Postcards from Bi visibility Week 2020!

Bisexual Visibility day/week/month/lifetime!

Title reads: Bi Visibility Day, a comic by @soovertherainbow. Emperor Robot says, “This comic is as subtle as a brick! And it’S interrupting my Firefly marathon.

Futuristic robot states, “This new Robot LGBT+ group just got funded. Isn’t that great!”
Another robot at ground level wears a sash with the words, “Bi Pride” on it. They respond, “They don’t have anything specific for bisexual Robots.”

Futuristic robot says, “What about this LGBT+ group for Black humans? The Emperor’s girlfriend will love that.”
Robot at ground level replies, “No she won’t. They don’t have anything specific for bisexuals.”

Futuristic robot asks, “Why are you being so difficult?”
Robot at ground level replies, “Why are you being a wanker? Answer that, you biphobic tosser.”

Futuristic robot starts to say, “You’ll lose an ally if you don’t argh!, but is unable to finish speaking, as the robot on the ground extends its arm, striking the floating futuristic robot.
The robot on the ground says, “Bisexuals may not get much funding, but we know how to spend it well.” An arrow points to the side of the robot’s arm stating, “Extendo-arm. Only £50!”

Bisexuals get a minuscule amount of funding because of Biphobia. 
LGBT+ organisations rarely provide anything specific for bisexuals because of Biphobia.
The unique experiences of bisexuals are usually incorporated into LGBT+ reports and stats, but never separated by individual sexual orientation because of Biphobia.
Black and POC charities for LGBT+ are terrible at welcoming bisexuals, providing resources for bisexuals and even saying the word bisexual. And why? Because of biphobia.
We are the B in LGBT+ but are rarely represented by Queer organisations. We regularly receive violence and abuse at Pride events from Lesbian and Gay folks. And if we live with other oppressions, our lives can be unbearable. Because of Biphobia.
Queer Hate doesn’t only come from Straight people. Hell, they don’t have to lift a finger, because so many Lesbian and Gay folks do the work for them. 

So if you want to shine a light on bisexual visibility, then shed some of that light on how we face biphobia inside the so called LGBT+ communities as well.

Bisexual Merchandise!

To buy any of the t-shirts, follow this link to the Rainbow and Co or the linktree on Vaneet’s page

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Bi Activists Vaneet Mehta, Bi Artist and designer Chris Morris and Rainbow and Co have brought the world a colourful line of bisexual merchandise.  The launch of these items were covered by Gay Times magazine. The t-shirts go from a XX Small up to a 5XL, which is great.

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The line includes t-shirts cantering Bisexual men, Bisexual women and Bisexual nonbinary folks.  There are items in both the hashtag version or as a graphic t-shirt.  This is truly a first in my experience.

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Vaneet Mehta created the hashtag: #BisexualMenExist which brings attention to an often overlooked portion of the LGBT+ community. Bi and Pan men, whether cisgender or transgender, are often demonised – by being blamed for spreading sexually transmitted diseases to their straight partners, by living on the “Down Low” or by denying that they are ‘really gay’ but in hiding.  All of these toxic messages only add to the biphobia that bisexual/pansexual men face inside the LGBT+ community and outside in the heterosexual world.  These t-shirts are a clear message that Bisexual men are here and queer – get used to it!

To buy any of the t-shirts, follow this link to the Rainbow and Co or the linktree on Vaneet’s page

 

Workshop: Care Life Drawing (online) 

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On 29th August 2020, this life drawing workshop is a collaboration between the Bis of Colour and Criposium, and it is an offering to all disabled womxn, trans and queer BIPOC (only). 

We offer this space as a form of collective care. It is a safe space for disabled people of colour to explore their sexuality and sensuality. Through touch, feeling and visual gaze, the workshop will provide a means to heal and cope with ongoing global issues affecting our daily lives. We know that disabled people are either ignored and attacked during periods of pandemics. Therefore, we bring this session as a means to echo Audre Lorde’s words, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Our understanding of disability includes those who are neurodiverse, survivors of trauma, suffer from mental health illness and those who self-define as disabled (no medical diagnosis required). We will hold a social after the workshop, so join us to foster a community of care and to forge  friendships. 

Workshop rules

As this is a safe space, please be mindful of toxic -isms, including: queerphobia (inclusive of transphobia & biphobia), anti-Blackness, ableism, classism and any other forms of oppressive and derogatory behaviour (be it explicit or microaggressive).

Please respect confidentiality of all participants. There will be no recording or photography of the session. You are welcomed to take notes. 

