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

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Call for Papers: EuroBiReCon Amsterdam July 2016

Bisexuality and (Inter)National Research Frontiers

First European Bisexual Research Conference (EuroBiReCon)EuroBiReCon is a conference for anyone with an interest in contributing to, or finding out about, current work on bisexuality. The conference aims to bring together academics, professionals, activists, and bisexual communities. It builds on BiReCons held in the UK every two years organised by BiUK (www.biuk.org) – see the BiUK website for information about past BiReCons. This year it will take place on Thursday 28 July 2016 at the University of Amsterdam, which will be followed by a three day community organised event (EuroBiCon).

We proudly announce that Prof. Surya Monro (University of Huddersfield) will be the keynote speaker at the EuroBiReCon. She has written multiple books on sexual diversity including Gender politics: Activism, citizenship and sexual diversity (2005) and Sexuality, Equality and Diversity (2012 with Diana Richardson). Her book Bisexuality: Identities, Politics, and Theories is due to be published in 2015.

We welcome papers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines including social sciences, health sciences, arts and humanities, therapeutic practitioners, activists and others. We encourage contributions from postgraduate students, early career academics and more senior academics from Europe and beyond.

We invite papers and workshop sessions that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Bisexuality, wellbeing and health (including mental health and sexual health).
  • The implications of bisexual identities and labels.
  • Bisexuality, space and communities.
  • Bisexual people’s access to, and experiences of,health and other services.
  • Inclusion and erasure of bisexual people in politics and activism.
  • Representations of bisexuality in media, culture, and literature.
  • Intersections with other aspects of experience such as physical disability, age, race/ethnicity, nationality, gender (both trans- and cis-gender), sexual practices, religion, education and social class.
  • Bisexuality and relationship styles (e.g. monogamies, polyamory, swinging, open couples and non-monogamies).
  • The role of technologies in bisexuality and forming bisexual spaces and communities
  • Methods for researching bisexuality
  • Public engagement in bisexuality research.

During the day there will be opportunities to:

  • Find out about issues affecting bisexual people
  • Hear from experts about cutting-edge research on bisexuality
  • Discuss ways in which organisations can better work with, and for, bisexual people, drawing on good practice
  • Take part in workshops on specific issues

If you would like to present at EuroBiReCon, please provide a 250 word abstract and a brief biography (max. 100 words), by 26th February 2016 to Emiel Maliepaard (e.maliepaard1@gmail.com) and Dr Caroline Walters (carolinejwalters@gmail.com).

If you are interested in facilitating a workshop, roundtable, or panel discussion at BiReCon, which can include data gathering for current projects or research, then please email Emiel Maliepaard (e.maliepaard1@gmail.com) and Dr Caroline Walters (carolinejwalters@gmail.com) with a brief description of your proposed session by 22 January 2016.

Language: For logistical reasons, the conference’s common language will be English, and abstracts must be submitted in English. If you wish, you can send us your abstract in another language, provided that you also submit it in English. It is highly recommended that presentations during the conference are in English. However, we are exploring possibilities to use translators to provide space to people who would like to present in their mother tongue.

Funding: EuroBiCon and EuroBiReCon are community organisations so unfortunately there are no funds for presenters or travel expenses. However, EuroBiReCon will provide an excellent opportunity to network with others working in the field, to share good practice, and there will be spaces available to conduct research which fits within the ethos of the event.

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.

complicated-200px

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.

Myths about bisexuality

Two great posts on myths about bisexuality:

In the first post, Samantha Joel summarises the scientific research which challenges the common myths that bisexuality doesn’t exist, that bisexuality is just a phase, and that bisexual people are unfaithful to their partners.

Bisexuality myths Debunked by science Science of Relationships

Bisexuality is the tendency to be sexually attracted to both men and women. This may sound like a superpower to some – double the romantic options means double the romantic odds, right? But in reality, bisexuality can be a bit of an awkward identity to have. Bisexual people are not “straight”, which can make it difficult to feel like a part of the sexual majority. On the other hand, bisexual people can often pass as straight, particularly when they have an opposite-sex partner, which can sometimes make it difficult to feel connected to the LGBT community.

