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  • bisexualblogs 8:49 pm on November 19, 2015 Permalink  

    First Bi Awareness Training 

    Recently I gave my first Bisexuality Awareness Talk to a County Council LGBT Network group. I was a little nervous as I’ve never done one before; normally I delegate all training to @unchartedworlds!  However everything went fine and it turned out to be the perfect starting point for a newbie. There were only a handful of people there and everyone was very welcoming and friendly. We even went to the pub together afterwards! Everyone listened well and respected what I had to say, and it was nice to see the penny drop for some of them with regards to busting bi myths and why it’s important to know about bi issues. I hope my training has some kind of ripple effect across services provided by the County Council, even if they’re just teeny tiny waves.

    I thought I would post a rough break down of my talk here as it might be useful for anyone who has been thinking about accepting invitations to give training but isn’t quite sure where to start.

    Please consider this a starting point rather than any kind of definitive list or a guide of how it should be done!

    Hannah’s Talk

    1. Introduction
    2. Talk about my bi group BiTopia, what the group does, how it helps people and what kind of issues we face, why we need the group.
    3. Definitions of bisexuality, from The Bi Index and Robyn Ochs.
    4. Run down of myths about bisexuality – then busting them! E.g. greedy, can’t commit to relationships, disease carriers, 50/50 attraction to men and women, are transphobic, on the way to gay, everyone is bisexual really…
    5. Bi erasure, what it is and what the effects of it are.
    6. Linking the above points together to describe how the prejudices against bi people result in discrimination, erasure, harassment and violence in our everyday lives in the areas below.
      • Relationships
      • The workplace
      • The Media
      • “LGBT” Spaces
      • Accessing healthcare
      • Asylum Seekers
      • Internalised Biphobia
      • Hypersexualisation
    7. Talking about experiences of Bi POC/looking at racism in LGBT spaces.
    8. Why it’s important to include bi people, and why people should look at bi issues separately instead of lumping them together with L&G
    9. How to include bisexuals
    10. Bi Groups, Events and Media in the UK, handing out leaflets and resources.
     
    Hannah’s Sources
     
     
    I just picked out a few things from each resource when I emailed over my sources but there is of course much more contained in each one.
     
     
    • The story of an employer discriminating against a colleague/not considering them for a promotion because they’re bisexual.
    • Bisexuals have significantly higher rates of mental health issues and substance misuse than gay/straight people.
    • Also quotes the US study which found more bisexuals than the number of gay & lesbians put together.
     
    Bisexual Resource Centre
     
    Bi Women Stats on Violence 
    BiPhoria and The Guardian Newspaper
    The National Lesbian & Gay Taskforce (now renamed to LGBT Taskforce)
    • Bisexuals have poorer rates of mental, physical and sexual health www.brown.edu
    Williams Institute
    Steve Ratcliff of The Co-Operative
    YouGov Poll
    The Telegraph:

     

    One unexpected positive side effect of doing the talk was learning the stats around bisexuality helped me combat some of my internalised biphobia. The facts clearly show we are not bad people who are the cause of all of our own hardships; our societies are to blame. The world isn’t an accepting or safe space for us. It’s not us that needs to change.

    Now whenever someone has the audacity to tell me bisexuals have it easy, I start reeling off the stats until they get point!

    Huge thank you to @unchartedworlds and everyone in the BiCon Facebook Group for coaching me before the talk and giving me lots of tips and advice.

    As always, feedback and suggestions are welcome.


     
  • 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: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them

    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.


     
  • 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 we 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: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them

    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, increased illness, 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 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 feels like 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’re burnt out. 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.”)
    • If you are feeling emotionally burnt out, redirect the person who needs support to speak to someone else, or some kind of organisation or listening service. For example, I will no longer talk with people who are feeling suicidal, but I will give them phone numbers to call and will check in on them later.
    • If you use the same smartphone for your personal life and bi group life (which I don’t recommend!), it might be worth buying a second £10-20 phone if you can afford to (or using an old phone if you have one lying around). That way it’s easier to keep the two things separate. You can switch off the bi group phone and be free from messages, calls and emails instead of getting sucked back in through real time alerts.
    • If a second phone isn’t an option, log out and/or remove email & social media accounts relating to your bi group from your phone and only look at them during your allocated bi group time.

    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 if this emotion is affecting you. 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 it’s not a requirement or a necessity. People who don’t or can’t do activism & bi group work are just as awesome and worthwhile. So do as much or as little as you want. Do as much or a little as your are able. You come first. You are the most important thing.


