February is LGBT History Month in the UK.
Here are some resources on bisexual history that might be useful to anyone running LGBT History Month events this year – or interesting to anyone wanting to pick up on some snippets of bisexual history.
The @BisexualHistory twitter and facebook account gives a daily (for most days!) snippet of bisexual history “on this day…”. It’s here on twitter and here on facebook.
In 2012 we ran a series of pieces here on BiMedia with moments of bi history from the UK. Click here to see those articles and any others tagged for LGBT History Month.
And Getting Bi in a Gay / Straight World from BiPhoria has a bi history timeline on pages 12 & 13. Here it is on issu or you can order print copies from their website.
‘Beyond Babies & Breast Cancer – Expanding our understanding of women’s health needs’ is a new report for all those interested in providing appropriate and equitable health services published by Manchester-based Lesbian & Gay Foundation.
The report has been produced following a large-scale research review of over seventy pieces of research from Britain and across the globe. It brings together evidence from many different sources including large-scale general population studies, smaller scale community studies and qualitative research to paint a vivid picture of the health needs of lesbian and bisexual women and of their experiences of accessing health care.
Pleasingly, it frequently separates out bisexual and lesbian experience – sometimes highlighting some stark differences.
The health needs of lesbian and bisexual women are sometimes doubly hidden – both within information on ‘women’s health’ and information on the health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in general. We believe ‘Beyond Babies and Breast Cancer’ is the first large-scale report which tries to bring together evidence to address this invisibility, in a similar way to how the Bisexuality Report assembled information about bi life.
As well as bringing together evidence, the report makes five central recommendations. These are:
COMMUNICATE in a non-discriminatory way, without making assumptions about sexual orientation, to create a safe and respectful environment for everyone.
MONITOR sexual orientation as part of your equality data and use the findings to inform future plans.
INCLUDE lesbian and bisexual women’s needs in mainstream health information, services, policies and strategies.
TARGET bisexual & lesbian women with specific health information and campaigns.
DEVELOP specialist health and support services for bisexual and gay women, their partners and families.
The report is accompanied by four action plans, aimed at Clinicians, Commissioners, Managers, Decision Makers and Researchers, which give practical advice on how these recommendations can be implemented. The report and action plans can be downloaded as pdfs here.
If you would like a paper copy of the report, or have any questions about healthcare for lesbian and bisexual women, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 3 30 30 30.
London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard are thinking of rebranding – and want to hear your opinions. The helpline service – which in the 80s & 90s was controversial in bi circles for having a “no bisexual volunteers” policy in place – now offers help to lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, and are reviewing their name to better reflect their work.
They say, “with London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard being 40 years young this year, what better time to think about the name going forward.
“After some initial research last year shortening the name to SWITCHBOARD was proposed; the reasons for this were because we get calls from all over the UK and beyond and we also support bisexual and transgender people. The shortened name gives us the opportunity to add a strap line such as ‘Helpline for the LGBT communities’.
“We want you to be part of this important decision and we want to know what you think. Please complete the contact form here to let us know if you agree or not with the proposed change and if not any ideas you have.”
The “Free Movement” blog has published a list of questions it reports as being asked by UK asylum & immigration staff of someone seeking asylum on the grounds of persecution due to sexual orientation. In 2010 the asylum rules were changed so as to respect that bisexuality and homosexuality may be justifiable reason why people from particular countries might need to seek refuge in the UK, but there are questions over how this is being implemented in practice.
Free Movement say questions are transcribed from the interviewer’s written record of an interview with a detained asylum seeker who stated he was bisexual. These include “why have you got to behave as a bisexual in [country]?” and (of having sex with another man) “why did you use a condom?”
The full list is on the Free Movement site here.
Nearly a year ago, we were pleased to welcome the launch of the @bisexualhistory project which has been tweeting away ever since and aims to find “a bit of bi history for every day of the year”. Each day that they’ve got a story for they tweet it – be that a bi event long past, the birth of a bi in the public eye, or whatever else they’ve managed to find.
It’s now on Facebook too for people who prefer that to Twitter – give them a Like here!
And feel free to drop them a line with bi dates to add to the collection.