Monday, 18 February 2008

1,000 years extra free

This weekend I had the pleasure of co-organising a bi-focused event for LGBT History Month.

The misleadingly named “2,000 Years of Bisexuality” was a two hour long exploration of bisexuality in history from 3,000 years ago to present times. Call it 50% extra free. It was academically rigorous as a talk, with slides, which was something that was only possible thanks to having guest speakers who came up from London for the event. There was even an extensive Q&A with the audience at the end which proved many of them had stayed awake the whole way through; and I'm hoping BCN will run a series of profiles of arguably-bi figures from history following on from it.

About 40 people came along despite the refusal of the local council - let's name and shame those perennialy dodgy on bi issues folks at Manchester Town Hall - to provide support by publicising the event in their History Month literature (they did however for example give ample publicity to a lesbian and gay line dancing event 'for LGBT history month').

What I like most about making this event happen is that it is different from the usual run of bi events in the city and around the UK. It's as accessible to non-bis as to bis, and as relevant to people who are just coming out as bi as to people who have been out for years and can recite their Klein grid scores in their sleep.

The bi community, such as it is, is much better at parties and newbie events and lacks that extra diversity and range in what we put on; this means if you are not part of the perceived cliques it is hard to see why you would keep coming back to events. Widening out the range of things we put on challenges that problem, and this has to be a good thing in growing a wider sense of bisexual identity and community.

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