     
  • bisexualblogs 7:14 pm on September 13, 2015 Permalink  

    BBC Breakfast Show Post – Follow Up & Apologies 

    At the end of August I wrote a blog post about bi erasure on a BBC Radio Nottingham Breakfast Show.

    After distributing the link on a email list, the leader of a local trans group politely informed me that I had got it so very wrong.

    In the previous post, I had written that to me the language used on the radio show when talking about Kerry Ann and the transphobic abuse and discrimination she faced seemed ok. I was corrected on this, and was informed that language used on the show such as “used to be a man/woman”, “going through the change”, and “to become a man/woman” is not acceptable. They then took the time to explain why.

    I can only thank them for calling me out and correcting me on this, as it’s not their job to educate me and they shouldn’t have to. I apologise for any hurt caused. I’m really sorry I made a mistake and got this wrong. I promise that I will keep trying to be a better trans ally in the future.

    With regards to the BBC I got an email from them in response to my complaint just a few hours later that day. They said “Please be assured it was not a conscious omission not to mention biphobia.” and not much else. They didn’t apologise.

    I had asked them if they wanted a bi speaker on 23rd September (Bi Visibility Day) in my complaint but they didn’t mention this in their reply. However they did offer me a slot to be interviewed/talk about bi issues on their afternoon show that day.

    As it happens I never did get round to replying to their response due to having limited time and energy to spend on bi activism/bi groups stuffs. However I wouldn’t have accepted their offer anyway. It would have been inappropriate to go on the air about a different issue on the same day as the feature on Kerry Ann/transphobia in Nottinghamshire. It would have been better for them to speak to a local trans group or something instead.

    Later on that day the BBC called another member of the bi community to arrange for them to go on air a week later. They wanted to talk about ‘why women are more likely to be bisexual’ and the recent news story of ‘how the amount of young people seeing their sexuality as fluid is on the rise’. I was happy that the BBC were doing this as it would have been a positive counteraction to previous erasure, but I was disappointed again when they cancelled the interview a few days later! Sigh.

    Anyway, thank you to everyone who emailed in to the BBC, and sorry again for getting the trans stuff wrong in my previous post.


     
  • bisexualblogs 7:14 pm on September 13, 2015 Permalink  

    BBC Breakfast Show Post – Follow Up & Apologies 

    At the end of August I wrote a blog post about bi erasure on a BBC Radio Nottingham Breakfast Show.

    After distributing the link on a email list, the leader of a local trans group politely informed me that I had got it so very wrong.

    In the previous post, I had written that to me the language used on the radio show when talking about Kerry Ann and the transphobic abuse and discrimination she faced seemed ok. I was corrected on this, and was informed that language used on the show such as “used to be a man/woman”, “going through the change”, and “to become a man/woman” is not acceptable. They then took the time to explain why.

    I can only thank them for calling me out and correcting me on this, as it’s not their job to educate me and they shouldn’t have to. I apologise for any hurt caused. I’m really sorry I made a mistake and got this wrong. I promise that I will keep trying to be a better trans ally in the future.

    With regards to the BBC I got an email from them in response to my complaint just a few hours later that day. They said “Please be assured it was not a conscious omission not to mention biphobia.” and not much else. They didn’t apologise.

    I had asked them if they wanted a bi speaker on 23rd September (Bi Visibility Day) in my complaint but they didn’t mention this in their reply. However they did offer me a slot to be interviewed/talk about bi issues on their afternoon show that day.

    As it happens I never did get round to replying to their response due to having limited time and energy to spend on bi activism/bi groups stuffs. However I wouldn’t have accepted their offer anyway. It would have been inappropriate to go on the air about a different issue on the same day as the feature on Kerry Ann/transphobia in Nottinghamshire. It would have been better for them to speak to a local trans group or something instead.

    Later on that day the BBC called another member of the bi community to arrange for them to go on air a week later. They wanted to talk about ‘why women are more likely to be bisexual’ and the recent news story of ‘how the amount of young people seeing their sexuality as fluid is on the rise’. I was happy that the BBC were doing this as it would have been a positive counteraction to previous erasure, but I was disappointed again when they cancelled the interview a few days later! Sigh.

    Anyway, thank you to everyone who emailed in to the BBC, and sorry again for getting the trans stuff wrong in my previous post.


