Pink Therapy: Beyond Gay and Straight

On March 12th 2016 the UK LGBTQ+ therapy organisation Pink Therapy ran a conference on working with bisexual people. You can read summaries of the conference here and here, and view all of the talks on the Pink Therapy YouTube channel for the conference.

Book launch – Bisexuality: Identities, Politics, and Theories – 29 January 2016

BOOK LAUNCH: Bisexuality: Identities, Politics, and Theories

Author Surya Monro (University of Huddersfield and BiUK)

Discussants
Christian Klesse (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Milena Popova (Bisexual activist and academic)

Matthew Waites (Glasgow University)
Angelia Wilson (Manchester University)

Friday 29 January 2016, 7.30-9.00

LGBT Foundation
5 Richmond Street
Manchester M1 3HF
Map via http://lgbt.foundation/About-us/Contact-us/

To book a place please contact a.holmes@hud.ac.uk (places are limited)

About Bisexuality: Identities, Politics, and Theories:
Bisexuality has been largely erased from studies of sexuality and gender, and people who desire others of more than one gender often remain invisible. This book sets a new agenda for considering sexualities and genders, by focusing on the lives of people who are bisexual or who have other identities that are not heterosexual, lesbian or gay, in an international context. What are bisexual people’s lived experiences? How can these be understood using social and political theories? What are the implications of bisexuality for future theorising and research? In addressing these and other questions, this book maps out under-explored territory. It does so by looking at topical themes, including sex and relationships, community, the commodification of bisexuality, and activism. The book also shows how understandings of bisexuality can usefully inform the social sciences in areas such as identity construction, social inequalities, postcolonial relations, and citizenship.

This is a must-read book for anyone in the field of sexuality. Not only is it the first academic book for years to deal with the woefully invisible topic of bisexuality, but it is also of much broader appeal given that it synthesises and integrates sexuality theories and research in a way that is both sophisticated and engaging. The global perspective of the book also sets it apart, and will provide a strong foundation for future scholarship and activism in this area to build on.

– Meg John Barker, The Open University and BiUK, United Kingdom

 

LGBT Hate Crime Project: Number of people seeking help for hate crimes more than doubles

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Number of people seeking help for hate crimes more than doubles

There’s been an increase in the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people reporting hate crimes across England and Wales in recent months, according to the National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership.

In the last three months, Galop, a specialist LGBT anti-violence charity, says the number of people seeking help has more than doubled. Other LGBT groups across the country have also reported a large increase in those reporting experiences of hate crimes.

The news comes as the Partnership launches the second phase of its campaign during the national Hate Crime Awareness Week (10-17 October). The campaign, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, aims to raise awareness of the LGBT hate crime and encourage people to ‘Talk, Report and Get Support’.

The increase has been welcomed by charity leaders as a sign that people are increasingly willing to come forward.

The Partnership is a network of 35 organisations across the country that work to empower LGBT people to stand up against hate crime through education and training as well as establishing local partnerships. It is also carrying out over 400 anti-hate crime training sessions, forming 230 inter-agency cooperative relationships to tackle hate crime and creating over 30 information resources.

Nik Noone, Chief Executive of Galop, put the increase into context saying:

“We’ve seen the number of people getting in touch with our hate crime advocacy service more than double in recent months. Though one person facing hate crime is one too many, we see this rise in people getting in touch as a cause for optimism and are proud of our part in helping empower people to speak up about their experiences and access assistance.”

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of the LGBT Consortium, confirms the trend:

“From what our members are telling us, it seems that this picture is being mirrored across other parts of the UK. The message is getting out that LGBT people don’t have to put up with being targeted. We know, however, that service provision is patchy across the UK and so not everyone can access the help they need, particularly in rural communities.”

“It’s important that these crimes are reported so that the police have a clear picture and can tackle the issue. There are a number of ways in which people can do that anonymously, if they don’t feel able to approach the police directly, for whatever reason.”

Evelyn Asante–Mensah, Equality and Human Rights Commissioner, said:

“We know that there are thousands of unreported hate crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity every year. Whilst it is encouraging to hear more people are coming forward for help, all LGBT people experiencing hate crime should feel empowered to report it.”

Services offering assistance with anti-LGBT hate crime can be found at www.lgbthatecrime.org.uk

Bisexual Health Videos

There’s a brilliant set of videos on bisexual health available now on the Rainbow Health Ontario website covering friendship, partners, family and service-providers. Here’s one of them to give you a flavour.

See more…

It’d be great to do something like this in the UK in future. Take note all LGBT organisations who’re looking to up your B profile! Meanwhile thanks so much to Rainbow Health Ontario for this:-)

BiUK response to Stonewall bi consultation

Back in February, several of us from BiUK were involved in a consultation between Stonewall and the UK bisexual community about how they could improve their work around bisexuality. You can read Bisexuality Report author, and head of The Bisexual Index, Marcus Morgan’s summary of this hopeful day here.

