Blizzard'.  We always discuss films after seeing them together.  Afterwards Mrs B kicked off the discussion...

    Mrs B : "The actress was very brave to be fully naked."
    Mr B : "I didn't really notice!" , said with honesty and no sarcasm.
    Mrs B thought - I couldn't take my eyes off her the whole time.
    Mr B thought - Why on Earth did I remember there was a love scene but not the full details of  how much of her body was revealed on film?  Most males probably would remember what they saw through their 'male gaze'.

    I assumed the feminist in me just overrode the ogling male part of me.  In truth I rarely get stimulated with visuals alone.  For me I need a romantic connection.  Think of all the romantic erotica and romance films, aimed chiefly at women.  They're the ones I prefer.  Pornography, especially with rough or non-sensual sex, does absolutely nothing for me.  A non-typical reaction for a male perhaps?  This ties in with my non-binary gender fluid identity quite nicely in my opinion. My wife, on the hand, does respond to images in a very strong way.  She's much more distracted by an attractive beach body than I am, which amuses me greatly.

    One thing we have learned is that you cannot judge your sexuality by how you respond to purely visual stimuli, especially if restricted to mechanical non-sensual pornography shot with a male gaze and non-natural bodies in unbelievable situations.  You can be bisexual and not respond to some types of pornography.  In my opinion it's better to judge your sexuality by thinking back to real life encounters and who has made your heart skip, turned your head, or became your latest celebrity crush.

    You can also discuss celebrity crushes with your partner, which makes the discussion of your attractions much less awkward and jealousy inducing.  We have found we have very similar taste in celebrity women, but not so much overlap in the men.  It all makes a visit to the cinema far more fun, and we get twice the value for money ;-)

  • nottmbitopia 5:35 pm on September 16, 2015 Permalink  

    Events for Bi Visibility Day 

    Soon it will be Bi Visibility Day, which is also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

    Can you make it to either of these two events?

    First Event There will be a photo with bi flags at the Robin Hood statue in Nottingham at 6:30pm on Wednesday 23rd September.

    This will be a very brief event. About 15-20 mins long. We will just take photos with bi flags and there will be a short speech too. We will hopefully have lots of people show up. People from the Notts IDAHoBiT group, reps from the police etc. have been invited to show their support.

    Address: Castle Place, Nottingham, Notts, NG1 6EL

    These pictures will be posted on the Internet and maybe even in magazines such as Bi Community News, so there is absolutely no pressure to attend if you don’t want a public photo.

    After the photo, people can walk up to the Friends Meeting House if they want to join in with the BiTalkia social. (See below!)

    People who are not attending the photo can just go straight to the Meeting House for 7:30pm. :)

    Second Event
    The BiTalkia Social at The Friends Meeting House
    7:30-10pm, also on Wednesday 23rd September
    Format of BiTalkia This is a chance to chat and chill out with others in a private, alcohol free setting. There aren’t any workshops or activities planned this time (yet!), so please bring games, crafts, things to do, tea to drink, snacks, etc etc!

    Doors open 7:30pm. We´ll start packing up, washing cups and so on to ensure we´re out of the room by 10pm.

    Venue Friends’ Meeting House (FMH), 25 Clarendon Street, Nottingham NG1 5JD.

    This is round the corner from the Women’s Centre. It’s a beautiful modern building with flat/ramped access and a wheelchair-accessible toilet.

    We’ve booked the Social Room which is where we were last time. It includes a small kitchen.

    Cost “Pay the amount that seems right to you”. Any donations will be used to pay for the cost of hiring the room. Any surplus will go towards to the costs of future events.
    Travel Info See the Friends Meeting House “Finding us” page for lots of useful info on roads, parking and public transport.
    Optional pre-meet Optional:  Leaving Central Library at 7:15pm to walk up to the FMH together.  Someone (tbc) will be there to welcome people and lead the way.

    This pre-meet is designed for people who don’t want to arrive alone via the quieter streets near the FMH after dark – or who know the library as a familiar landmark, or who just like the idea of having company on the way – and who can walk or wheel for about 500 metres.  Feel free to come straight to the FMH if that works better for you.

    Meet outside the library doors. (The library shuts at 7pm.)

    The Central Library is on Angel Row, just off the Old Market Square in Nottingham City Centre. Nearest tram stop: Old Market Square.

    Who can come? Bi people and anyone with a positive interest in bisexuality, including friends or partners.

    (Not sure if you’re bi?  Take a look at the Bisexual Index’s quiz.)

    We also warmly welcome anyone who is attracted to more than one gender who doesn´t use the label bi, for example heteroflexible, pansexual, or biromantic.

