Suffering does not build character

This 2017 article in Gal-Dem on self-care, was mostly a positive read, but something really jarred me: the line that read, “The oppression that we face builds character.”


The oppression we face as bisexual people of colour, builds the likelihood of mental distress, anxiety, alienation and depression.  It is no wonder that bisexuals of all ethnicities are more likely to be suicidal, self-harm and/or abuse alcohol, cigarettes and drugs more than either straight or gay and lesbian people. (Source: The Bisexuality Report, Open University, 2012).  Add to that the racism bisexuals of colour face on top of all of this from white members of the LGBT+ and straight communities, and it’s not a recipe for building character at all (Source: Bi’s of Colour report, 2015)

The myth that suffering builds resilience is common, especially when aimed at women and femmes of colour.  Sure we have to go through many things that others don’t, but it wears us down in a way that’s terrible and often invisible.  What is worse, we are expected to see it as part of our daily lives.  The world is a cruel place for bisexuals of colour.  Don’t make it harder by putting the expectation of suffering on our shoulders as well.

Racism in intimate relationships certificate

2A7836BA-8D1F-4608-83E2-061634649A93Text reads: This is to certify you finally realised that you can’t fuck your way out of racism.

“But I can’t be racist, I have a black lover!”
“I’m not racist, I adore black & brown bodies – they’re so exotic!”
“I’m not racist, I had kids with a black man!”

Racism within intimate relationships can definitely happen. Examples include fetishising people of colour, only doing sex acts with them that you would never do with a white person, or leaving all your positivity in the bedroom. Many bigots, fascists and white supremacy folk seem quite happy to be with people of colour for sex, solely because we are often seen as ‘forbidden’ or ‘animal-like’ if we’re black. If we’re Asian, we’re seen as submissive and docile. White folks can make a start by unlearning all they’ve been told about people of colour, by supporting us, reading anti-racist blogs & books, and by not getting threatened and defensive when POC talk about their experiences. Ditch the #notallwhitepeople , listen and learn if you truly want to change for the better.


Reporter looking for bisexual folk to interview


Comment: Hi there,

I’m a reporter with Thomson Reuters Foundation and our LGBT+ news site Openly, covering LGBT+ issues. We’re making a film to mark the 50th anniversary since the Stonewall riots, featuring stories from around the world of the ongoing struggle for LGBT+ rights. So far we have stories from Honduras, Tanzania and Taiwan, and we’re considering adding another from the UK. We’re interested in potentially featuring a bisexual person who has a powerful personal story, whose struggles are indicative of the continued barriers for bi people in 21st century Britain but also the nuances and the positives too. If you know anyone who you think may fit that description and would consider having an initial chat with us, please do let me know.

Best wishes,


London BiFest 2019

London BiFest 2019 took place at the Kingston Quaker Centre on a sunny, cool Saturday.  The turnout was very good, with an excellent mix of ethnicities, genders and ages.  I was really glad that I didn’t know most of the Bi’s of Colour in attendance, as it showed there are much more of us than anyone would guess!


The centre was very accessible, with lots of refreshments, a lovely garden space, and gender-neutral toilets making it feel even more welcoming.


Katy, the organiser gave a short welcome speech, and then came the first session: Speed Friending.  This was much like speed dating, but nobody was expecting to meet a romantic partner!  In all seriousness, the fact that this session would be welcoming to those on the Asexual spectrum, made it a thoughtful addition.  Often non-bisexuals assume we are only ever interested in sex, so this session may seem like a small thing, but it meant a lot.  Plus I could always do with making more friends.

Katy H, organiser of London BiFest, and editor of Purple Prose

I spent some time enjoying the sunshine in the garden with my friend’s children.  I also enjoyed the spread of sandwiches that had been placed there too.

I returned inside for the second session I was interested in: Over 50’s bisexuals.  We had an interesting chat about what support we would like to see for older bisexuals.  Some talked about fears of being alone with nobody in their corner, and of having to go back in the closet when in a care home or hospital.  The staff from Opening Doors were really informative.


As well as sessions, there was a craft room, a quiet room, and lots of stalls from a variety of community organisations including Biscuit, who had a great range of badges, and Queer Muslims, who had the best sweets!  One of their volunteers told me that there was a new book about bisexuality in the Qur’an, as well as an ungendered translation of the Qur’an on their site, so I need to look that up!

London BiFest was a great place to network and meet folks from similar groups.  The organiser Katy H was also kind enough to give me a copy of the U.S version of Purple Prose, called Claiming the B in LGBT.

I had a lovely relaxing time at London BiFest.  It was a pressure-free event that made such a change to much of what’s available on the London Lesbian, Gay, Gay and Gay scene.  Just the fact that there was no alcohol present was a welcome addition for me.  Thanks so much to Katy H and all of those who made it a great event!20190413_131350