Last month Stonewall published a report of that consultation which you can download here.

Here is BiUK’s response to Stonewall’s report, also downloadable as a pdf here.

CAMPAIGNING AGAINST BIPHOBIA

BiUK’s response to the outcome of Stonewall’s consultation with bi communities

  1. BiUK remains supportive of Stonewall’s decision to consult with bi communities with a view to becoming more proactively engaged with challenging biphobia in the United Kingdom. We also welcome Stonewall’s acceptance that some of its actions over its first twenty five years, whilst claiming to represent the interests of bi people, often led to greater marginalisation and exclusion of people who identify as bisexual, or may have identified in this way had they not been made to feel unwelcome as bi within lesbian and gay communities and spaces.
  2. BiUK was pleased to receive the short note prepared by Stonewall following its consultation session with around 40 bi activists and others in February 2015. Like others though, we regret that it took until late July for the note to appear, some three months after the promised circulation date of Easter.
  3. In terms of the contents of that note and the actions Stonewall proposes to take internally and externally, we of course welcome any steps which will seek to challenge biphobia in L&G and straight communities and to enhance bi visibility within Stonewall and beyond.
  4. In particular, we support Stonewall’s proposals to empower its staff to be bi allies and role models. We regret however that Stonewall has failed to acknowledge that at present none of its trustees or senior staff identify as bisexual, nor did it propose to take steps to rectify this situation. Stonewall has undertaken at least two trustee recruitment exercises in the last twelve months and on neither occasion did it identify that bi people were under/un-represented on its board. BiUK notes that this is in stark contrast to the efforts Stonewall has made to recruit both a trans trustee and senior staff member, which we nonetheless fully support.
  5. We would also ask Stonewall to recognise the difficulty that is presented by asking comparatively junior staff to take the lead on engagement with bi communities. Whilst we welcome the fact that the staff coming to BiCon 2015 to continue Stonewall’s conversation with bi communities are bi identifying, and the engagement of the same staff in liaising with bi organisations, it is problematic that they are not in a position to commit Stonewall in policy and resource terms.
  6. Turning to what Stonewall proposes to do externally, we welcome the initiatives identified in the note, particularly by empowering bi role models and campaigning against biphobia within lesbian and gay communities. Our deputy chair, Edward Lord, has already offered to assist Stonewall in securing some funding for this work and our chair, Meg John Barker, has made some content suggestions for the anti-biphobia campaign.
  7. In supporting this work, however, we expect to see Stonewall pay more than just lip service to bi people. We would hope that graduates from the bi specific role models programme would be used by Stonewall in its work in schools and workplaces to ensure that Stonewall role models are more fully reflective of the wider LGBT community.
  8. In terms of the proposals to hear, listen, and engage more with bi people, we look forward to hearing much more about how Stonewall proposes to make this a reality as we are yet to see any significant evidence of active engagement with bi communities. BiUK, as the UK’s national organisation for bi research and activism through its expert academic trustees and associates wants to reiterate its comprehensive and open offer to partner with Stonewall to ensure that its publications, campaigns and programmes are fully reflective of the needs and experiences of bi people and in line with the most up to date research data available.
  9. We were disappointed that Stonewall’s most recent research-based report, Unhealthy Attitudes, did not make use of this offer. BiUK would certainly have emphasised the need to tease apart the data from LG and B people given what we know about how bi people generally suffer more in these areas, and how amalgamating data erases this difference and means that resources rarely get to bi people. It would also have been nice to see some reference to ‘The Bisexuality Report’ and to the recent Equality Network ‘Complicated?‘ report which dealt with very similar issues in the bi community specifically.
  10. Finally, whilst we accept entirely that this will take time to get right, we are disappointed that the next report from Stonewall is not planned until late 2016, potentially almost two years since the first consultation event. We would urge Stonewall to consider an interim report in early 2016 and also recommend that Stonewall establishes a small bi advisory group to assist it to remain focused on speedy and effective delivery. We would naturally be willing to participate in such a group.

Dr Meg John Barker

Chair, BiUK

August 2015

The Bisexuality Report in Metro

Today’s Metro included a great article about biphobia which included numerous mentions of BiUK’s Bisexuality Report.

Many thanks to journalist Francesca Kentish, and to clinical psychologist Siri Harrison for some great insights throughout the article.

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‘Just a phase’? This is why we need to talk about biphobia

Unless you’ve been in hiding for the past 40 years, chances are you know what homophobia means.

The same can’t be said for biphobia.