Most importantly, bisexuality tends to be quite misunderstood. Myths and stereotypes about bisexuality abound, some of which even contradict one another. Straight and LGBT people alike can hold these stereotypes, which compounds the difficulties that bisexual people can have fitting into either group. Luckily, an increasing number of researchers have become interested in bisexuality in recent years, and with research, our understanding of bisexuality is improving. Here are three examples of how science has worked to combat the many misconceptions about bisexuality:  Read more…

In the second post, Shiri Eisner asks whether we should be defensively debunking the myths about bisexuality (as so many bisexual community websites do) or whether there is an argument for not busting the myths because many of them are about trying to prove that bisexual folk meet standards of normativity that actually might be worth challenging.

The Myth of Myth-bustingRadical Bi

In a recent blog post, The Suburban Bi dedicated a paragraph to what she referred to as the “obligatory myth-busting post that pretty much every blog on bisexuality provides”. And indeed, it seems near-impossible to encounter any English-language text about bisexuality without seeing these same myths countered in this same way. I thought I would take this opportunity to explore what this myth-busting and these myths mean, politically, and for us as a community.

Quoth The Suburban Bi:

  • Existence.Yes – we do.
  • Monogamy. Yes – we can.
  • Fidelity. Yes – we can. And – we do.
  • HIV & AIDS. No – it’s notall our fault.
  • Confusion. No – we’re really not.
  • Indecision. No – that’s not what fluidity means.
  • Greed. Yes, we can have just one piece of cake.
  • Pants. Yes – we’re as capable as anyone else of keeping our various bits in them.
  • Choice. No – we cannot choose to be straight; we cannot choose to be gay; we did not choose our sexual orientation in some thoughtlessly frivolous moment of rapacious abandon. Who does?

Let’s walk through some of those, shall we? No, we’re not promiscuous. No, we don’t sleep around. No, we’re not infectious. No, we don’t choose to be the way we are (SRSLY, why would anyone choose that?). Yes, we’re normal. No, we don’t threaten your sexual identification. Yes, we are just like you. No, you are not in danger of being like us. No, we don’t threaten your beliefs, your society or your safety. Read more…

An Introduction to “Bisexuality, Gender and romantic Relationships”

Emma Smith updates us on the findings of her recent research:

As we all know bisexuality is often a neglected, somewhat invisible identity in academic work on sexualities. Although, in recent years, there has been a minimal interest in bisexuality as a sexual identity it has thus far been nowhere near the extent to which research on heterosexuality and homosexuality has been conducted. It is for this reason that my research project entitled “Bisexuality, Gender and Romantic Relationships” explores the lived experiences of five bisexual women and their experiences of love and romantic relationships. This is an area which has been explored in the context of heterosexual relationships (Giddens, 1992), lesbian relationships (Rothblum, 1993) and gay relationships (Katz, 2003) but like in many other fields bisexuality and the relationships of bisexuals have been somewhat overlooked.

Bisexuality as a sexual identity has been a contested issue throughout society for many years; often being perceived as ‘greedy’, ‘indecisive’, ‘half gay’ etc. but this research project aimed to document the real life experiences of bisexual women in order to create and share a better understanding of what it means to be bisexual, the misconceptions surrounding bisexuality and romantic relationships and the issues
this can create in personal relationships as well as societal relationships.

Sexuality is often predominantly defined by the gender of a person’s romantic interests; by its definition identifying as a bisexual rejects this notion and therefore, the bisexual women interviewed choose partners based on individual traits regardless of gender. Although some traits could be stereotypically defined as masculine or feminine, the women involved in this research project agreed that gender is not a defining factor in searching for love and romantic relationships. However, the participants also agreed that their sexuality is often perceived by other people based on the gender of their current partner and this has been a recurrent theme throughout their entire adult life and has resulted in significant impact on both their romantic relationships and relationships between friends and family.

Although many organisations and events promoting the validity of bisexuality as an identity; most recently BiCon, BiFest and BiReCon have all been major contributors to promoting bi-friendly communities, it is clear from the experiences shared by the five self-identifying bisexual women interviewed that there are still many barriers to overcome in order to achieve acceptance of bisexuality as a valid sexual identity. However, it is also apparent that these women feel strongly about their identity and, despite the negative stereotypes that often come with it, are proud to be bisexual.

New UK bisexuality research

Caroline Harvey explains her new study:

Learning To Get Bi? Analysing Postmodern, Poststructuralist, Queer Theoretical, and Sexual Geographical Perspectives on the Construction of ‘Bisexuality’ and ‘Bisexual’ Sexual Identity. 

How is Bisexual Identity and ‘Reality’ Constructed Within the Straight/Gay Binary of the Modern Western World?”