     
  • bisexualblogs 9:15 am on August 26, 2015 Permalink  

    Bi Erasure on the BBC Nottingham Breakfast Show 

    This morning the horrific abuse and transphobia a trans woman faces everyday in Mansfield was discussed on the Andy Whittaker Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Nottingham from 8am. I thought the presenter did a good job in discussing what Kerry Ann has been going through. They never misgendered her. They never questioned why she was transitioning or made comments about it. They simply explained what people have been saying and doing to her, and made it clear their behaviour was wrong and unacceptable. In addition the general consensus from people who called and texted in was how intolerant and narrow minded people in Mansfield are in general to anyone LGBT+ and anyone who is outside of the accepted social norms. I thought the show did a great job in raising awareness of this issue.

    EDIT: I have since been corrected and informed that the language used on the show was not acceptable language to use when talking about trans people. I’m really sorry for stating otherwise out of ignorance. I have explained the situation in more detail and apologised fully in a follow up blog post, which can be found here

    After playing a pre-recorded interview with Kerry Ann, Andy Whittaker then interviewed a police officer about hate crime who encouraged LGBT people to report it. Sadly at the start and end of the interview Whittaker referred to “IDAHO Day”, calling it the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. (This mistake when repeated by the woman reading the news at 9am.)

    I have to admit, seeing as this police officer was the man who organised all the events across the county for May 17th I was disappointed he didn’t correct him on air. It would have only taken a few seconds. Especially as he texted me at 7:40 in the morning just to tell me he was going to be on the radio! I wouldn’t have listened otherwise. (Though I accept he may have simply not had chance, as he was only given 2-3 minutes of air time.)

    I immediately texted in to the show to correct Whittaker and explain it’s IDAHoBiT Day, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

    Please could you email the show to do the same?
    Here is a template you can adapt, and the email addresses to send it to. If you can phrase it in a better way than me, then please let me know!

    andy.whittaker@bbc.co.uk and radio.nottingham@bbc.co.uk

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I was listening to the Andy Whittaker breakfast show this morning (26th August) and was disappointed when the presenter used the term “IDAHO Day” and described it as ‘the international day against homophobia and transphobia’. I was further disappointed when this mistake was repeated on the news at 9am. In 2015 the day was actually renamed to IDAHoBiT Day to include bisexuality, and the day campaigns against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia.

    Whilst this is a minor correction in the grand scheme of things, I feel very strongly that it is important to get this right. Bisexuality exists, and bisexuals face biphobia in the same way gay and lesbian people face homophobia, and trans people face transphobia. Our lives are made miserable through discrimination, harassment, and hate crime too. However when bisexuality is erased and ignored in the media, it is forgotten about and taken less seriously as a result.  We need visibility and representation too. Our health and wellbeing matters too. People listening might not think they are able to report bisexual hate crime because of this omission.

    I hope in the future you will use the correct terminology for IDAHoBiT Day, and mention it is the day to campaign against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, when you cover any LGBT stories.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Thank you and best wishes.

    Yours sincerely.

    Name.


     
  • bisexualblogs 9:15 am on August 26, 2015 Permalink  

    Bi Erasure on the BBC Nottingham Breakfast Show 

    This morning the horrific abuse and transphobia a trans woman faces everyday in Mansfield was discussed on the Andy Whittaker Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Nottingham from 8am. I thought the presenter did a good job in discussing what Kerry Ann has been going through. They never misgendered her. They never questioned why she was transitioning or made comments about it. They simply explained what people have been saying and doing to her, and made it clear their behaviour was wrong and unacceptable. In addition the general consensus from people who called and texted in was how intolerant and narrow minded people in Mansfield are in general to anyone LGBT+ and anyone who is outside of the accepted social norms. I thought the show did a great job in raising awareness of this issue.

    After playing a pre-recorded interview with Kerry Ann, Andy Whittaker then interviewed a police officer about hate crime who encouraged LGBT people to report it. Sadly at the start and end of the interview Whittaker referred to “IDAHO Day”, calling it the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. (This mistake when repeated by the woman reading the news at 9am.)

    I have to admit, seeing as this police officer was the man who organised all the events across the county for May 17th I was disappointed he didn’t correct him on air. It would have only taken a few seconds. Especially as he texted me at 7:40 in the morning just to tell me he was going to be on the radio! I wouldn’t have listened otherwise. (Though I accept he may have simply not had chance, as he was only given 2-3 minutes of air time.)

    I immediately texted in to the show to correct Whittaker and explain it’s IDAHoBiT Day, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

    Please could you email the show to do the same?
    Here is a template you can adapt, and the email addresses to send it to. If you can phrase it in a better way than me, then please let me know!

    andy.whittaker@bbc.co.uk and radio.nottingham@bbc.co.uk

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I was listening to the Andy Whittaker breakfast show this morning (26th August) and was disappointed when the presenter used the term “IDAHO Day” and described it as ‘the international day against homophobia and transphobia’. I was further disappointed when this mistake was repeated on the news at 9am. In 2015 the day was actually renamed to IDAHoBiT Day to include bisexuality, and the day campaigns against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia.

