Volunteers’ Week comes to an end

Volunteer week 2014Over the past week, hundreds of events have been held across the country to say thank you to volunteers, recognising the important contribution they make.

Almost all the bi community events, groups and support depend wholly on volunteer effort – so it has also been a prompt for many to say thanks to the people who make them happen, and for some to step up and offer to share the workload.

Maybe now’s the time to become a bi volunteer yourself?

BCN magazine has an article in its archives with lots of ideas of ways you can get involved in bi volunteering – whether you have ten minutes to spare just now, a day every week, or anything in between.

Putting the B in #IDAHOT to make #IDAHOBIT

#IDAHOBIT2014 imageToday is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia – and LGBT and LGBT-friendly organisations are implying their degree of bisexual engagement by the language they use in marking the date.

Your instant guide on twitter is the use of hashtags #IDAHOBIT or #IDAHOBIT2014.

On the “including the bis” team, the UK’s Minister for Women and Equality Jenny Willott MP tweeted yesterday: “Tomorrow = 10th International Day Against , & – remember all victims of

Jenny Willott MP tweets for IDAHOBITThe UK’s largest lesbian, gay & bisexual health charity, LGF, is using the inclusive tags and language, as is LGBT community groups umbrella organisation the LGBT Consortium.

London groups PACE Health and Stonewall Housing are also in the bi-positive camp, as are Liverpool Football Club’s LGBT supporters network, the Co-Op, and trades union Unison.

The UK’s best-funded LGB campaigning organisation Stonewall are resolutely ignoring both the B and calls for them to be bi-inclusive, while finding themselves at the centre of their own social media storm over comments made by interim Stonewall boss Ruth Hunt this week.

In the real world it’s a bit more complex to judge, though the Australian film festival in New South Wales that declared itself to be an LGBT event for “lesbians, gay men and trans people” probably positioned itself pretty clearly.  When challenged their defence was that biphobia is just a subset of homophobia – which was a common understanding of the issue about twenty years ago but most of us have moved on since then.

Some IDAHOBIT events specifically include bi representation. For example in Brighton the local LGBT Community Safety Forum will be hosting the city’s main IDAHOBIT event from 6.30pm at New Steine Gardens with a representative of Brighton BothWays among the speakers, while in Manchester from 5.30pm at Sackville Gardens a vigil organised by the Lesbian & Gay Foundation includes a speaker from BiPhoria.

We’d love to hear of more. Tell us!

#EndTheBiBan passes 10,000 signatures

End The Bi Ban supporters at Manchester Pride

End The Bi Ban supporters at Manchester PrideMore than ten thousand people have now signed a petition challenging Google’s decision to block ‘bisexual’ from its predictive search.

When users type words like ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ into the Google search page, it suggests what they might be looking for – gay dating, gay pride, gay marriage, gay support… but for ‘bisexual’, it offers no suggestions.

That makes it that bit harder for bis seeking advice and support to find what they’re looking for online – and to find out about groups like Manchester BiPhoria, Bisexual Underground or Brighton BothWays, events like BiCon and BiFest or publications like Bi Community News and the Bisexuality Report.

And it signals that ‘bisexual’ is a bad word – Google’s blocking settings are supposed to be there to prevent people accidentally seeing offensive or disturbing content.

The campaign has a Facebook page and Twitter account to help raise its profile.

You can add your name to the petition calling on Google to stop its predictive search blocking ‘bisexual’ here.

IDAHO or IDAHOBIT?

#IDAHOBIT2014 imageIn just over a week it will be the tenth ‘IDAHO’, or International Day Against Homophobia.

First marked on May 17, 2005, the day seeks to raise awareness of prejudice, discrimination and violence experienced by LGBT people, both in wider society and amongst policymakers.

May 17th was chosen as it is the date the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, in 1990.

In 2009 the date ‘rebranded’ from IDAHO to IDAHOT to explicitly include transphobia rather than claim it as implied within the homophobia of the original name.  In the years since pressure has grown to include biphobia explicitly in the same way, and refer to the date as IDAHOBIT.

As you’d imagine, this has created some disjoint in online discussion between the different names in use.

Bi and bi-positive groups in the UK are proposing to tweet using the tag #IDAHOBIT2014 this year: this includes not just the obvious suspects like Bi Community News and BiPhoria but organisations like the LGBT Consortium and Lesbian & Gay Foundation.

IDAHO, IDAHOT or IDAHOBIT: what do you think?

Unison sets annual bi date

Trade union Unison has set the date for its next bisexual members’ networking meeting – 18 July, in London.

The meeting is open to all bi Unison members. It’s free to take part, with lunch provided. Travel costs incurred are met nationally.

The meeting runs from 10.30am to 1pm.

You can find out more here.

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