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  • bisexualblogs 11:02 am on May 16, 2017 Permalink  

    Advice from Workshops: Coming Out 

    Last month I presented a workshop on coming out at London BiFest 2017. You can read more about it here.

    As part of the workshop I asked participants to share their tips & advice on coming out and said that I would post it online afterwards so people can use it as a resource.

    Every time I present this workshop I will add to the list- but please feel free to comment below if you would like to contribute anything.


    • Learning facts about bisexuality (e.g. studies have shown there are more bisexuals than the number of lesbians and gays put together) can help you respond to people’s negative comments (‘But bis don’t exist!’) and give you resilience. You know you’re not alone.
    • Sassy comebacks:
      • “No I’m bi, you’re confused!”
      • Answering “I’m 100% bisexual.” if anyone asks what percentage you’re attracted to different genders.
    • Asses how much time/energy you have left to give? If anyone has questions or wants a discussion you can refuse to answer, delay answering until another day, or talk away. It’s up to you. You don’t have to be anyone’s educator or ignorance buster. Nor do you have to explain yourself or justify your sexuality.
    • But if you want to, you can prep answers to questions in advance because sometimes it’s hard to speak in the moment.
    • Choose a place where you can leave easily and/or choose a place where leaving is the normal thing to do. E.g. the kitchen. Makes things safer and less awkward.
    • ‘Lead bi example’ – if you come out like being bisexual is absolutely fine and normal (which it is) then other people are more likely to respond in the same way. (Much better than starting with something like ‘I HAVE SOME DIFFICULT NEWS PLEASE DON’T BE UPSET!’
    • Say what you want the other person to do. E.g. I’m telling you, but don’t tell anyone else.

     
  • bisexualblogs 10:14 am on May 16, 2017 Permalink  

    Workshop Outline: Coming Out 

    In April I presented a workshop at London BiFest. I wanted to share my notes on here so that anyone who is thinking about running a session at an event can use this as a resource or a place to get ideas.

    The first thing I did was write an outline for the session guide which had to be submitted in advance. You can see the guide from London BiFest 2017 here, but for convenience I’ve copied mine below.

     

    “14:30 – 15:30 Session 2A: Coming Out

    Facilitator: Hannah Bee.

    A facilitated group discussion on everything to do with coming out.

    Do you let other people know about your sexuality? Why, why not? Should you? Is it safe to? What are the pros and cons of each option? In addition to the above we will also look at the bi specific issues surrounding coming out (or being unable to), swap tips, and share our own experiences.”

     

    For a discussion based workshop there isn’t really a lot preparation involved which makes this the ideal format for the time strapped individual. The day before BiFest I wrote out some notes and mentally planned how I would arrange the room. (Chairs in a circle or horseshoe shape.)

    On the day I packed some whiteboard markers, blue tak, and spare paper as you never know when these items might run out or go missing!

     

    My outline looked like this:

    1. Introduction
    2. Explain how the workshop will run: I’ll lead a guided discussion
    3. Explain the ground rules. E.g. no interrupting, respect everyone’s opinions and experiences, give everyone a chance to speak. Ask the room if they want to add anything?
    4. Explain that I would like people to use three ‘discussion gestures’. A raised hand means someone would like to say something. Holding both hands in front of you in a fist with the index fingers raised and wiggling means you have something to add, but it relates to what has just been said so you need to speak next. Turning hands back and forth (a bit like Beyonce’s putting a ring on it) is sign language for applause and allows people to express agreement and/or solidarity without interrupting.
    5. Do a show of hands asking who’s mostly/completely out, somewhat out, or barely/not at all out. (This allows me to tailor the workshop to who has come that day.)
    6. Work through questions on flipchart (see below).
    7. End on sharing coming out tips/positive stories.
    8. Wrap up. Thank everyone for coming. Let people know that if the workshop has had an emotional impact, I am available outside if anyone wants to talk more. Encourage people to get a drink and a snack. Give out contact details. Promote any events I’m doing in future (in this case The Big Bi Fun Day).

    Before the workshop started I wrote a list of questions on the flipchart. I find this works very well for discussion based workshops as it helps people settle in and reduces feelings of anxiety or awkwardness. This is because it shows people what to expect and gives them time to think of things to say. It also gives them something to do whilst they wait, plus people can break the ice by talking about it if they want to.

    It’s also a lifeline for me, as it saves me from painful silence when I throw a question to the room and no one replies!

