Friday, 7 August 2015

#StillBisexual video


I had loads of fun making this video. Paring down the story to short sentences that fit into two minutes whilst trying to maybe be entertaining was a challenge, but I'm just glad I have a colourful collection of sharpies!

This is part of a campaign to address the issue that people often see bisexuals as 'now' gay or straight once they enter into a committed relationship, rather than being still bisexual, as the title suggests. To find out more visit stillbisexual.com; there are loads of wonderful stories on there; and if you're inspired to make your own video, there is a clear instructions page.

Here's the script of my video, but I recommend watching it first.



· I fell in love with a boy at drama group in 2004.
I was 12. It was unrequited. I was heartbroken.
· The first guy to ask me out asked me that same year.
We went to the cinema with his mum. He didn’t kiss me :(
· I met another boy at a fancy dress party age 13.
He was Danny from Grease, I was Pocahontas. He was soooo cute.
We went to the cinema, alone. He didn’t kiss me either :(
· I fell in love with one of my friends at my girls-only school in 2006, age 14.
We went to the cinema, alone, and I was so happy just to spend time with her.
We made out in the back row :D
She was my first kiss. When she dumped me, I was heartbroken.
I let my friend kiss me to cheer me up, he was very sweet.
I came out as bi to a new group of friends at a new school age 16.
They were totally cool with it.
· A boy asked me out, we had fun, we even went on a canal holiday.
He dumped me; God told him to.
· I asked a girl out and she said “I can’t think of a reason not to.”
· After her, a boy in my friendship group and I had a fling but no one understood why.
I came out as bi to my parents when I was 18.
I thought my mother had a problem with it for years.
I was wrong :)
· A boy in first year at uni almost, but then didn’t, want me.
I had fun with some of my friends who were boys. I was 20.
· I went to a party, met a girl, we got our faces painted.
In the morning, there was paint everywhere.
Had another one night stand, with a boy. We had fun. We never spoke again.
· Had a failed first date with a boy from a party.
· In 2015, I went to the aquarium with the boy from the drama group.
That went well :D
I think we are such a cute couple.
I am #StillBisexual.
I have been lucky. Others haven’t.

Help me stop the suffering. Spread the word. We as #StillBisexual.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

My sexuality as a hobby

Mostly, I work. That is what spend most of my time doing. I'm a freelance stage manager, and each job is generally 3-8 weeks long, and there is a basic schedule that productions follow. This means my hours generally go in a cycle that looks like this:

Rehearsals Mon-Sat 8.30am-7.30pm (sometimes later)
Technical/Dress Rehearsals 8.30am-11pm (sometimes so much later it's early again)
Show Call 5pm-11pm or 12pm-11pm on matinees.
- rehearsals for the next job might start whilst I'm on show call for the previous one.

With such a cycle, I have no time that I can guarantee I will be free on a regular basis so my ability to have a hobby is somewhat limited. Downtime that I get is either spent on essential rest (which trust me, you need as well as enough sleep to function) like watching TV and painting my nails; or catching up with life stuff, like doing my grocery shop/cooking/laundry/accounts/reminding friends I'm still alive.

I don't count TV or reading as real hobbies, as they don't feel interactive enough to elicit the term, and I mostly do my reading whilst travelling anyway. And the fact that I manage to have any sort of love life or sex life is almost miraculous.

The only activity that I do on a regular basis is church. Sunday mornings are the only thing close to a regular free slot, and even then I do work on Sundays occasionally anyway. So I would count church as a hobby, "an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure", as well as my faith, religion and a social event. I get a lot out of it, I miss it when I can't do it, and because I sing the choir, it has some level of improving a skill.

The only other thing I see as hobby in my life is my interest in my sexuality. To be more specific, my interest in the experience of bisexuals, the changing understanding of what it means to be a bisexual, the way bisexuals are seen and treated in the world, and beyond that the implications on gender, and the changing understanding of gender and biological sex.

I'm not a fanatic hobbyist. As you, dear reader, know, I don't keep up this blog with any efficiency, nor my erratic attempts at Youtube videos. At best, I keep abreast of LGBT related news, discuss things like "is the soul gendered?" with friends, and I'm generally vocal about being bisexual in a sort of understated flag-waving way.

