23 September is the day us Bisexual folks celebrate the history of bisexual people celebrate our history and our community, and raise awareness of our experience of living with a sexual orientation that can mean we artificially get read as straight or gay depending on who we are partnered with, if we are partnered at all.
This year I have been thinking about members of our Bi+ community who are more hidden than others. Within the LGBT+ community, A report from the Office for National Statistics in 2019 identified that among the LGBT+ community, men were approximately twice as likely to say they were gay than bisexual. Whereas women where somewhat more likely to say they were bisexual than lesbian. My experience of Bi+ spaces has borne this out, and I have encountered men online in social networking Bi+ spaces expressing that they felt less valued and less welcome, and also that masculinity itself was less valued. This inspired me to go on a bit of a learning journey to find out more about the experiences of Bi men and their particular history of invisibility and exclusion. I found this YouTube video particularly thought provoking (apologies for the provocative title) Why We Hate Bi Men - YouTube and I have been immersing myself in the “Two Bi Guys” podcast which is available on Spotify, Apple, UK player etc.
Not all masculine-appearing people are men of course, and people’s gender presentation has a nuanced effect on how they experience Bisexuality and on how they are received by the world. We had planned to host an informative panel event on Bi+ Masculinities for the entire LGBT+ civil servant community earlier this week, but we postponed this event due to period of national mourning, and have just rescheduled it to Monday 10 October at 6pm. Rearranging the event also gives us opportunity to add more diversity to the panel, we would have room for one or two more speakers. I’d be particularly interested in featuring your story if you are a trans bi+ man, or if you are a butch/masc presenting cis bi+ woman, or if your experience of ethnicity intersects with your experience of bi+ masculinity – if you’d be willing to speak on a very friendly panel for 5 minutes or so on 10 October, and then take part in a discussion in a safe space, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com in the next week.
Finally, I am planning to run a session for Bi+ folks at the forthcoming Civil Service LGBT+ Conference in London on 6 October. This will focus on visibility and the benefit of out role models at work in helping people become more confident, authentic and thus perform at their best. At time of writing (22 Sep) there has been industrial action advertised on the railways on 5 October, meaning I might have some difficulty travelling; I’ll be at the mercy of the rail companies’ contingency plans as I live a long way from London. All being well I do hope to see some of you there; living in Carlisle means opportunities to mix with my fellow Bi+ civil servants in person are thin on the ground and I am really looking forward to it. If the train gods are not smiling on me, we will be offering a virtual conference at a later date and I will run the session then.
Happy Bi Visibility Day!