Monday 9 January 2023

That was 2022 in bisexual

Each year I do a roundup of the year for Bi Community News magazine. Here's 2022's.

Past years: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017

The 2020s have been a tough time for many people and while a lot of “normal” life returned in 2022, things are still not quite as they were before.

We start in January, with the brilliant and long-awaited news of human trials for a vaccine against HIV. The UK government announced the erasure of some more historic offences where bi or gay men were convicted under biphobic and homophobic laws. Student Pride announced it would be postponed in one of the last cases of COVID restrictions hitting a Pride date. We were sad to hear that The Owl House was getting a foreshortened third run before being dropped. And Brum Bi Group went to London to join in a protest on trans people’s human rights.

In February, war reached Europe as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, and queer culture joined in the wave of sanctions by banning them from Eurovision. New Zealand announced a ban on conversion therapy but Singapore rebuffed an attempt to decriminalise sex between men. Debateable bi rep on TV continued with the return of bi liar Loki. In sports, Ireen Wüst broke new records at the Winter Olympics.  Bi+ day out BiFest returned to the Midlands. Finally, we had remarkable research that mixed-sex couples commute differently from same-sex ones and showing the proportion of the population who are bi rising again.

The UK government leaked it was not proceeding with a long-promised ban on conversion therapy in March. The month is Bi Health Month but our minds were on ways to help LGBT+ people in Ukraine as the war started to unfold. American research looked at bi representation on TV in the light of new stats from Gallup.  The Lammy book awards announced their shortlists including several bi categories. Guatemala’s President got presidential and over-ruled a new ban on same-sex marriage. Lovers of the outdoors got news of a bisexual camping weekend.

April saw tickets go on sale for BiCon. The annual bi bash has been running since 1984 – until 2019 in person, then for two years online and this year in a mixed format with some in-person content and some online. A major international conference was cancelled when too many LGBT organisations expressed their lack of faith in the UK government and its reputation on equalities. Heartstopper dropped onto Netflix and became the big LGBT TV show of the year. YouGov found that most people disagreed with the UK government on outlawing “conversion therapy”. And research in the US showed how the pandemic had particularly impacted bi and other queer kids.

Monkeypox was the unfortunate new big thing in May, and we had advice about it. Between that and COVID, Leicester’s Big Bi Fun Day announced it was skipping another year. Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman back in the day, wound up the haters online in a delicious way. As Prides returned there was a special rainbow 50p to celebrate their work since 1972. IDAHOBIT was marked around the world including by Leeds Bi Social Group. The USA got ready to overturn the Roe v Wade judgement that made abortion legal across the nation. And the UK dropped out of the top ten countries in Europe for LGBT people.

In June six years on from the Orlando club shooting we saw something all too similar in Oslo. Also abroad, Thailand looked to introduce same-sex civil partnerships, and while the US Supreme Court had its eye on same-sex marriage as the next step after abortion, polls showed it was more popular across the country than ever. In the UK BiCon pushed its booking deadline back a little while monkeypox numbers kept ticking upwards.

The American Center for Disease Control noted that COVID was having a worse impact on bis than other groups in July. While some Prides were ruling that police could not march – or not march in uniform – in Greater Manchester the police decided to boycott Pride instead. Glasgow‘s Mardi Gla became the first UK LGBT+ Pride to put bis front and centre. Civil partnerships – expected to fade away after the introduction of same-sex marriage – proved to be booming especially since they were opened up to mixed-sex couples as well. Biphobia on the football pitch wound up in court for Tower Hamlets FC.

August saw annual bi gathering BiCon return in-person in Leeds (and also online). Andorra became the 33rd country to legalise same-sex marriage, though it won’t come into effect until 2023, while in Vietnam the health services declared that being queer is not a disease. Monkeypox continued to spread here in the UK, albeit more slowly. Summer bi telly included Never Have I Ever and First Kill.

Each year September is the month of Bi Visibility Day, marked for the 24th time in 2022, and a date that now has wrapped around it Bi Week (in the USA) and in some parts of the internet, Bi Month. Once more there were more than 100 events to mark the date across a host of countries. That included a host of flags, displays and events in the UK, and in the USA a meeting at the White House, the illumination of the Niagara Falls in pink, purple and blue, and America’s LGBT journalism network hosting a discussion on bi representation. In Cuba a referendum backed same-sex marriage, and in Canada the government announced moves to equalise blood donation rules. But most impressively given all going on around them, in Ukraine the organisers of Kharkiv Pride went ahead with their event.

In October America’s version of BiCon, Because, returned. Like BiCon it went for a mixed format offering both in-person and online participation. Mexico finished its jigsaw-like process of introducing same-sex marriage, and Slovakia went there in a single step. Meanwhile in Japan Tokyo brought in a local partnership register similar to those seen in the UK at the end of the 1990s. A remarkable court case in the USA sought to overturn employment protections for bisexual people, and by implication asexual people too, arguing that the existing rulings only covered gay and straight people.

November saw another deadly attack at a queer bar in the USA. One of the handful of openly bi MPs here announced she would not be restanding whenever the General Election comes. One of her counterparts in the US was also seen to have disengaged from her party, and later crossed the floor from Democrat to sit as an Independent. Some far-from-robust research suggested both Oxford and Cambridge universities now have huge numbers of bi students, with heterosexuals now in the minority. In a rare bit of good public health news, Monkeypox numbers had fallen significantly.

And we celebrated 24 years of the bi flag.

As the year wrapped up, court cases had led to the US government move to legislate to protect same-sex marriage and interracial marriage from interference by the Supreme Court. By the middle of the December that legislation had passed all three stages to become law before the Democrats lose control of the House in January. Governor Kate Brown commuted all death sentences in her state. But the cherry on the cake of the year was the dictionary adding and recognising bi synonym multisexual.




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