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.
I don’t represent all Bisexuals of Colour, but I wanted to be sure they all knew what was happening. I don’t want to put people off going to BiCon – I want BiCon to be welcoming to everyone so more people can attend.