Bringing Bi Europe Together

Ahead of the third Europe-wide conference on bisexuality, we caught up with EuroBiCon team member Hilde – who was also on the team for the first EBC back in 2001.

Its been a long time since EBC in Dublin – 13 years! – what prompted bringing EuroBiCon back?
EuroBiCon is back, thanks to our friends from Amsterdam Pride. They were very eager to win the EuroPride 2016 bid from Barcelona and to take this awesome multi-week LGBT+ festival to Amsterdam. Irene Hemelaar, the Director of LGBTQ+ content for Amsterdam Pride is aware of diversity issues and invited the Dutch Bisexual Network to suggest a bisexual programme, so to say to ‘put the B in LGBT*’.
When I heard Amsterdam had won, back in September 2013, I rang Erwin Heyl, who wrote the bisexual part in the bid. It’s a go, have you seen it, it’s a go! OMG – I was so emotional. I knew we would face a lot of work. But we decided to team up for better and for worse. So here we are and the EuroBiCon is really happening.

It’s quite soon now. Is there a final date when people need to book by, or can they just come along on the day and register then?
Bookings are still open. Maybe the EuroBiResearch Conference will announce some limitations at the end, because otherwise the rooms they’ve booked at the University will become too packed, but not EuroBiCon itself. You can just come along and buy your ticket. We have multiple days tickets, day tickets and tickets for the EuroBiCon Party.

Is it just for people from the EU?  (And if so, as the UK has just voted to leave are we still allowed in!?)
Brexit is not Bixit. EuroBiCon is still for everyone interested from every corner of the world. If you’re exploring your sexual and gender identity, want to feel at home in a mainly non-binary and gender diverse zone, this should be a safe space for you. For the future of bi activism in Europe we focused on representatives from European groups and other initiatives. It might be possible that if we succeed in obtaining subsidies from the European Union someday, for example for peer education and other training goals, there might be limitations for attendees. But for now: feel welcome everyone, Join our VisiBility!

dutch dont danceHow many people are you expecting?
We expect about 200 attendees. Hopefully even more. Many people can’t afford the travels, a place to stay and the fee for a conference. Lack of financial resources is the main reason of absence that I heard from bisexuals, LGBTQ+ activists and other interested people who’d just love to attend.

Is it mostly for activists who organise bi things in their own corner of Europe or for ‘ordinary’ bisexuals?
So activists are extraordinary? Sounds like extra terrestrial *laughs*. The programmes of both the EuroBiReCon and EuroBiCon will attract all kinds of people. The best selling ticket is the combination of both events. So the academics might have to adjust their language to people who are interested in research methods and results, but who are not used to attending such presentations. The workshops during EuroBiCon are very diverse. We have non-binary tantra, but also the brainstorm Bisexuality in Europe Vision 2020. We have To Vlog or Not To Vlog, but also discussions about the intersections between bisexuality and transgender.

What are some of the sessions or speakers you’re most looking forward to?  
I’m looking forward to so many sessions! The health one on bisexuality and addiction, the one on bisexual asylum seekers, the outcome of the workshop in which attendees make a positive affirmative video on bisexuality, the panel Putting the B in LGBT* with bisexuals from five different, European countries telling and showing their view on successful bi projects… So many of them look so sparkling promising! It’s impossible to attend them all. Choice stress ahead!

eu-art-400In who is coming and the subjects that will be addressed, is it mostly UK / Germany / Netherlands or more of a mix from across the continent?
This is a mix from across the continent. Workshop hosts are mainly Dutch, but their topics are without frontiers.

If anyone’s thinking that it would be great to bring EuroBiCon to their city or country what do they need to do?
Join or gather bi, pan and other people who love more than one gender, and start a cooperation. The people who join are at best when they know what they are doing, and are willing to learn. So please find people who are in the top of their powers in their expertise.
Before you start volunteering in such a big project, it would be wise to know why you are doing this. For with all the differences among the members of a core committee, you might get blown away by emotions of all kind, that happen in the heat of the moment during organising. Self knowledge about your own goal in this project is needed to get back on track after an emotional rollercoaster.

Thanks Hilde! Good luck, we’re looking forward to it…

Hilde Vossen is #StillBisexual. Co-founder and Coordinator of the European Bisexual Network for Activists (EuroBiNet). Co-producer of the first and the third European Bisexual Conference. Bi News Editor for the Dutch Bisexual Network (LNBi). Coordinator of the local LGBT + QIAP drink Queer aan Zee in The Hague. Loves to bring people together to make them as happy as they can be.