The point of this post is it's interesting, and seen as a little bit odd, to deem one's sexuality as a hobby, even to the low level with which I am involved. Such a personal part of my identity is somewhat private anyway, so to toe the line of talking about my sexuality without delving into the details of what I get up with whom - which is a breach of trust with said partners - is a tricky situation to be in. For me, it's more of an interest that I dip into when I can. Is it narcissistic? Is it just wanting to talk about myself and learn about myself? I think that's part of it. But it's not the route cause of calling my sexuality a hobby.

As I said in my list above, my interest is broader than my own personal sexuality. It is beyond psychology, into sociology and anthropology. That includes my general desire to make the world a better place for bisexuals, because I'm lucky enough that it doesn't bother me a lot in my life, so I have a duty to do what I can from my position of privilege to work on behalf of those less fortunate to improve their lives and prevent others from suffering in the first place. My hobby, as in the activity, is bringing it up in conversation, being proactively 'out', calling people out of biphobia, sharing posts about bisexuality on social media, consuming material written and made about bisexuality, even signing petitions that are relevant to improving the world we live in for bisexuals and other minorities that do not conform to social gender expectations.

That said, it's still only my hobby. It's not my crusade. I'm in awe of those who dedicate so much time and effort into the cause, but I would not want to be one of them. It's an odd place this middle ground. I feel a kind of sense of guilt that I don't do more, but I do feel I at least do something, and right now, I don't feel in a position to do more.

People find it a little strange. It is a little strange. But if my minor involvement in the bisexual community, my nudge here and complaint there IRL against biphobia, my rambling blog posts that appear at odd and prolonged intervals - if both I and other people get something out of that (and from messages and comments in response to posts and videos, other people do) then it's a great hobby. I can't help it if some people don't want to talk about the complicated and fascinating way humanity falls in love, has sex, and deals with relationships - I do. And I think the world would be in a better place if it wasn't hushed up under an cover of propriety and the myth of spontaneity, this pedestal on which organic romantic and sexual relationships have been put, as if anyone has any idea what they are doing until they learn what others have done before them, to then work out what is right for them. Talk about love, talk about sex, get educated, spread ideas, communicate with the people you have relationships with.

That is why my sexuality is my hobby and I don't care if it's weird, I enjoy it, others do too, and I think we're having a small but positive impact on making the world just a little bit better.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Bi Visibility Day 2015 Thunderclap

Click here to auto-tweet in morning in the UK (9:30AM BST) and here to auto-tweet in the morning in the US (11:00AM CDT - I'm doing both!).

Also start thinking about what you'll do with your day. Are you near any events? Can you get to further away events? Is there anyone you would like to invite/go with to an event? Listings here http://www.bivisibilityday.com/year2015/ which will fill up with details as the day draws nearer. Good tip from this page - be aware of Jewish friends holding Yom Kippur on 23/9 this year.

I generally only have time for a Facebook/Twitter spree, which friends tell me is quite positive action - flood your feed with stuff and even with FB's algorithms, something gets through to everyone. As long as it's not in your face or angsty, no one wants that in quantity on a day of celebration. I try and paint my nails, wear my "Keep Calm It's A Bisexual" tee shirt, rainbow pin on my coat, and just find ways to mention it in conversation whether at work on socialising.

s23 bis everywhere woody

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Being a young bisexual

Since I started reading up on bisexuality and getting involved with the online community, it was impossible not to become aware of the great history and legacy that led up to 14yr old me starting this blog in 2007, having realised and accepted my bisexuality seamlessly and without hassle. That would have been an unlikely scenario in the year I was born, 1992.

I have a lot to thank older bisexuals for. I know they aren't going to like that term, but 23yr old bisexuals are older bisexuals to me! So it's a large group and of the ones I've met, there don't seem to be many bisexuals who act 'old' anyway, so I use the term out of respect that many bisexuals have been working so hard for decades before I was even a twinkle in my mother's eye, and meant I could eventually tell said mother of my swerve away from the norm and not get thrown out the house immediately.

The stalwarts of the community and pioneers of our campaign for awareness, equality and respect amaze me when I look back at all they have done, and are still doing. The reason for this post is that I was struck by how young I am with only 7yrs involvement when I came across the Bisexual Manifesto. I clicked the link thinking "Oh my God, we have a manifesto??" As a stage manager, the sheer organisation alone was inspiring. And then I read it.