    Whilst this is a minor correction in the grand scheme of things, I feel very strongly that it is important to get this right. Bisexuality exists, and bisexuals face biphobia in the same way gay and lesbian people face homophobia, and trans people face transphobia. Our lives are made miserable through discrimination, harassment, and hate crime too. However when bisexuality is erased and ignored in the media, it is forgotten about and taken less seriously as a result.  We need visibility and representation too. Our health and wellbeing matters too. People listening might not think they are able to report bisexual hate crime because of this omission.

    I hope in the future you will use the correct terminology for IDAHoBiT Day, and mention it is the day to campaign against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, when you cover any LGBT stories.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Thank you and best wishes.

    Yours sincerely.

    Name.


     
  • bisexualblogs 10:12 pm on August 24, 2015 Permalink  

    Hypersexualised Objectified Bisexual 

    Over the weekend I was helping a friend sell merchandise on her company stall at a large trade show up in Manchester. I had a great time, as I always enjoy meeting new people and chatting with them – even if they don’t end up buying anything! I also have a fair bit of experience in this particular field, and really like getting to know people in order to signpost them on to websites and events that I think they would enjoy and find useful.

    Around midday on the second day, I chatted to a couple who I would guess were about 20 years older than me, possibly even double my age. They were very nice and lived in the East Midlands too and we were talking for about 5 minutes before they carried on looking round the event.

    By the time I had arrived home that evening they had already messaged me to tell me that they were seeking a “suitable and enthusiastic submissive female”, and wondered whether I would consider having a relationship with them. From the way they described it in the message, this relationship would seemingly take the form of meeting up for sex a few times a month.

    Needless to say I was a bit stunned. I had only spoken to them for a few minutes to recommend events in their area. I didn’t know their names, nor could I even remember what they looked like. I gave them my username for networking purposes as they were potential customers. I certainly didn’t think any of my actions during that brief time were flirtatious or suggestive.

    I’m a very smiley, sociable person. I would never want to restrict that in order to reduce inappropriate and unwanted attention from others. I shouldn’t have to. No one should be making these kind of assumptions based on my sexuality and the fact that I was friendly towards them.

    The sad thing is this kind of experience is really common for me. I hate how I never get asked how I am in a message, or asked what I want or what I’m looking for. People only state their wants and needs, as if I will immediately stop what I’m doing so I can fly over to theirs. (Presumedly leaving a trail of condoms and sex toys along the way, as I’d be unable to carry much whilst using my unicorn wings). People never speak of what they could bring to my life, they only write about what they want me to do for their sex life. They never offer to go out or do anything together or get to know me.

    There is a sketch of a phallic object with an arrow pointing to it with the label ‘sex toy’. On the other side of the picture is a sad stick figure. There is an arrow pointing to them with the label ‘objectified bisexual’.

    The myth that bisexuals are all super horny greedy sexed up individuals is just that, a big stupid myth. All I really want is someone to share my life with, so it would be nice if I could be considered for someone’s primary relationship for a change.


     
  • bisexualblogs 10:12 pm on August 24, 2015 Permalink  

    Hypersexualised Objectified Bisexual 

    Over the weekend I was helping a friend sell merchandise on her company stall at a large trade show up in Manchester. I had a great time, as I always enjoy meeting new people and chatting with them – even if they don’t end up buying anything! I also have a fair bit of experience in this particular field, and really like getting to know people in order to signpost them on to websites and events that I think they would enjoy and find useful.

    Around midday on the second day, I chatted to a couple who I would guess were about 20 years older than me, possibly even double my age. They were very nice and lived in the East Midlands too and we were talking for about 5 minutes before they carried on looking round the event.

    By the time I had arrived home that evening they had already messaged me to tell me that they were seeking a “suitable and enthusiastic submissive female”, and wondered whether I would consider having a relationship with them. From the way they described it in the message, this relationship would seemingly take the form of meeting up for sex a few times a month.

    Needless to say I was a bit stunned. I had only spoken to them for a few minutes to recommend events in their area. I didn’t know their names, nor could I even remember what they looked like. I gave them my username for networking purposes as they were potential customers. I certainly didn’t think any of my actions during that brief time were flirtatious or suggestive.