    Volunteers Needed!
    • A person to meet and greet people at the library at 7:15, and walk up the friends meeting house with them.
    • A person to arrive at the friends meeting house at 7pm, and set up the room and put up a bi flag or two, that kind of thing. (I can provide these!) Then will also be the person in charge of BiTalkia, then I will assist once I get there later.
    Where will Hannah be? After the photo taking at the Robin Hood Statue, I will be giving a talk to the LGBT Youth Group Outburst – but once that has finished I will dash up to the Meeting House to join the fun!
    Bringing Snacks? Please bring a list of ingredients if you plan to bake anything, or keep the packaging if it´s shop bought.


  • bisexualblogs 8:16 pm on September 13, 2015 Permalink  

    Avoiding Burnout 

    Activists and group leaders are always going to be prone to getting burned out. We do so much work in our own free time. This is often done on top of full time work or family responsibilities. It might also be done under the pressure of unemployment and living on a very small income. As there are no funded bi groups in the UK and no bi groups run by a LGBT centre or organisation, this means that we run them using our own energy and resources too. We have to start and set up all of them. We have to keep them running.

    This is all in addition to the poor rates of mental and physical health bisexuals suffer because of biphobia and bi erasure too.

    The thing that I find the worst about bi group work is that the constant erasure and biphobia is exhausting. Nothing comes easily. I feel like I have to fight ALL THE TIME for bisexuality to be included or even mentioned. It makes me sad, angry, fed up, and frustrated. It wears me down over time.

    This piece by Psychology Today provides a really good introduction to what burnout is and what the tell tale signs are:

    Their summary looks like this:

    • physical and emotional exhaustion
    • cynicism and detachment
    • feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

    The article elaborates on what these three things look like, e.g. forgetfulness, anxiety, isolation, depression, pessimism, irritability…

    Here are a few examples of how it might manifest in terms of running a bi group:

    • you don’t enjoy running the group any more
    • it’s starting to take up more and more of your time
    • it’s difficult to stop thinking about your plans and to do lists
    • you want a long break from it all, yet struggle to switch off and stop logging into your social media accounts for even a short amount of time
    • you notice you are starting to accidentally say or do stupid and hurtful things, and maybe even burn bridges and damage professional relationships (because you feel so tired, frustrated and fed up all the time)
    • your group work is starting to come before other important life priorities, such as moving house, finding a better job, or attending friends’ social events

    I’d also bet money that perfectionists and people pleasers are especially vulnerable. For example, I personally can’t bear to let people down so I have to work hard to make sure I don’t commit to things others want or need at my own expense.

    As the article I linked to says, burnout doesn’t just appear out of nowhere and go BOO! It’s a long and slow process that builds up over time. For ages you feel down but can’t figure out why. Everything seems “fine” right? Sometimes when I’ve been burnt out I haven’t really felt anything at all – just awful! Lots of tears at the smallest things. Everything is a hurdle to be overcome. Exhaustion all day every day. Not listening or concentrating on anything. Sometimes feeling suicidal during the worst moments.

    It can take a really long time to put the pieces together and realise you’ve been doing too much. It can take even longer to get your life back to normal too. It won’t happen overnight, but little by little you can take the steps you need to find the right bi group-life balance for you. Or maybe take a break for a while. Or maybe stop what you’re doing altogether.

    If you’re burnt out:

    • Can you delegate some or all of your tasks and responsibilities? (Perfectionists, you can trust other people to do the things you do!)
    • Can you arrange fewer events, such as holding a meet up every other month instead of once a month?
    • Can technology help you save time? E.g. I used to retype out a Facebook event for every pub social until I found the “copy this event” button!
    • Self care by eating and sleeping as well as you can. Make uninterrupted time for YOU and uninterrupted time to do your favourite things. Treat yourself.
    • Schedule time to spend on bi group work…and stick to it! Do whatever works for you, such as only doing work on a Sunday or only doing 15 minutes a day.
    • Assert your boundaries, needs and wants. I used to be terrible at this. Lately I’ve learned I can just say no and I don’t have to give a reason! I’ve also learned I can change my mind! (Eg. “I know I said I’d make a bi display for the library for next month, but for personal reasons I’m going to have to pull out. I’m so sorry.”)

    It can be really hard to take a step back, especially if taking a break or stopping altogether means the bi thing won’t happen any more. Try not to feel guilty. We live in a world where bisexuals have to struggle and fight just to get by. Doing activism or bi group work is great but not a requirement or a necessity. You come first. You are the most important thing.

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