     

    What I wrote on the flipchart:

    Things to think about whilst waiting:

    • Are you out?
    • Why/Why not?
    • If you’ve come out to someone, what kin of reactions have they had?
    • How do you deal with coming out (or correcting) over and over again?
    • How do you deal with negative reactions?
      (Both emotionally and in dealing with the other person.)
    • What advice would you give others?

     

    I had expected about 10-15 people to attend so was rather surprised to find 24 faces sitting and looking at me. This made me worry that some wouldn’t get a chance to speak and that the layout wouldn’t work as instead of 1 circle we had a 2 row horseshoe to fit everyone in. Thankfully the gestures made the workshop flow perfectly. And when someone gave visual applause out of eyesight of the person speaking I just mentioned it to them which got around the layout problem.

    After the workshop I said I would post the coming out advice people gave on this blog. You can find this in a separate post here. Sorry it’s so late!

    Finally Written by Jenny did a lovely write up of my workshop in their blog post about London Bifest 2017 so I would like to thank them for their kind words.

     


     
  • Blogging in Shadows 2:07 pm on May 12, 2017 Permalink  

    Mixcloud:

    I was interviewed about my activism on bisexuality, ageing and ethnicity. Listen to the show, and also hear my music choices!

    TW: Child abuse

     
  • jen

    jen 11:17 am on May 10, 2017 Permalink  

    Labels are not the Enemy 

    I made a little web graphic about something that keeps coming up in conversations around bisexuality both in person and online.

    While labels are optional, too often they seem to catch the blame for another thing's misdeeds.

    (shareable online from here on twitter, here on tumblr, here on facebook)
     
  • Blogging in Shadows 4:02 pm on April 26, 2017 Permalink  

    The #BlizzardScale 

    I’ve been using the #BlizzardScale for a while now, to communicate how disappointing it is to attend an event & be the only black person there.  Some places are better than others, so I’ve given them X/10 ratings to simplify.  I encourage everyone to use this at the next event they attend, and to ask “Why are there so few POC there?” And “How can this be rectified?”

    1/10 No white folk to be seen - Assume this is a POC-only event
    2/10 Only a couple of white folk - Assume those white folk got lost
    3/10 A few white folk - Excellent diversity
    4/10 Reasonable amount of white folk - Good diversity
    5/10 Even split of ethnicities - Fair diversity
    6/10 POC in a minority but not noticeably so
    7/10 POC in definite minority. Assume you’ll be asked “Where are you really from?”
    8/10 Rumour of POC in attendance, but unconfirmed - Assume this is a LGB event
    9/10 Approaching total whiteness - Assume this is a Trans/Vegan/Gamer event
    10/10 Total whiteout. “Some of my non-existent best friends are black”. Defensiveness of whites very high.

     
  • Blogging in Shadows 10:18 pm on April 25, 2017 Permalink  











    These robots appear in two of my zines: The A-Z of Biphobia, and Useless Advice. I got to doodling them with messages of things I support.  I’ve been having a hard time with my mental health lately, so colouring these little creatures has made me smile.  Feel free to reuse with credit please.

    I’ve got a tip-jar if you’re an adoring fan, or if you have learned something from this blog.  http://paypal.me/ACrystalGem 

    Kind regards

    Jacq

     
  • biphoria

    biphoria 7:12 pm on April 1, 2017 Permalink  

    April: Books, Meetups and More 

    The April bi newsletter is out now with what's on for bi+ folk in Manchester and nearby.

    Read it here and subscribe to get it direct to your inbox here.
     
  • Blogging in Shadows 5:54 pm on March 27, 2017 Permalink  















    #BlackBiBeauty happened on the 25th March 2017 (Exactly 6 months before Bi Visibility Day! http://www.bivisibilityday.com )

    The hashtag was the idea of @TheAngryFanGirl https://theangryfangirl.com who wanted to change the narrative on how black bisexuals are viewed.  

    What came through when people tweeted about their experiences was that cisgender black bisexual men are still being blamed for the rise in HIV in black communities, thanks to the awful Down Low misinformation.  Black bisexuals who are also trans and nonbinary people are erased from sight.  Black bisexual cisgender women are often hypersexualised. All these groups of black bisexuals face biphobia from lesbians and gays, as well as racism from white LGBT people.  The alienation we live with from inside and outside of the bisexual communities can lead to a poor quality of life, adverse mental health and a feeling that we are the only ones who are like this.  And that’s where #BlackBiBeauty succeeded - it showed the world that we are not alone.  We exist and we are beautiful in our own unique ways.  It was a pleasure to encourage this event into happening, and to see the positivity and friendships that it spawned in such a short time.  I look forward to the next one!