The 1990 Bisexual Manifesto
We are tired of being analyzed, defined and represented by people other than ourselves, or worse yet, not considered at all. We are frustrated by the imposed isolation and invisibility that comes from being told or expected to choose either a homosexual or heterosexual identity.

Monosexuality is a heterosexist dictate used to oppress homosexuals and to negate the validity of bisexuality.

Bisexuality is a whole, fluid identity. Do not assume that bisexuality is binary or duogamous in nature: that we have "two" sides or that we must be involved simultaneously with both genders to be fulfilled human beings. In fact, don’t assume that there are only two genders. Do not mistake our fluidity for confusion, irresponsibility, or an inability to commit. Do not equate promiscuity, infidelity, or unsafe sexual behavior with bisexuality. Those are human traits that cross all sexual orientations. Nothing should be assumed about anyone’s sexuality, including your own.
We are angered by those who refuse to accept our existence; our issues; our contributions; our alliances; our voice. It is time for the bisexual voice to be heard. - From the wealth of knowledge that is the Bialogue Tumblr (original attribution: the historic Bay Area Bisexual Network publication Anything That Moves)

And all my inspiration and pride deflated slightly, as I thought "24 years later, and not a lot has changed." However, the one thing that can be said as a positive over two decades later is our voices are being heard. There are more of us speaking, we're louder, we're in the White House for pity's sake, and whilst we're only inching our way to true change, we seem to have got somewhere. For example, my friends' responses to my intense Celebrate Bisexuality Day Facebook output, and my less intense but still visible Bi Awareness Week Facebook contributions, were all positive.

Sure we still have to make a lot of noise, A LOT, to finally be heard, but our strike rate seems to have gone up. So I stand behind this manifesto because it represents part of a wave that I am part of now when it is bigger and stronger than it was then.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

My Bisexual Story: 14-22yrs old, The Video

For today's BiWeek hashtag (#BiMedia) and also as as contribution to the Bi+ Story Project (www.bistoryproject.org) here is my story. You've probably seen or read a lot of the information before, but I've been a bit more succinct this time!


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

BiVisibility - love not hate

My love is like anyone else's love. Being a minority, we can be seen - and also see ourselves - as intrinsically different. That's not an unusual phenomenon, because everyone wants to be special. But we're asking the haters to realise that there truly are more than two boxes (straight or gay) so why should we go against our own advice, and try and live in the world that we want, rather than the reality that we live in?

I'm not trying to accuse anyone of egotism or narcissism, nor am I disparaging the great work that bi activists have done for decades, flying our flag and making our voices heard. The work must continue; on this Bi Visibility Day 2014, we have every duty to be loud and proud (if we want to, and if we're in circumstances where it will not lead to harmful consequences) I don't disagree with that. But I want to take this opportunity to remind us to not get caught up in our own hysteria and start thinking of the bisexual community as superior.

Not many do. Sure, there are militant bisexuals who take it too far, but there aren't many of them, and we need to keep it that way. It is a great temptation, to me as much as any other person under the bisexual umbrella, to feel smug at my liberal and progressive gender knowledge/opinions; to scoff at ignorant plebs who still work on the gender binary system; to feel intense hate towards those who will not listen and spread suffering among the LGBT people that I love as my extended family.

But my love is like anyone else's love. Yes, there are polyamorous lovers, asexual lovers, and aromantics, plus a whole host of people who you could say technically love differently to me personally. What I mean is that I am a human being, and complex as I am, every other human being is just as complex, and more importantly, every other human being is worth no more and no less than me. So I have no right to feel smug, to scoff, or to hate - in fact, if being bisexual is a core part of my identity, and so if the way I love is so important, I am betraying myself by hating anyone or anything. It's not just unhelpful and nasty, its unbisexual.

Today is a day to celebrate. Take today's joy and love and carry it through the difficult times, and don't give into hate.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

LGBT at a Christian festival

Outerspace is the LGBT organisation at the Greenbelt Festival, an annual festival that started as Christian music in 1974, and has turned into an ecumenical and interfaith celebration of arts, faith and justice. I went to Greenbelt for the first time last year on the coat tails of my rector who was speaking in one of the debates. It was only for a day, and not being one of those young people who enjoys rock concerts or festivals, I wasn't really sure how to 'do' a festival, so I enjoyed myself but left feeling like I hadn't really seen a lot.

