Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Let's not be healthy then

As BiMedia reports, this year's LGBT Health Summit has been announced for the first two days in September. It'll be in Cardiff, having previously gone to places like Newcastle, Manchester and Bristol: I think this is the first time it's been in Wales.

Chances are, dear reader, that you've never been to these conferences, so I shall observe that these are quite useful events with a lot of interesting research shared and best practice (and bad practice) highlighted.  From an individual queer activist perspective it's a brilliant opportunity to meet people doing all kinds of work and to learn about what's going on out there, bringing so many strands together in one place.  I've gone to quite a lot of LGBT 'sector' things and the Health Summit is toward the top of the usefulness puddle.

However, the first two days in September are also when BiCon falls this year. For the small strand of the LGBT communities who are engaged in bi activism or want to connect to bi issues and community, that's a damn hard clash. For a lot of us, it's a decision that will naturally fall down on the side of being in a properly bi-welcoming space for the few days of the year when that's an option.

It's not the first time these two have been up against each other: when the summit came to Manchester in 2007, it overlapped with BiCon that year too. That conference was one of my Activist Regrets: at the very end of the conference, I was scheduled to talk.  I went with the speech I'd prepared rather than do what my instincts told me which was to do one more off-the-cuff about what I had seen in the part of the Health Summit I had been able to attend. I really should have gone with the impromptu one about the things that weren't being talked about, primarily bisexuality but also genderqueer matters. That year at least - I've not been able to go since - it was remarkably centred on lesbian and gay experience and the small-c conservative end of transgender. By the time I and the keynote speaker on trans matters were lined up to talk, most attendees had already left. 

There are many many queer events every summer and a lot of them have to overlap. It's blooming frustrating though, especially when from what I can make out the Health Summit has been inching toward being more bi positive / inclusive.  If you're just not cut out for BiCon and make it along to the Summit, I'd love to know how it goes.

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