Getting together over here…

BCN 118 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 118, April 2013

A couple of times a year bisexuals (and bi-friendly sorts) from across the UK get together to talk about things we are doing, or want to see happen, to raise bi visibility and build a sense of community.  These ‘activist weekends’ are open to activists, organisers, volunteers – anyone wanting to get involved in that work – whether you’re just beginning to wonder what you could do, or if you’ve been busy flying the bi flag for years.

As BCN goes to press the Spring 2013 weekend is about to happen in Leicester – indeed by the time you read this it will have already come and gone, but I don’t know what will go on there yet!  But it reminded me that there had not year been a report on the last gathering, held in Edinburgh in November, so here’s a quick flavour of some of the issues covered.

The future of national bi conference BiCon was a big theme – both in the form of an update from the 2013 team about how organising that is going, and a wider debate about how BiCons are run and ways that the volunteers who put them together can be supported. An organisation, BiCon Continuity Ltd, has been formed which is helping to pass good practice on from one year to the next, and will also be taking on specific narrow areas of BiCon administration.

The meeting was prior to the BDSM Bisexuals weekend in Birmingham, and heard about the plans for that event as well.  The activism weekends give a good space for people who are planning to run bi projects to ‘sound out’ their plans and get feedback.

All this talk of event management led neatly to a discussion around social media.  It can be hard for people volunteering to run projects to separate themselves from the projects – whether accidentally tweeting from the wrong account or finding that queries come to your personal account.  In the same way that your opinion on a subject and your employer’s opinion may be at odds, it can be hard to be both open to public contact and make sure that it doesn’t overwhelm you.

Day two of the weekend had discussion of issues facing bisexual people in the workplace.  A couple of years ago Stonewall published a report highlighting that bi workers are less comfortable being out at work than gay or lesbian workers – and whether a firm has an LGBT staff network in place doesn’t seem to make a difference to how bi staff feel, despite having a clear impact for gay and lesbian workers.  There was also discussion of fundraising and key projects that the bi community might benefit from.

Find out more online: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uk-bi-activism/ is the website of an email list, including minutes of past meetings.