(UK only) Could you take part in some research?

(UK only) Could you take part in some research?

Taking part in a research study is a simple and easy piece of activism to do. This one involves answering questions on your thoughts and experiences of the workplace. It takes around 45 minutes and it’s completely anonymous. You can also share the link to this page to help the researchers reach even more bi … Continue reading (UK only) Could you take part in some research?
(In)Accessibility & Covid-19

(In)Accessibility & Covid-19

TL;DR – we must make sure our society is as accessible as possible, and the bi+ community must keep organising online socials and events post-lockdown. For many different reasons, the wider world was out of reach to a lot of people before the lockdown. Most buildings and public transport are not accessible. A disability or … Continue reading (In)Accessibility & Covid-19
Hannah Bee’s Bisexual Blogs Ranked on  Top 50 Bisexual Website List

Hannah Bee’s Bisexual Blogs Ranked on Top 50 Bisexual Website List

In the middle of a long and busy work day today I checked my personal emails during lunch and found a message which made me smile. It was from a website called Feedspot, who’d contacted me because they’d made a list of the top 50 blogs & websites for the bisexual community and this site … Continue reading Hannah Bee’s Bisexual Blogs Ranked on Top 50 Bisexual Website List
Structural issues with BiCon. Or why I’m not returning unless I…

Structural issues with BiCon. Or why I’m not returning unless I…

Structural issues with BiCon. Or why I’m not returning unless I see some changes.

BiCon is run by volunteers in the bisexual community.  Every year the organisers change.  If an organiser screws up, often nothing is done, cos they won’t be there next year (usually).  Last year an organiser made paedophile jokes during the cabaret, mocked non-binary people & was generally inappropriate. Very little was done, even though lots of people complained & were in tears (including me) at the Paedophile thing.  There’s nothing to guarantee the same won’t happen this year or the next, because they’re never held accountable.  The same guy who caused the upset last year (breaking several BiCon Code of Conduct rules in the process) wasn’t thrown out of the Con. If an attendee had done that, they’d be told to leave immediately.  It’s been almost a year since that incident, but I haven’t heard or seen anything on BiCon website apologising about it, or even mentioning it.

When I’ve brought up problems in the past, I’ve often been told “We’re just volunteers!  We don’t get paid to do this!”  This is a silencing tactic, which minimises the power that these volunteers have.  It’s like saying, “Shut up and be grateful!”

Another issue is the constant lack of engagement with bisexuals of colour.  The highest attendance (20+) we had was the year a donor gave BiCon funding to subsidise free places for People of Colour, disabled and working class.  The next year there was nothing, and the attendance went down to about 5 bi’s of colour.  Nobody on organising teams wants to look at the fact that bi’s of colour are more likely to be unemployed or on low wages - due to racism.  If we can’t get subsides places, we simply can’t go.  I’ve been saying this since 2008, and nobody seems to listen.  At the same time, I keep getting asked how BiCon can become more accessible and diverse.  This just feels like the minimum amount of lip service.

I’ve been a bisexual activist for years.  BiCon has been the highlight of each of those years.  BiCon needs to look at the structure of organising the event.  BiCon Continuity could possibly include this in their remit too.  Because until things change, and I feel safer attending, I’m not going back.

OctoCon – The Irish Sci-Fi convention (or activism never has a…

OctoCon – The Irish Sci-Fi convention (or activism never has a…

OctoCon - The Irish Sci-Fi convention (or activism never has a day off)

In last week’s episode of Jacq goes to a Sci-Fi convention…

I’ve been to 3 conventions prior to OctoCon.  Dragon Con was awful. Nine Worlds was pretty bad.  EasterCon (Dysprosium) was good.  I was completely ignored at DragonCon - as in I’d talk to someone & they’d look at me with a blank stare.  A panelist called me a Troll at Nine Worlds when I spoke up about cultural appropration.  So far, so bad.

Dysprosium had more than its fair share of racist attendees - from the man proudly wearing a Gollywog badge, to an attendee demanding I explain to him & his mates how to end racism.  The good thing about Dysprosium was the organisers were brilliant when I spoke to them about these problems.  They got on with sorting out these issues quickly, & reassured me that I was being listened to.  It is something I really appreciated.  I shouldn’t have to face these kind of problems at any event, but they kept on happening.  I didn’t have very high hopes for OctoCon.  But in the end, it was fantastic!