We welcome all people with different drawing abilities, our priority is to foster a community of crip love and care. Our understanding of art is non-normative.

Please feel free to come as you are, dress up (kink, make up, non-culturally appropriative ethnic wear) or be nude.

Bring a pen, crayon, paper, anything you would like to draw on. 

Accessibility

We are unable to provide BSL interpretation however there will be live Zoom captioning. We will also post summaries on the Zoom chat. 

When you log in, please make sure that you are muted, and that your background is accommodating to those with visual sensitivities. 

We have scheduled breaks, but feel free to tune in and out at your comfort. 

This event is disabled-led, if you have any queries or concerns please email us criposium@gmail.com 

Click here to register for the event 

Please note that: No person interested in attending will be turned away due to lack of funds – just email us criposium@gmail.com. We welcome solidarity in the form of financial donations that can be made to the Bis of Colour via Paypal. For donations via bank transfers, you can drop us an email bis.of.colour@gmail.com, with the title ‘Care Drawing’. 

BiCon lets us down again. Part 2

 

Image of a member of the Philippine Bisexual Group BiSides

BiCon Racism Part 2:

Introduction by Jacq
Since posting our previous entry, one of the authors, and Bi’s of Colour as a whole have received threats. If this is what happens when we critique a white bisexual institution, and speak openly about our experiences, then white bisexual people haven’t learned a thing.

By Nila K

One last thing about this latest bout of violent BiCon racism.

I can fight it. we all can. if you didn’t break us in ten years, and by God you tried, then you’re not gonna break us now. ANd that includes those of you who get it now.

Do you think that the ignorance of those we thought were community was less devastating than the outright hate? You’re wrong.  Dr King wrote about this in 1963.

thing is, RIGHT NOW THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE LAST THING ANY OF US NEED.

We’re finding our places in the Uprising. We’re navigating COVID and extra police powers. We’re dealing with Toryhell. whatever the latest posh yt ‘feminist’ transphobia is . The DWP. The Home Office. etc. etc.

D’ya not think we’ve got enough to get on with?

and yet, you think now is the ideal time to push us through this tedious racist violent bullshit again.

You’re gonna realise one day, how patient we all were.

But probably only after I stop being patient. And tell it like it is. And set you all on fire. I’m holding my Firey Mother back right now. I’m not gonna do it for long.

And if this sounds like a threat? It should.

Taking a lot of inspiration from Brother Malcolm right now. As I have since I was 14.

“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”

and, always from Kwame Toure

” he only made one fallacious assumption: In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent has to have a conscience.”

We gave you a decade to find your conscience. We’re done waiting.

BiCon lets down People Of Colour. Again…

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Collaborative Post:

we have had to remove details of one of the authors because they have recieved abusive emails. We stand by all our writers/our critical Bis of Colour family.  If you want to support J, a marginal activist, in their work, you can make donations to the bis of colour PayPal. Please mark your donation ‘for J’ so we know to pass it on,

 

First section by J who says

BiCon is paying bi people of colour to speak at this year’s virtual BiCon.

I don’t recommend anybody work with them – they’ve fucked bi people of colour over in systemic racist ways every year since I’ve known the event (that’s a full fucking decade now). They’ve even managed to fauxpology their statement about fucking up: referring to bi people of colour as “that community” rather than recognising bi people of colour as part of the bi community, and phrasing what has happened previously as the event “not felt welcoming” is just about as useful a statement as “I’m sorry you felt that way” – their actions have not been welcoming, its not about hurting individual feelings.
They invited the Home Office agents to have stands at their events, cops in uniform were allowed to attend sessions, one of last year’s organisers went on an antisemitic screed before the event that (despite me making a formal complaint about it) was never handled despite promises from other organisers, and they’ve consistently not handled huge numbers of racist incidents between attendees, and they still allow white people to run sessions that are entirely culturally appropriative.

But I’m not the boss of any of you – if you want to work with them and you’re a person of colour, they’ll pay you. Just know that they’re doing it so they can prove their liberal wokeness, their diversity and that bi people of colour have forgiven them for (at least) the last ten years of racism. They will use you, but if you need to work and they’re an option you can work with then go into it with your eyes open.

