Where are the bis?

As gay news site PinkNews.co.uk unveils their list of the “50 most influential LGBT people in politics”, BiMedia.org is left asking: where are the bisexuals?

Sure, there’s Lib Dem Party President and London MP Simon Hughes, and Green MSP for Glasgow Patrick Harvie. There are a few debatable names in there too: does Michael Portillo count for your definition of bisexuality? But the whole list reflects the relative strengths of the L, G, B and T strands of the queer community. Lots of gay men, quite a smattering of lesbians, not a lot else.

But it shouldn’t be like this. Every half-decent bit of research out there says there are more bisexuals than lesbians and gay men put together, almost no matter how you happen to define “bi”. Bisexual politicians should be making up more than half the list.

Here’s hoping 2008 is a year when a few more people in political life can put their heads above the parapet as openly and proudly bisexual politicians.

Unison debates bi progress

One of the biggest Trades Unions in the country, Unison, will discuss progress on bi inclusion and liberation at their annual LGBT conference this month. A motion has been put on the conference agenda by the national executive which reads as follows:
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Does the Pink Economy want the Purple Pound?

Bisexual Action have been writing to gay businesses in Manchester ahead of the BiFest that BiPhoria are organising. In that city, many ‘gay’ venues have been found to operate biphobic door policies in recent times. Several gay clubs turning bis away at the door citing their “gay only” policy as meaning we’re not welcome. A well-known Canal Street bar told BiPhoria members that they had a “bisexuals allowed in on weeknights but not welcome on weekends” rule.

That kind of thing was always offensive and stupid – but now since the Goods & Services law got passed, it is also illegal.

To test the water of how welcoming gay venues are, we wrote to every venue in Gay Village we could find an address for to ask if they welcomed bi custom in this new era. We’ll post a list of who we wrote to on the Bisexual Action website but suffice to say, it was pretty much everyone you’ll think of.

And the result? Only two venues in Manchester’s gay village actually say they welcome bisexual customers. Hats off to the Rembrandt and Taurus. Guess the rest of the gay scene in the city still has a lot of catching up – and growing up – to do.

Bis lobby Stonewall

A postcard lobbying campaign targeted at getting UK gay equality group Stonewall to be more inclusive of bisexual people in their work was launched at Student Pride this weekend.

The “tackling bisexual invisibility” cards highlight the recent Stonewall report on social attitudes to lesbian and gay people, whose research, findings and recommendations were entirely in terms of lesbians and gay men. That followed last year’s Stonewall report on media representation which noted that no bisexuals had been spotted in the duration of the monitoring exercise, yet also only urged that the media raise the profile of lesbians and gay men.

Unison's bi-day

Britain’s biggest trades union, Unison, recently expanded its lesbian and gay section to include bi and trans members. Following from that, their second bi networking event will be held on Friday, 13th July – in London. They say:

“Are you a bisexual member of UNISON?

~ Do you want more information on our National Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) conference?
~ Have you been considering getting more involved in our LGBT groups, but not sure how?
~ Do you know what UNISON does for Bi members?
~ What are your key campaigning concerns –how can UNISON better support you?

Why not meet with and share your views with other Bi members? Meeting Friday 13th July 2007 in London: 10.30am to 1pm with a buffet lunch provided from 1pm to 2pm.

UNISON members can attend without having to ‘come out’ to their local branch as their travel expenses and booking form will be processed confidentially by the LGBT Assistant National Officer at the Membership Participation Unit.”

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