I took part in 5 panels, including 4 that were decidely LGBT+ and sex positive.  Where most conventions will have a single diversity panel (or in the case of Nine     Worlds, a track), OctoCon had diversity woven into every single session.  I didn’t only hear about or from People of Colour in the Race & Sci-Fi type sessions, but in the ones on Timetravel, in Genderqueerness and inErotica in fiction too.  This is no small thing for me; having been used to being shoved in a ‘ghetto’ of ethnicity at events.  The fact that there weren’t even that many People of Colour in attendance didn’t alter the fact that I felt listened to at OctoCon.  I felt respected.  I had loads of fun and learned new things about the worlds of gaming, science fiction and fantasy.  And with the added bonus of a lot of seriously HOT folks in attendance, what more could I ask for?

Go to OctoCon.  http://2015.octocon.com  You know it makes sense.

And support the bid for Dublin 2019 too! http://dublin2019.com 

Better than a Quinn Martin production.

Trigger Warning: Rape, Suicide, AbuseI’ve had depression for…

Trigger Warning: Rape, Suicide, AbuseI’ve had depression for…

Trigger Warning: Rape, Suicide, Abuse

I’ve had depression for most of my life.  I have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and Post Traumatic Distress Syndrome.  But chronic anxiety was something new to me; until 2014, I’d never experienced it.  Anxiety for me wasn’t simply feeling nervous or on edge.  Anxiety felt like a blazing fire behind me, and barrels of oil around me, just waiting to explode.  Anxiety makes me want to run as fast as I can.  It makes me grind my teeth and clench my fists.

I’m invited to give a talk for a panel on LGBT hate crime at a small London police station.  I’m surrounded by white police officers, most of whom are wearing body armour.  Multiple radios crackle on the table as I clear my throat.  I speak about racism of the police, of how biphobia is different to homophobia.  There is a strange silence around me.  I feel very nervous, but once I start talking I don’t stop until all I’ve wanted to say is done.  The police officers are positive – they ask a lot of questions that show how little they now about biphobia.  I’m happy to answer them with a smile.

I was raped in 2014.  It was not a first for me.  I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, which carried on into adulthood and only ended when I ran away aged 22.  Shortly after the assault, I got sick.  I had severe abdominal pains that landed me in hospital twice.  The first of these admissions into Casualty happened on the first day of my new job.  I lost my job whilst in hospital.  I also had a breakdown.  Everything seemed to be happening at once.  Chronic anxiety shoved its way into my life, and it hasn’t left.

I lead a workshop for the British Psychological Society on mental health and LGBT people.  I print out webpages from a few organisations who claim they can help.  Most of these pages only ever use the word Gay.  Any illustrations are of white people.  Bisexuals are never mentioned.  People of colour are never mentioned.  Intersections of oppression are ignored.  I ask the group to look at the sheets and tell the others what they want to see changed; how these organisations could do better.  The participants have lots of ideas.  I’m happy to see their enthusiasm.  As soon as the workshop ends, my stomach bunches into painful knots.  I want to hide in a corner.  I do exactly that until someone I know spots me.

I blame myself some days for being raped.  I feel like I should have known what to do.  I should have been able to stop it.  I should have pushed them away.  I shouldn’t have been frozen in place.  I shouldn’t have waited until they left and I knew I was safe before I started crying.  Anxiety makes it difficult to breathe when I think that way.  Anxiety makes me want to step in front of a bus.  Somehow I keep on living.

Twitter and Tumblr have been lifelines for me; when I was in hospital, it kept me in touch with people I know who live thousands of miles away.  Tumblr in particular lets me see images of people similar to me, all of whom seem to live in the U.S.  Twitter is great, but it is also chock full of mean people who slip into my mentions with racist, biphobic and sexist trash.  My block hand is strong.  But my anxiety is stronger.  I dread clicking on the little bird symbol most days.  Sometimes I want to smash my computer into pieces.  The only thing stopping me is knowing I wouldn’t be able to watch Steven Universe otherwise.

I was a survivor before I started writing this.  I’m a survivor when I speak in front of hundreds of people.  Reading my smutty stories out loud in the past has prepared me well for public speaking.  But when I’m alone, the anxiety barges in to the front of my mind.  When I’m in crowds, I want to disappear into the shadows.  Bisexual activism makes me feel like a confident, competent human.  It also fills me with despair when I see how aggressive it makes (mostly lesbian and gay) people.  I stand on the edge of a knife, trying to balance the positive things my activism can do, with the hatred it exposes me to.  I feel anxiety pushing me on to the blade.

I’m invited to speak at Totnes Pride in Devon.  I accept without hesitation.