“Funding for speakers
We are aware that BiCon has not always felt welcoming to Bisexuals of Colour and would like to take a step towards making things better for the future. We have managed to secure some funding to pay for speakers from that community who would be willing to contribute to the programme. Please contact Sessions20@bicon.org.uk if this would be of interest to you. We understand that many Bisexuals of Colour will not be on our mailing list so if you know anyone who might be interested please let them know.”

 some context from Nila K

 

Nila K:

1. infopoint: it’s now TEN YEARS since J and I made loads of critiques, complaints and were assured ‘this is a priority now’. We tried every ‘reasonable’ route and were ignored, shut down, harassed, and the level of emotional/intellectual violence was off the fucking chain.

Don’t tell us to be fucking ‘patient’.

*huge eyeroll*

2. the fact that they will only express it as ‘bicon has felt unwelcoming to bi BIPOC’ = an indicator of what anyone doing this work is in for.

It needs to say ‘bicon has been structrually racist and still is’.

They’re not even ready to have *that* conversation.

3. . I first went 17 years ago. Any ‘progress’ in that time has been forced by the blood, sweat and tears of BIPoC Bi’s.

 

 

And from Jacq:

“BiCon used to mean a lot to me.  For one weekend a year I felt like I wasn’t a minority in a minority. But the racism that kept on happening quickly wore down anything positive I felt.  In the end it wasn’t even the racism that made me decide to never attend BiCon again. One of organisers in 2016 made nonbinary ‘jokes’ as part of the night’s entertainment.  Several people complained, but he was still allowed to run the entertainment on the following night, when he proceeded to make child abuse ‘jokes’.  The number of survivors of childhood abuse at BiCon is sufficient enough to have a Survivors meeting most years. That one of the organisers thought it was a good idea to do this was mind boggling and deeply upsetting to me and many others who ended up in tears.  The next year this same person was stated to be on the organising committee.  There had been little in the way of apology or action taken to stop this person returning.  All my faith in BiCon was gone for good a that stage.”

 

Whose Black Lives Matter?

Reposted from my personal blog 

 

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I was born in 1969, just as the UK switched from Imperial to the Metric system.  One half of my old family were stuck with inches, yards and shillings.  The other half of my family used millimetres and kilograms.  I was stuck exactly in the middle. I learned how to be familiar with both, but I was never really comfortable.

This kind of straddling two worlds reflected itself in other ways.  The place I was born had a huge Black Caribbean population, but I still felt like a minority because the white voices were very loud and pretty racist. I was not supposed to mix with white kids.  I was not supposed to make friends with them.  I seemed to have missed that memo however, and so I was called “Coconut” from the time I was five all the way until I was in my forties.  I was never considered a “proper” Black person.

Feeling unwelcome in either world was something encouraged by my violent and abusive family – it seems a common thing that many survivors experience.  Having no trusted friends meant having no source of help or support.  I was totally dependent on the people who made my life a misery until I ran away from Tottenham.

I realised I was bisexual after a memorable episode of Star Trek the Next Generation.  As I took in the bridge crew of the Enterprise, I knew I was sexually attracted to almost all of them – men, women, alien and android.  My initial joy was short lived though. Bisexual was an orientation that was unwanted by everyone: from my straight white boyfriend to the rest of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Gay and Gay) communities.  Black and fat was unwanted by most of the white bisexual community too. It was almost five years before I met a Black bisexual woman on holiday.  I tried to straddle two worlds once again, however I was considered too straight by Black gay men to even hold a conversation with, let alone be friends.  I was downright shunned by Black lesbians, presumably for ‘sleeping with the enemy’ twice over.  White queer folks were openly racist.  Once again I belonged nowhere.

I became an activist a few years after coming out.  I fought against racism in the LGBT communities.  I joined DIY groups that wanted fat liberation.  I put a word to my romantic feelings: Polyamorous.  I became vegan. I felt like a powerhouse!  And then the bricks started to crumble away.  Racism and Fatphobia in veganism was massive – and still is to this day.  Fat liberation was a complete blizzard when I joined, and remains so in the UK.  I was treated as if Black people were not really human in the first place, unless it involved sex.  A high percentage of the white bisexuals and polyamorous people who were accepting of me, became distant and cold outside of the bedroom*.  There was no place I could feel at home.

Now in 2020 I see everyone on this planet stating Black Lives Matter.  Countless numbers of Black Trans women and Black sex workers are brutalised and murdered around the world every day. The perpetrators sometimes include Black men.  Nobody goes on marches for them, or  acknowledges that they were even part of the Black race.  Black women are mistreated and murdered, by racist violence, the police, and often times by Black men they know.  Very few people say their name.  Even less want to look at the reality of living in a body that is supposed to shut up and put up with everyone else’s pain.  Black Lives Matter, but as a fat, bisexual, nonbinary, disabled Black person, I have rarely felt like my life held any worth.  I have lived with trauma, abuse, violence and my own self-hate for most of my life.  I have been so desperate that I self harmed as a way to cope being an abuse survivor with several mental health illnesses.  My first suicide attempt was when I was eight years old.  Everyone says Black Lives Matter, but the reality is unless you’re a cisgender straight man living in America, your Black life doesn’t mean that much at all.