This year, on the tip of a friend at church, I applied for an internship with the events company hired by the Greenbelt charity to put up, manage, and take down the site. This meant spending three weeks stuck on an estate in the arse end of the middle of nowhere (but don't get me wrong, it was gloriously beautiful http://www.boughtonhouse.co.uk/boughton-estate/), and during the four days of the festival itself [the August Bank Holiday] I experienced as much as possible of the music, arts, debates, talks, and worship that was put on outside of my shift hours.

Professionally and spiritually, I felt inspired and enriched. But I was a little blindsided by how much I was affected personally in my experience of the LGBT events put on be Outerspace. I had googled whether there was anything LGBT at the festival and resolved to go to the Outerspace stall. It was when I was there that I was delighted to find several LGBT events taking place as well.

There was a interesting debate about marriage, and how the church is dealing with it. It was a little sad to hear one of the participants advocating a third option to add the choices of marriage and celibacy, and seeming to be under the illusion that he was advocating something fair and just, when in fact his ideas were plain suggestions for inequality. There was a conversation about the general state of LGBT issues in Christianity, followed by lovely worship that included various LGBT Christians sharing their stories. The much acclaimed Rev Andrew Cain spoke of being the first ordained priest in the CofE to marry his husband after the UK instigated the marriage bill in April, and being stripped of his licence to minister; and a woman spoke of meeting another woman, falling in love, and feeling a call to marriage, but realising that she had to choose between that call and her call to ministry and ordination - she chose the latter and they are now civilly partnered as she starts her training. They sang an a cappella two part harmony duet version of Down By the River to Pray, and whilst the singing was gorgeous, it was the glances at each other that tugged at my heart strings.

These were all wonderful, but it was one other event that hit me to my core. At 10pm on the Saturday, one of the small venue marquees filled up with people, and so began the Outerspace Eucharist. It started with a quick introduction to Outerspace, and then there was an invitation to those who, since Greenbelt last year, had had an anniversary, gotten engaged/civilly partnered/married, or come out to stand up so we could celebrate with them. I was surprised and elated to see a member of my own home congregation stand up at the call for those who had come out; I made sure I went over to him at the peace and gave him a great big hug.

It was a solid Anglican service after that, barring the rainbow altar cloth and rainbow stole on the gay priest. His sermon made me cry. I don't remember all of it - I think it was mostly about how we're slowly getting to a good place with the church and we need to keep going - but he ended by holding up a piece of yellow paper. He said he had been tidying around the Outerspace stall earlier that day, and found it on the floor, and upon reading it, immediately wanted to send it to every bishop in the CofE, with a note saying something along the lines of "In regards to how you treat LGBT people and issues in the church, read and take note." He then explained that it was a child's wordsearch, and the theme was 'Tips For Keeping Friends'. And he read out the list of words to find in a quiet, measured tone, and it was this that brought me to tears.

Be supportive
Be encouraging
Don't tease or belittle
Cooperate
Compromise
Be considerate
Talk openly about disagreements
Apologise when you've done something wrong
Listen to each other
Give each other a compliment
Be dependable
Respect each other
Be trustworthy
Care about each other
We try and teach our children to be good people and good citizens, and this list may seem simplistic in the face of the complex theological, scriptural, religious, philosophical, and sociological arguments about being LGBT in Christianity. But we cannot let the gumpf and fluster make us forget the simple truths we learnt as children in how to treat each other. The preacher was right when he pointed out that it sometimes feels like that has been lost in the conversation, and this needs to be fixed.

I've been lucky to not meet people who disapprove of my orientation. I have been blessed to find a church that not just accepts me, but welcomes me and even celebrates me! And I have 'known' that there's Christian support for LGBT people outside of my church as well. But at Greenbelt, I was overcome by the realisation that it was the first time I had truly believed it, because I experienced it, I saw it, and heard it, and my cup runneth over with the support and joy of Christians for LGBT people on a grand scale. It was heart-warming and inspired great hope for the future.