Simply put, biphobia is when people are prejudiced towards bisexuals.

It’s pretty similar to homophobia, except people often aren’t aware it’s happening.

Bisexuals often face added discrimination from people within the LGBT community as well as discrimination from heterosexual people.

Chances are you will have seen biphobia on TV or heard someone make a biphobic comment without even realising it.

Ever heard someone jokingly say bisexuals are greedy?

That’s biphobia.

Or that bisexuals should make up their minds?

Biphobia strikes again. Read more…

BiUK Celebrated in the Purple List

We were delighted today to see three members of BiUK celebrated in the first ever Purple List: Biscuit magazine’s list of ‘people who make the world a little brighter for bi* people’. BiUK research associate Caroline Walters, and BiUK trustees Surya Monro and Meg John Barker were all recognised on the list for their work, as were a number of other brilliant bi activists, writers, and celebrities.

The Purple List was conceived as a counter-balance to the high levels of invisibility around bisexuality, and the double discrimination experienced by bi people, meaning they are often not recognised in similar LG(BT) awards ceremonies and honours lists, despite bi people making up half of LGB people.

We look forward to seeing other people – including further BiUK members perhaps! – celebrated in future editions of the list, as we’re assured that it will be published every year from now on, recognising the work of different people each year. As Biscuit says, there are many ‘awesome people who give their time, energy, cash and resources to make life a little bit better for bisexual people’. It’s great to see that acknowledged in this way. Thank you Biscuit.

Statement by the trustees and associates of BiUK: Pride in London

This is BiUK’s official statement on the inclusion of LGBT+ in UKIP in London Pride 2015:

The inclusion of LGBT members of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in this year’s London Pride parade has been the cause of much debate and considerable distress amongst LGBT communities. It has divided friends, colleagues, and comrades. It has drawn out significant issues of principle about fundamental rights of freedom of speech and association, and about the absolute need to feel and be safe in queer spaces and events and to recognise multiple marginalisation and embrace the intersectionality between the many differing characteristics of queer people.

Read more of this post

New report: Bi’s of Colour

Following the Complicated report on bisexual people’s experiences of services last month BiUK is pleased to be able to announce yet another important piece of grassroots research on bisexual experience: The Bi’s of Colour Survey Report conducted by Jacq Applebee, founder of the Bi’s of Colour group.

The experience of bisexual people of colour has been woefully under-researched and neglected to date, with no UK studies focusing on this area. This is despite the fact that we know that people who experience multiple marginalisations through both their sexuality and their race or ethnicity have the worst mental health outcomes due to their experiences of intersecting oppressions, and discrimination on more than one dimension. This is, of course, a particularly vital issue in relation to bisexuality given that bisexual people in general have higher rates of mental health problems than either heterosexual, or lesbian and gay, people.

You can download the full report here: Bi’s of Colour Survey Report.

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The report provides a thorough overview of the study, as well as a useful commentary, by Jacq Applebee, on the findings. It supports previous research on bisexuality, such as the double discrimination that bisexual people experience from both straight and lesbian/gay communities, and the difficulties that they face finding communities and support. It also demonstrates important and concerning facts about the experiences of bi people of colour particularly, for example:

  • The whiteness of offline and online bisexual and LGBT spaces and groups, such that bi’s of colour often feel unwelcome, overly visible, or experience explicit racism and microaggressions, if they do access such spaces.
  • Specific negative experiences such as being hypersexualised (on the basis of both sexuality and race), exoticised and fetishised, or used as the token person of colour to demonstrate the supposed diversity of a community or group.
  • Being presumed straight due to a lack of awareness of the LGBT history within communities of colour, and colonialist assumptions.
  • Feeling excluded from certain spaces due to financial constraints, or because events take places in venues which many people do not feel comfortable in (university settings, or clubs and bars, for example).

Some people also spoke positively about their sense of inclusion in certain communities and groups which have been set up (some bisexual spaces, and QTIPOC spaces, for example).

The Bi’s of Colour study points to the desperate need for more sustained research in this area and far better resources to address the intersections between sexuality and race and ethnicity in general, and the experiences of bi’s of colour in particular. BiUK hopes to support such moves as much as it can, and we also call upon funded LGBT and mental health organisations to make this a priority.

New research on UK bisexual people’s experiences of services

This week an important new piece of research on bisexuality was launched: Complicated: Bisexual people’s experiences of, and ideas for, accessing services by the Equality Network.

It is the first UK wide research report to focus specifically on bisexual people’s experiences of accessing services.

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The report’s key findings were:

  • Bisexual people are highly unlikely to share their 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 services and NHS services.
  • 61% have experienced multiple discrimination. 35% said that they are disabled.

You can download the full report here. And a media reports about it in Bi Community News and Gay Star News.

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