     
  • Blogging in Shadows 1:48 pm on March 27, 2017 Permalink  



    That Loving Feeling is Gone

    Racist white folks broke my heart.  Power wasn’t just unbalanced in our relationships, it was positively skewed.  My choice of partners for a quick shag, wham bang, see you later, could be wide as I want.  Yet anything else; deeper relationships, down on one knee proposals were for white folks and their polycules alone.

    When I realised I could not be Polyamorous in this society, I felt like a failure.  Poly wasn’t something I did - it was who I was.  Had I lied to myself all this time?  Surely love conquers all?  My heartbreak was a brutal crack in the core of my being.  I knew I’d never recover that loving feeling, the full expression of how I navigate sex and relationships.

    I’ve experienced racism all my life, yet nothing could have prepared me for racism from people who said they loved me.  I cannot imagine the cognitive tangle of thoughts and actions that lead to such a thing, but down in my bones, I knew I was never seen as a full human to them.  My breasts, my heart and my lips could express my love in acceptable ways, but my skin would forever undermine all of that in their eyes.

    I have received white tears, white guilt, but never white respect or action when I was bereft.  I just get silence.

    Most of my partners have been white.  My two black boyfriends both put me in hospital, but white partner’s violence was a slow terrible poison.  How could I fight against an assumption?  What moves can combat neglect?  When my every action paints me as the angry black person, what do I do?  How do I react?

    Letting go of things hurt, but it means my shoulders no longer slump from the strain of carrying such a heavy load.  I can now walk upright instead of wishing I were taller, less bent over.  My arms and my hands are empty for the first time - empty and open to embrace whatever comes next.  And if nothing comes, I can hold myself.

    When white Poly people don’t see People of Colour as human, we become disposable.  We don’t consider the feelings of a piece of paper - we write on it, use it up and when we are done, throw it in the bin and pick up another sheet.  This is what happens to Poly People of Colour.  White folks fetishise us, especially if we are LGBT+ and/or into kink.  We are hypervisible in a sea of white faces, but once we serve our purpose, we are ignored, neglected or mistreated.  We are never primary partners; we are interchangeable and something to add spice to your white vanilla world.

    Poly People of Colour are at a disadvantage.  We face many issues that white people never will.  Most of us don’t have the family, money, energy or time resources white people have.  We are more likely to experience domestic violence, sexual assault, poverty and physical/mental issues.  We shouldn’t have to factor in a broken heart to all of the above.

    My identity of Poly turned into an identity of trash.  Rejecting the label will lead to yet more isolation for me, but it will be an honest isolation instead of the pretence of community and belonging.  I do not want to be a square on someone’s bingo card of experiences.  I deserve better.

    I have so much love to give.  I don’t want to close off my heart because of racism, but what choice do I have?  You may not want to marry me or anyone else, but I ask white Poly people to be upfront and honest with your desires.  Don’t tell me you love me if it isn’t so.  If all you want is a hookup with no contact after, say it.  I may turn you down, but I’ll respect your honesty.  Right now I don’t respect you at all.

     
  • Blogging in Shadows 12:56 pm on March 21, 2017 Permalink  



    Billie Prime

    I’ve changed access to this story - now everyone can read it for FREE!

    https://writteninshadows.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/billie-prime/

    The story comes as a PDF, so I realise it’s not great for some screen readers.  I’ll try to create other versions in MOBI and Kindle-friendly formats.  But for now, I hope you enjoy my tale. 


    Synopsis

    Billie has always had a love of science-fiction and fantasy.  His dreams of aliens take a strange turn when shadows around him start coming to life to try to communicate with him.  The apparitions continue when children who say they’re from Billie’s past come to visit him, making him question his sanity.  When one of the children asks him to change history, Billie is forced to look at his own legacy of violence and neglect that he has buried in order to live a normal life.  Billie has to question the possibility of time travel and the multiverse, in order to help one of the children escape a terrifying life of abuse. Billie also has to ask himself if any of this real or is this all in his head?You can now read this short story (20,000 words) for FREE.  Survivors of Child Abuse and violence are likely to be poorer, so I wanted this to be available to them.  Copy and distribute if you like, but this has a Creative Commons Non Commercial copyright filed.  Please don’t go charging folks for reading this!If you have any comments, feedback or general questions about this story, please feel free to contact me at billieprime@gmail.com

    Regards

    Jacq A.

     
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