Sunday, 29 September 2013

A Decade On: Bi Life in Manchester

The conference where the "Bisexual Life in Manchester" report was launched was held on 29th September 2003.  Ten years ago today.

This was the first bit of 'proper' research on bi needs that I did with BiPhoria, as part of a broader LGB&T project for the local Local Strategic Partnership. This was qualitative focus group interview palaver, with an enormous amount of transcribing (I'd never done that before) and only a loosely formatted Word document and a set of Powerpoint slides in time for the launch rather than the prettified edition that's on the BiPhoria website.

It planted some of the seeds of The Bisexuality Report, by breaking its findings on bi life and bi needs down into policy areas - youth provision, mental health, employment, housing and so on. Something I'd forgotten over the years was that, like The Bisexuality Report, it included a section of positives about bisexual experience to give some respite from the 'list of problems' style that research findings on LGBT life can become. As I recall, this was reinvented afresh when the team devised The Bisexuality Report.

The report had little immediate impact, though, as in line with Manchester City Council policy in 2003, the overarching Local Strategic Partnership ruled bisexuality to not exist: we in the LGBT LSP kept sending in documents marked "LGBT" and they kept coming back marked "LG". Though it's shifted a little in recent years, Manchester City Council worked damn hard to earn a reputation for biphobia.

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