BCN: Britain's bimonthly bisexual magazine - giving voice to the bi community since 1995.
The latest issue of BCN is out now.
Stonewall: Have they finally caught up with the B word?
Bi Book Awards: More to read than ever!
By The Bi: Touring performance of bi voices hits Europe
Complicated? is a new report published today highlighting experiences of biphobia.
It explores the impact of biphobia and reflects how bisexual communities can – and sometimes cannot – help provide refuge from, or empowerment to challenge, anti-bi prejudice and discrimination.
Launched this morning in Edinburgh by LGBTI charity the Equality Network, it makes a series of recommendations for how services can be improved to better meet bi people’s needs. It’s based on more than 700 survey responses – making it one of the biggest pieces of bisexual-focused research to date.
The majority of survey respondents felt they needed to pass as gay or straight when accessing public services due to biphobic attitudes or past experiences. The NHS and LGBT services are those most frequently referred to – perhaps in part because they are services where people are most likely to both use often and feel they need to disclose their sexual orientation compared to experience of services like policing.
Speaking at the launch BCN editor Jen Yockney commented, “For twenty years now I’ve been characterising biphobia as having different ‘flavours’. There is biphobia that is analagous to homophobia, biphobia that while different is similar to heterophobia, our internalised biphobia as bi people from living in a world where we grow up absorbing biphobic values, but also there is biphobia that is institutional, that is about how organisations work.
“Complicated? sets out the challenge to organisations to change their work to be more inclusive of and engaging with bisexual people, through a plethora of individual stories.”
The report notes one of the factors in the lack of inclusion and support for people who find they need to challenge biphobia is the low level of organised bi community compared to what the past fifty years of gay and lesbian support and campaigning has built up across the country:
In many parts of the UK there are a lack of local bisexual groups and events because bisexual specific work receives very little funding or mainstream support. This was the main difficulty identified by the 85% of respondents who only feel â€śa littleâ€ť or â€śnot at allâ€ť part of a bisexual community.
The report sets out what it calls a “roadmap to bisexual inclusion” for service providers – whether mainstream or LGBT.
Why should your organisation prioritise understanding bisexual peopleâ€™s experiences of services?
- Bisexual people are highly unlikely to share theirÂ sexual orientation with services, most commonly because of fear of negative reactions.
- 66% feel that they have to pass as straight and 42% feel they need to pass as gay or lesbian when accessing services.
- 48% have experienced biphobic comments and 38% have experienced unwanted sexual comments about them being bisexual while accessing services.
- The highest amounts of biphobia experienced are within LGBT and NHS services.
- 61% have experienced multiple discrimination. 35% said that they are disabled.
A fresh petition on Change.Org challenges the new Conservative government on its asylum policy – and how its implementation discriminates against bisexual people fleeing persecution on the grounds of their sexual orientation.
It notes: “We the undersigned have heard of cases of bisexual men and women being denied asylum on the grounds of their sexuality, because the UK appears to assume either that they are lying about their sexuality, or that bisexuals need not fear homophobic persecution in their countries of origin.”
Asylum policy was changed under the last government with the recognition that bisexual, lesbian, and gay people do face a threat to life simply for who they are in some countries.
However the implementation on the front line seems to have shifted from proof that queer people are persecuted in a given country, to proof of sexual orientation for the individual. This particularly hits bisexual people, who may have had or be in mixed-gender relationships and find themselves declared heterosexual by the immigration service.
With the counting not yet over in the Republic of Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum it looks like a big win for equality.
TheÂ Minister for Equality AodhĂˇn Ă“ RĂordĂˇin tweeted this morning: “I’m calling it. Key boxes opened. It’s a yes. And a landslide across Dublin. And I’m so proud to be Irish today.”
Turnout is above 50% across the 3.2 million eligible voters. Â Some news sources are suggesting a 2-to-1 margin of victory, and bookies started paying out on “yes” bets by 11am – long before the final declaration.
The final result is expected this afternoon, but “no” campaign groupÂ Mothers and Fathers Matter has issued a statement conceding defeat, saying, “weÂ offer our congratulations to the YesÂ side on a hard won victory. This is their day, and they should enjoy it.”
Edited to add:
With over 60% turnout the vote went 1,201,607 for and 734,300 against. Only one counting area voted against same-sex marriage.
