Housmans this evening reading from our Bisexual Book Purple Prose.
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Interfaith Week Special: Bisexuals Discuss Their Belief Systems
The only think I'd like future BiCons to do differently was the policy on speaking about BiCon.
I think the BiCon 2015 Policy sheet I was sent as a session facilitator would be perfect for core team members. I think an agreement when making corporate decisions to not speak as individuals much about the event is sensible. I can also see why limiting internet arguments and being careful with the press would be important to the team.
For non team members I also think that asking everyone to be super clear that they are not speaking for BiCon is a good idea: it may not be obvious to everyone who does what in the bi community. When people are helping on BiCon's behalf such as on the desk, I can see them getting mixed up with core team in unproductive ways especially when "on duty."
I think it is an entirely reasonable request that people who have a problem with BiCon try to sort this out with the organisers in the first instance. I also hope that everyone would check facts and get some background from BiCon before giving interviews to the press and would be clear what were personal impressions, feelings and opinions rather than speaking for the event or the wider community.
I thought a policy that I read as attempting to bind say workshop organisers to not speak to the press and not discuss BiCon online was overly restrictive.
I'd prefer people to feel they can and should discuss our community openly where they wish. Being given suggestions and requests from BiCon is fine and helpful. I don't want to feel the need to ignore BiCon guidelines or argue with them, possibly with official sanction against me for doing so. I don't want to be seen as lying about accepting rules or breaking agreements. I like the role other policies such as the code of conduct have in setting joint community aims and expectations.
As it was, I didn't have a single bad thing to say about BiCon, didn't see any internet arguments and was happy to check-in for a briefing before speaking to the press. Still, I'd like future BiCons to not try to limit the speech of attendees.
As far as I know this was the first BiCon with most meals included in the registration fee. We're more used to self catering, bringing food with us, going out for meals or buying them on-site (perhaps in advance).
I go to a lot of work events and I expect though don't welcome bad or non-existent vegan food. It doesn't seem to correlate with expense: one of the most expensive venues didn't know what was in their food and couldn't find out or managed a main meal with practically no carbohydrates, protein or green veg. Some student unions have been excellent.
I know Nottingham, Beeston and the university well and so could easily find other food if I needed it and I brought a little of my own (yay vegan jerky!) I'm also privileged financially in that I could order in or buy food if I wished and I have many friends at BiCon who would feed me if I asked. I can deal will missing the odd meal though wouldn't like it, particularly if stressed or ill. I find food I like comforting. I'm into good food and quite critical of bad food (food for me, not so much other people's taste in food) though I can and will eat a wide variety of vegan fayre without major distress or adverse bodily reaction. When I've been other places where I'm unsure there will be good Grant food, I've brought more of my own for my own peace of mind.
I don't come to BiCon for the food though meals and chat over snacks at BiCons with other attendees have been many of the best bits of BiCons for me because of how social they have been and I chose not to do that this year but instead to try the meals offered.
I found the BiCon venue's food inadequate at lunch on the first day though I got to it late because I was being interviewed for the local radio. I thought it was quickly corrected to something better the next day. Otherwise the food was OK to live on for a couple of days if uninteresting. The bulk food serving seemed a bit inefficient for a venue used to conferences though perhaps we are unusual in demanding good accessibility but not wanting a lot of frills. Again, they made corrections within a day. I don't think it was particularly expensive though could be wrong. I thought the cafe by the day venue quite pleasant.
I found knowing where I might find most attenders at regular points of the day an unusual highlight of BiCon this year. I liked being able to sit with or near other BiCon people especially sharing with people I don't otherwise know and so would be less likely to have met on a meal out. I liked having an easy place to arrange to check in with partners and friends. I found the dining hall a little loud but not much too loud. On Friday night I was very tired and food was close to my room and easy to get apart from the queue.
When I've organised community stuff I find it makes attendees and organisers lives much easier if people are well fed and watered.
I know I can sometimes latch on to a concrete thing to fix discomfort on, such as catering, rather than deal with anxiety around say sexuality or unstructured social time with many strangers with social rules outside the ones I usually see or my hopes for a peak life changing experience. I suspect some others may do the same so I try to be understanding of the worry rather than arguing the details of the snacks.
- Have a top level ethos and mission to be for all LGBT people and not to be oppressive
- Have a clear strategy and policy of positive anti-discrimination, diversity and equality, to include at least all equality strands or protected characteristics: Be clear that Pride will work to be a space free of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and also of racism, discrimination against the disabled, sexism etc. Mention every strand so it is clear they are all important. Make sure everyone working together is committed to agreed strategy
- Have procedures for effecting anti-discrimination policy: check with possibly affected groups that strategic and tactical decisions do not adversely affect them (ideally, the management of Pride would already include such voices), deal with community concerns properly, make sure codes of conduct are agreed and binding on partners too and lobby for statutory bodies to work to the same standards
- Make sure appropriate guidance and training are in place and refreshed regularly to make sure everyone is acting in accordance with an anti-oppression ethos of Pride
- Reflect on any problems or concerns and update policy and practice in line with best practice and help others do the same. Get help and advice as needed and don't exploit oppressed groups further in doing so.
Perhaps now would be a good time for LGBT people to ensure their local Pride will do this.
Poorer mental health in UK bisexual women than lesbians: evidence from the UK 2007 Stonewall Women's Health Survey
J Public Health (2015)
First published online: January 13, 2015
Lisa Colledge, Research Assistant, Ford Hickson, Lecturer, David Reid, Research Fellow and Peter Weatherburn, Senior Lecturer
( Read more... )
Picked up so far by Bi Community News:
Daily Mail - Jan 13, 2015
Jewish Business News
International Business Times AU
6 Minutes (AU)
West an online newspaper aimed at providing the latest breaking news on welfare policies
Free Press Journal (IN)
Press release at EurekAlert
Photos from the Southwark Bi-Visibility talk http://www.absolutqueer.com/photos/index.php?/category/403 videos here: vimeo.com/channels/821654
Hosted by Gracey Morgan at Southwark council with lots of support from the local LGBT network.
The basics of what I said:
What we are aiming for: pretty much for bi people to have good lives regardless of whether they are or stay within bi community or just pass through or we've never met them.
I want everyone to have a happy and fulfilling life where it doesn't matter who you fancy and who you have relationships with and how many at once and who you love and who you have sex with and however many genders of people that might involve and whether that changes over time.
The facts are bi people right now have way worse outcomes in health and happiness. I want that changed until it is fixed. I want everyone out there to have a great chance at a happy life and for the prejudices that get in the way to be gotten rid of.
That's for the people who call themselves bi, for the people who find themselves attracted to people of more than one gender and for people who intimately connect with people of more than one gender.
Whether or not they call themselves bisexual, will do in the future, or will stop doing so in the future. Whether or not they are out or want to be. Whether or not they can or want to act on their desires. Whether or not they are part of a bi community or want to be.
For bisexuals and for everyone and everyone can and should help. Some people are bisexual. Don't just get over it, make it great!