Monday, 28 June 2010

Swell the ranks

The programme for BiReCon has been published and includes a session on bi blogging from Sue George. Sue's blog isn't quite as frequently updated as mine but has more substantial pieces whereas mine tends to be a passing thought or question. Looking forward to it - and to there being more bi bloggers as a result!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Changing culture

Warning: political activism ahead!

Yesterday was the summer conference for us LGBT lefties. Now, most of what went on doesn't really belong here, but what really struck me was that after a couple of years of the Bisexual Democrats project, it has started to take a more serious hold, with both the immediate recognition of the pink, purple and blue stuff, and requests from new members of where they could get teeshirts, badges, or where to download logos to use on their own work.

I suspect the number of out-bis is a mixture of the targeted recruitment and of a wider visibility thing.  But having the bi materials produced is helping to reveal the 'hidden bis' - I look forward to citing it as good practice!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Town Hall aftermath

Time to write up the 'what do bis want?' workshop from the Town Hall LGBT Day. I've run the session twice so this will be a blend of outcomes from both sessions, but that also means that half the contributions are unlinked from the Town Hall. 

Must find some way of wording a copyright statement or what have you at the end of the report to ensure that the council doesn't try to slurp up all the credit. After all, they didn't even cover my damn train fare to run the session for them*.

* I may just be carrying over some past grouching here from the annual LGBT Health Summit.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Rhif Cant

I've a very low grade tabloid writer's grasp of cheesy headlines, so I want to title anything about BCN issue 100 along the lines of "100 not out", which of course is the wrong message at every step of the way. It is out, we are out, and this isn't actually the 100th edition. You just can't trust these bisexuals, eh?

Not the 100th?  Afraid so: there have been various others including the Manchester-only editions for Prides and suchlike, and the annual Summer Specials given away at BiCon. And because it has always been run by geeks we didn't have a title at first, our first edition was issue zero. But it wasn't called BCN yet which puts it in a fuzzy state as to whether it is an edition of BCN. So it's probably nearer the 110th edition of the magazine.

It is, however, the one with the number "100" on the front, so it is the best place to pause and claim to have reached a hundred issues. I joined up back around issue 32 and have been editor since some time around number 50.

Between number 50 and the mid 90s not much changed except moving to photo covers rather than wordy covers. However, if I do say so myself, the last year has seen a big step forward for the magazine.  We were laser-printing onto ordinary 80g paper, now we're properly printed on glossy paper, with colour covers and (perhaps only me caring about this bit) with full bleed. BCN now feels like a magazine, not like a society newsletter.

One of the things I care about with BCN, and which I've argued about with other bi activists, is that it continues to be a paper publication.  This works in three directions:

1 - having a print magazine, albeit on a lower circulation than our rivals, puts a potential bi voice at the table alongside Gay Times et al. When discussing how to reach out and be visibily inclusive of bis, "but there is no bi press for us to also advertise in" has a neat rebuttal.
2 - as a paper trail of debate and events, it provides a 'journal of record' for academics and historians. More letters on the letters page might make it an even more useful one cough
3 - and this is the biggy: it makes the community 'real' in a way that a website doesn't: there are enough of us and bisexuality is sufficiently not "just a phase" for this long-running magazine that you can hold in your hands to exist. When I was finding a sense of myself as bi in a very gay/straight culture, BCN's predecessor mag was something I looked forward to landing on the doormat.  And I had the benefit of living in a city with a strong bi scene, how much more it would have meant living in the sticks.

An online only magazine would be easier, would involve fewer nights of stuffing envelopes and less time staring at a screen willing the words to fit on the page. But it becomes so much easier to not produce new content over time that way: every two months, whereas the pages of BCN start out each issue all blank and demanding.

Volunteers to help fill them are always welcome, by the by.  Articles, photos, cartoons, what have you...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

How to hit harder?

BiMedia asks whether of 200 odd people at the Downing Street "LGBT" reception:
will there be anyone representing for the B in LGBT
Requesting information from Downing Street press people has so far drawn a complete blank, while the photos that have hit such authoritative sources as the Daily Mail don't have faces you'd recognise from doing bi work.

Now, it's too late to change the bi-excluding nature of last night's guest list, and (to get the party politics balance in) of the previous such event under Labour. And it's possible this is the last such 'do'. But if it weren't, gosh how grouchy I will be if it happens three times in a row.

Aside from starting a fresh "write to Dave and Nick" postcard or write-a-letter lobbying campaign to highlight the B in LGBT is not for invisiBility, how else could we change this? Indeed, aside from the general slight of not being invited to the ball, should we want to?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Sleep and Cheesy

I've got a lovely new "sleep and cheesy" teeshirt from the pobbleshop. Other fans of atrocious punnage may want one too, so there's a little link :)

Perfectly formed

Today was the annual LGBT consultation day at the Town Hall once again.  Last year's bi workshop was the groundbreaking first time they put the B on the agenda at the event, and was better attended than this time around. 

However, this was - with all respect to last year's participants - a case of quality over quantity, with participants this time around including an interested city councillor wanting to improve the council's engagement with the LGBT communities, and representatives from the local NHS and Police.  I'd really like there to be a chance for services like that to engage better with the bi community so these were really welcome links to draw in.

And between the outcomes of today's session and running the same session at BiPhoria a short while ago we have quite an interesting agenda of what bis in the city want. 

Monday, 7 June 2010

military coup imminent: leadership required

Wanted: someone with a little bit of money and web savvy to take Bisexual Recruitment Army over. It's a lovely little idea, and putting the site together was awesome fun, creating bad punnage and taking silly photos and so forth. But I've had no time or energy to do anything fresh with it, and it is really just sitting there to be honest.

Someone with webspace and an interest in taking it over would be good to find. My web hosting can only take three websites at a time, and I'd like to shuffle B*R*A off so I can put something else in its place.

Naturally like any protective website-mother I don't just want to give it to anyone so I might be picksy.