This year, Bi Pride UK became an essential event for many bi people in London, and one of the few chances for us to get together and celebrate our differences.
As well as making space for neurodiversity, keeping accessibility paramount, and holding discussions on mental health, Bi Pride UK was the only Pride I’d ever been to with a sensory room, and the only Pride where I felt fully welcomed.
For many bi people like me, in the past, Prides have occasionally been isolating experiences. It wasn’t just because of biphobia from individuals; it also came from the way Prides were organised and spoken about: they were mislabelled as Gay Prides, even though the first-ever Pride parade was started by bisexual activist Brenda Howard, or the messaging around them spoke only of lesbians and gay people. In some instances, the actions of a few others, combined with bi-erasive messaging, made many bi people feel like mainstream Prides weren’t for them. This is why events like Bi Pride are so important.
Prides, also, are often inaccessible to large numbers of the bi community, either through explicit exclusion of partners and families, or through a lack of provision for neurodiversity and accessibility. This last point is particularly important – LGBT people are more likely than non-LGBT people to have a disability, and within this, bi people are more likely to have a disability than lesbians and gay people.
As well as this, in every LGBT space and group I’ve been involved with, I’ve encountered bi people unsure if they’re ‘queer enough’ to enter the space, unsure if they can bring or mention partners, and who’ve been left feeling isolated from their community. This has even happened in spaces run either primarily or entirely by bi people.
Bi inclusion has to be consciously worked towards by everyone.
Because of this, and the exclusion mentioned above of bi people from some Prides, bi inclusion has to be consciously worked towards by everyone. Many Prides have already put in place measures to address this, and Bi Pride UK is helping educate organisations on how to be more bi inclusive.
Bi Pride was a great example of what an inclusive Pride could and should look like.
Bi Pride was a great example of what an inclusive Pride could and should look like. At the event, everyone was given the chance to support the bi community and the bi people in their lives; now more than ever, it’s crucial for allies to support more or differently marginalised members of the LGBT community.
Seeing so many allies at the event, either as partners, friends, family members, or attending alone, was as heartening as seeing the number of bi people in attendance. Throughout the year, this show of solidarity will remind me that bi people are loved and supported by others, both LGBT and non-LGBT alike.
I’m thrilled Bi Pride UK will be returning to London on 5 September 2020. Next year, given the success of 2019’s Bi Pride, I’m also really excited to see they’ll be holding a Bi Pride outside of London. They’re currently taking suggestions on where to hold this. To make a suggestion, and to keep up with their work, visit the Bi Pride website.