Basically I’m attempting to analyse and construct a ‘basic’ understanding of how bisexual men and women are able to formulate and be confident and comfortable in their bisexuality when the majority of the Western world and subsequent policy, legislation and even general ‘common-sense’ understandings of sexuality tend to be very much dominated by and regulated within the binary of straight/gay and lesbian identity. Hopefully this work will highlight the impact of biphobia, bi-invisibility and the very real ignorance and avoidance that bisexual people encounter on a regular basis. The usual stereotypes which can be evidenced by both hetero-/homosexual communities can often be over looked or seen as acceptable in many sectors of society, and therefore this work intends to challenge and question why this is acceptable.

The dangerous and damaging consequences of biphobia and bisexual ‘avoidance’ cannot be ignored and the fact that despite Western society insists and promotes the gay/straight dichotomy, bisexual men and woman continue to live their lives as such, being proud and comfortable in doing so and I would asset proves that rather than (as at present) being deemed as an afterthought, bisexuality, queer identity, gender fluidity, gender fucking, pan sexuality, omnisexuality and any other of the myriad of explanations and representations that individuals choose to describe themselves as thus therefore needing to be awarded their proper and deserved place in society.

One point I find especially pertinent is that until 1967 ‘homosexual acts’ between 2 men was deemed illegal, whilst in 2005 civil partnerships between same sex couples came into force. Bisexuality seems to be in a similar position; whilst not criminally illegal or legislated against (although ostensibly morally so) how long will it take for bisexual identity to gain its rightful acceptance in society.

I am also aiming to use the blogs of bi men and women in order to gain insight into and trace if/when changes and transitions in attitudes occur and so if anyone knows of something/someone which could be of use in my research I would be extremely grateful and they can contact me on: caroline.harvey@research.sunderland.ac.uk

Guidelines for researchers

We were just made aware that there is an Open Letter to Researchers over on the Asexuality Studies website. It is good to see other groups engaging with how research on their communities is conducted as we did when we wrote our Guidelines for Researching and Writing on Bisexuality (which will be published in the Journal of Bisexuality by the end of 2012). Jacob Hale’s suggested rules for writing about trans are also a useful resource which we found helpful when developing our guidelines.

First Critical Sexology Up North Event on Celebrate Bisexuality Day!

Celebrate Bisexuality Day is 23rd September every year.

This year we will mark the day in Manchester with the first ever Critical Sexology Up North event, featuring two of the speakers from last year’s international BiReCon event: Christian Klesse and Anna Einarsdottir. To see short clips of them speaking go here.

 

Critical Sexology is a successful seminar series which has been running in London for nearly a decade. It is an interdisciplinary seminar series for psychologists, psychoanalysts, medical doctors, literary and cultural studies scholars, philosophers, artists, lawyers and historians with a critical interest in the construction and management of gender and sexuality in the medical, human sciences, discursive and cultural spheres. Established in 2002 by Iain Morland and Lih-Mei Liao, Critical Sexology has since held three seminars per year, with meetings taking place in London. The seminar is currently co-organised by Lisa Downing (University of Exeter), Meg Barker (Open University), and Robert Gillett (Queen Mary, University of London).

From 2011, one seminar out of the three we organise per year will be held at a university in a northern location. This first will be in Manchester in September:

23 September 2011, 2pm-6pm: Relationships

Venue: Manchester Metropolitan University, John Dalton building, room 0.05

Organised by Meg Barker in collaboration with Christian Klesse

Speakers:

Anna Einarsdottir and Brian Heaphy (University of Manchester) – Civil Partnerships

Christian Klesse (Manchester Metropolitan University) – Non-monogamous Relationships

Mark Carrigan (University of Warwick) – Asexual Relationships

Respondents: Eleanor Wilkinson (University of Leeds) and Hera Cook (University of Birmingham)

All details of the event are here, and a map to the venue can be found here, including a pdf of how to get to the venue.

BiCon this week

The annual UK bisexual conference, BiCon 2011, is happening from 1-4 September 2011. All details can be found on the BiCon website.

BiUK will be facilitating a workshop on all things research-related on the afternoon of Friday 2nd. Hope to see you there!

New York Times – Bi Men Do Exist!

The New York Times last week published an article reporting that bi men do exist. The history of this research is that a group of Northwestern University researchers previously conducted a study which – they claimed – cast doubt upon the existence of bisexual men. They now seem to have taken a U-turn on this in a study using a similar, but somewhat more rigorous, methodology.

Read the New York Times article here.

Read the research here.

Read the original New York Times article here.

Read the original research here.

Read some criticisms of the earlier research here.