On the 7 September 2019, the first ever Bi Pride took place in Round Chapel, Hackney. The event created a space where bi people could be freely visible and celebrate themselves and their identities.
We had the opportunity to hold a stall and network with other LGBT and bi-specific groups and organisations. We asked people to share their #HopeForLGBTequality and the following themes emerged:
1. Liberation from shame
Bi communities are far less likely to be out to friends and family. Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain - Work report from 2018 found that almost two in five bi people (38 per cent) aren’t out to anyone at work about their sexual orientation.
Abigail, Bi Pride UK's chair, highlights the importance of creating a space for bi people to network and be visible: ‘Our work with other Prides is just as important to us as our own Pride event, but there’s nothing that can quite substitute for walking into an event entirely for you and your identity.’
2. All bi identities are valid and celebrated
Bi people come from many backgrounds, and there is no one way to be bi. Bi people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including, but not limited to, bisexual, biromantic, pan, queer, as well as some other non-monosexual and non-monoromantic identities.
Several hopes shared with us highlighted the need to recognise intersectional identities, such as the hope for ace inclusion within the LGBT community.
3. A more inclusive and mutually supportive LGBT community
One common #HopeForLGBTequality shared with us at Bi Pride was the need for better bi inclusion within the LGBT community.
Often bi people face exclusion and discrimination not only from wider society but from within the LGBT community itself. Common misconceptions paint bi people as confused, or as 'actually' straight or gay.
Bi Pride bought to the fore the diversity of bi experiences – demonstrating that there’s no right way to be bi.
4. That support services recognise and include bi identities
Bi people are at a higher risk of discrimination within services, so it was fantastic to see representation of bi-specific and bi-inclusive support groups.
We spent the day next to the Bi Survivors' Network who provide a space where bi survivors can talk and find solidarity. We also spoke with Biphoria, a grassroots community organisation bringing together bi people in a safe and social setting.
5. An end to biphobia, and access to safe spaces for all
Biphobia is the fear or dislike of someone who identifies as bi based on prejudice or negative attitudes, beliefs or views about bi people. Biphobic bullying may be targeted at people who are, or who are perceived to be, bi.
Visibility and representation are crucial for bi people to feel pride in their identity. We look forward to working alongside Bi Pride UK in the future, to ensure all bi identities are accepted without exception.
This blog was written by Anna Campbell and Molly Maher, who attended Bi Pride 2019.