    I’m a very smiley, sociable person. I would never want to restrict that in order to reduce inappropriate and unwanted attention from others. I shouldn’t have to. No one should be making these kind of assumptions based on my sexuality and the fact that I was friendly towards them.

    The sad thing is this kind of experience is really common for me. I hate how I never get asked how I am in a message, or asked what I want or what I’m looking for. People only state their wants and needs, as if I will immediately stop what I’m doing so I can fly over to theirs. (Presumedly leaving a trail of condoms and sex toys along the way, as I’d be unable to carry much whilst using my unicorn wings). People never speak of what they could bring to my life, they only write about what they want me to do for their sex life. They never offer to go out or do anything together or get to know me.

    There is a sketch of a phallic object with an arrow pointing to it with the label ‘sex toy’. On the other side of the picture is a sad stick figure. There is an arrow pointing to them with the label ‘objectified bisexual’.

    The myth that bisexuals are all super horny greedy sexed up individuals is just that, a big stupid myth. All I really want is someone to share my life with, so it would be nice if I could be considered for someone’s primary relationship for a change.


     
  • bisexualblogs 11:15 pm on August 17, 2015 Permalink  

    Hannah’s Write Up of BiCon 2015 

    TW: Mention of depression, and suicidal thoughts and feelings.

    This year’s BiCon has been my best for several reasons. One is simply down to the fact that it was my fourth BiCon, so I knew what to expect and felt very comfortable for the whole weekend. I knew lots of people, I knew what to pack, and I knew what I wanted to get out of the conference. I had a chilled out time with plenty of naps.

    My room was right next to registration and the location for the breakfast & evening meals, and all of the evening entertainment. So I was a happy hobbit with not having to wonder very far.

    Fourth BiCon/having lived in two big cities/the fact that I run a group in the city where BiCon was being held… All of these things meant that I didn’t have to make any effort with socialising this year. This was a wonderful thing as I suffer from very low self esteem and always feel people are not interested in talking to me. The awkwardness of shuffling over to people to try and start a conversation with them was completely removed this year, as wherever I went people recognised me and approached me to chat & hang out with. Thank fuck for that!

    Another reason why BiCon rocked for me this year was that during the closing plenary the leaders of local bi groups were given a purple unicorn to say thank you. I was absolutely delighted to receive one and was very moved by the gesture. Thank you Rowan!

    CMiJ0OlWsAAi9Au

    Photo description: a very cute, soft, small, purple unicorn cuddly toy poking its head and two front legs out of a black handbag.

    The workshops I went to really helped me increase my knowledge and equip me with lots of practical steps to take in terms of improving my group and doing more bi activism in my area. Sam Rankin of The Equality Network was a particular inspiration. Her workshops were absolutely stellar. The confidence with which she presented her material, and her anger at the biphobia that plagues our country’s society and services were extremely validating for me. When you’re the only bi person in every meeting you attend, when you push and push for inclusion but never get let in, you start feeling like a tiny lamb bleating about bisexuality in a world of spiteful sheep. After some time of false compliance and facing resistance to all you say and do, you feel like you’re being silly. Like you should go home and not bother. Like it’s not really that important after all. Seeing Sam speak so passionately and eloquently has instilled me with confidence and reassured me that I’m on the right path. That I’m fighting for the right thing. Thank you!

    Another wonderful thing was being able to introduce myself to people I follow online whose work I admire. Got totally bi star struck when meeting activists such as Hilde Vossen and loved having the chance to talk to them.

    Several other people (including a published author) complimented me on my writing – which provided a much needed boost to my self esteem…

    …You see I have a confession to make. My mental health has been very poor lately. Recently I have spent many hours and days lying in bed feeling such intense emotional pain I have been unable to move or function. I have been so depressed I have planned how to take my own life and what I would need to do in order to wrap up lose ends before I go. BiCon really helped me clear my mind and calm me down and cheer me up. Everyone is so lovely, friendly and supportive. Being at BiCon makes me feel like everything is going to be ok. It makes me realise I have so much support for when things aren’t going ok. I feel like everyone is on my side.

    And that’s what makes BiCon so special and so important really. I did cool things like tasting tea and going to a beautiful exhibition at a gallery, but it’s always the people that make it for me. It’s catching up with friends and making new ones. Being loved and supported. Having your sexuality validated. It’s those little moments of hanging out in between workshops, or sitting on the grass in the sun with a drink or three. Looking round during the ball and seeing everyone laughing and smiling and looking happy.

    Thank you so much to the BiCon organisers and volunteers. I am so grateful you made it happen. Congratulations and well done on running such a huge, successful event!


     
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