I do not feel hopeful for the future.  I have seen the way older people without a family are left to rot by systems that are supposed to care.  When I was last in a mental health hospital, the fact that I had no family meant I was destined to stay there for good, despite being assaulted twice by other patients in just eight days.  It was my white friend with a posh accent, who called the secure ward and convinced them to let me out and into their care.  As grateful as I am to my friend, it saddens me to know the hospital medics would rather listen to a white middle-class person they had never met, than listen to my pleas to be discharged before I was assaulted again.  Medical racism, biphobia and fatphobia is literally life threatening for me.

Does my Black life matter to you? If you are white or a non-black person of colour, are you only concerned with Black folks murdered in the U.S, while ignoring those Black people being killed the next street over from you?  If you are Black, do you only care about other Black folks who look like you?  Do you ignore the most vulnerable Black lives because they are also queer, old, fat, disabled, homeless, or a sex worker?  Do you pick and choose which Black lives matter to you?

There are some worlds I can straddle, but many more I cannot when I am shoved between the cracks.  If the only way my Black life matters is to keep my sexuality a secret, ignore my gender presentation, and pretend I’m just like you, then my life never mattered to you in the first place.

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Black Bisexual Lives Matter

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Guest post.

 

I am beyond fucking tired of seeing

“black gay, lesbian, trans lives matter”

“homophobia and transphobia must end” etc

Except… Black Bi people exist and Black bi ppl have some of the worst stats (in UK and US) re life expectancy, dv, homelessness, etc. Have a look at the Bi’s of Colour report for examples of this.

I’ve seen 5 examples this week. I’m close to losing it with a lot of ppl.

And this goes for things that have the rainbow and trans flags on, but no bi flag.

I mean we’ve only been using it for 20 fucking years.

#BlackBILivesMatter

Donate to Bi’s of Colour!

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Paypal Link: paypal.me/bisofcolour

We at Bi’s of Colour are the only group of its kind in the world (please let me know if there are others!).  We have been going since 2010, and were formed to support those in bisexual+ community who are Black and People of Colour.  There is a MASSIVE racism problem in the UK queer communities, and the Bisexual communities are no exception.  Bisexuals of Colour face racism, Islamaphobia, and classism within the Bi+ community.  We also face all of the above, plus biphobia from LGBT+ communities, charities, and individuals.  Straight spaces are no better either, with queer phobia, sexual violence & hypersexualisation of bi+ people of colour.  To put it bluntly, we face a lot of hate and violence.

Donating  to Bi’s of Colour means we can have a presence at Pride events across the U.K.  We can give our much-needed voices to government studies and research.  We can provide resources and practical support to bisexuals who face multiple marginalisations.  Rejection, Alienation, Isolation and the trauma living in a Black bisexual body takes its toll on our mental and physical health.  Donate now, and help us to help others who need it.

Donate now! 

Young Bisexual People & Self Injury Study

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Website: SIBL research study http://man.ac.uk/9YjBjj

 

The SIBL research study is looking to examine which psychological factors or processes are associated with non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in young bisexual people. The reason we are focussing on young people is because adolescence/young adulthood is a time when this behaviour has been found to particularly emerge.
 
We are looking for people aged 16-25, who identify as bisexual (or attracted to more than one gender), and who have had NSSI thoughts/urges/behaviour in the previous 6 months. We will ask participants to fill out short online surveys once a week for 6 weeks. These surveys take around 10-15 minutes to complete. For every survey a participant does, they have the choice to be entered into a prize draw for that week. There are 6 prize draws, each with a £50 Amazon voucher (total prizes: £300). Participants don’t have to be entered into these draws if they don’t want to. 
 
We also invite people who take part in the online study to complete a 30-40 minute interview with a researcher about their experiences of self-injury, and of the COVID19 crisis and subsequent lockdown. This interview take place over the phone/Skype/Zoom and we will reimburse anyone who takes part in this with a £10 Amazon voucher for their time.
 
If you are interested in finding out more information, then the link to our consent-to-contact form is here: http://man.ac.uk/9YjBjj
 
Please kindly help us to promote this study by retweeting/sharing our information with your networks 🙂