Research from the USA based on interviewing bisexual and gay teenagers in New York suggests bi and gay teens are more likely to get pregnant, or get a partner pregnant, than is the case amongst young heterosexuals.
The findings reinforce recent research from Canada.
The American Journal of Public Health report found that – of some 10,000 respondents – those who had had sex with both men and women were of the order of twice as likely to have had sex that led to pregnancy.
Conception rates were highest amongst those who did not identify as bi or gay but who might be described as ‘behaviourally bisexual’.
There are several possible explanations. Safer sex information based on a clear gay / straight sexual divide can play a part by failing to get messages around pregnancy to queer people.
Study author Lisa Lindley told Reuters, “What really accounted for most of the risk for the girls was sexual behavior. Basically the earlier they initiated intercourse and the more partners they had the more likely they were to become pregnant.”
So people who have active, varied sex lives and who aren’t being targeted by safer sex projects are more likely to get pregnant?Â You could knock me down with a feather.
On Friday the Republic of Ireland goes to the polls in a referendum on same-sex marriage.
After a long campaign, opinion polls suggest same-sex marriage will pass into law, though by a significantly narrower margin than early polls which suggested a 4-to-1 margin in favour. One in five voters say they are still yet to make up their mind on the question.
If the referendum passes it will leave Northern Ireland as an oddity, with same-sex marriage legal both south of the border and in the other states of the UK.
Twittering supporters of the equal marriage proposal can add a twibbon here.
This Saturday is Birmingham LGBT Pride and Brum Bis have a marching group on the parade.Â
To join them you need to meet the group around 10:45am in Victoria Square to sign the health & safety form. Route is the same as the past 2 years: through the main shopping areas and down to Hurst Street.
Wearing purple is encouraged (depending on the weather forecast, possibly try and pick up a purple brolly!)
Want to get out and meet some other bi people? There are lots of bi groups meeting around the country this week.
Monday from 6pm it’s Over 50s London Bi Group at AgeUK, Tavis House, Tavistock Square.
Tuesday in Manchester it’s the BiPhoria bi pub meet at the Waterhouse from 8pm: look for the cuddly lion. MeanwhileÂ Swansea bi group meet at Mozarts, Walter Road from 7.45pm.
Wednesday is the turn of Edinburgh Bi & Beyond at the LGBT Centre for Health & Wellbeing, 9 Howe St, from 7pm, while in Sheffield Bi+ meet at Coffee Revolution for “cake, cake, cake and cakes” from 3pm: look for the table with the cake… er, we mean the bi flag. And in Wolverhampton ThirdWay meet at 7pm at the new centre Network House, School Street, WV1 4LJ.
Saturday is Birmingham LGBT Pride where there’ll be a bi marching group, assemble 10.45am: details here.
Finally, Sunday afternoon in Birmingham Brum Bi Coffee meet from 1.30pm at Coffee Lounge, 10-11 Navigation St. Look for the cuddly lion to find the right people.
Almost all major EU institutions marked yesterdayâ€™s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT). The European Parliament, the European Commission and the European External Action Service all issued statements, and thanks to the official name change to include biphobia there is a growing trend to consciously refer to it.
The High Representative of the European Union, Frederica Mogherini, issued a written statement on behalf of the EU affirming the EUâ€™s commitment to refuse discrimination on any grounds.
â€śOn this International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the EU stands together with LGBTI people all around the world in the struggle to end discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. All human beings are equal in dignity and all are entitled to enjoy their rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
[…] the EU will continue to advocate measures to combat discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, and to actively promote their rights.â€ť
Commissioner JourovĂˇ issued a video message and a statement, affirming her commitment to the adoption of EU anti-discrimination legislation, including on the grounds of sexual orientation.
â€śWe are all born equal in dignity and rights. I am working in close cooperation with Member States to win their support on the Equal Treatment Directive, providing further protection from discrimination. It is my aim to secure its adoption as soon as possible.
[…] Only by eliminating discrimination, we can ensure that every individual is given the opportunity of full participation in our social and economic life. â€ś
The European Parliament also issued a statement, with statements by Vice-Presidents Dimitrios Papadimoulis and Ulrike Lunacek.
â€śDiscrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is illegal and is prohibited in the EU. The European Parliament together withÂ civil society has had a strong influence on this.â€ť
â€śThe fight for equality continues daily. The whole of society needs to take an active role in reducing prejudice as this is an aspect that affects everyone.â€ť