First Bi Awareness Training

Recently I gave my first Bisexuality Awareness Talk to a County Council LGBT Network group. I was a little nervous as I’ve never done one before; normally I delegate all training to @unchartedworlds!  However everything went fine and it turned out to be the perfect starting point for a newbie. There were only a handful of people there and everyone was very welcoming and friendly. We even went to the pub together afterwards! Everyone listened well and respected what I had to say, and it was nice to see the penny drop for some of them with regards to busting bi myths and why it’s important to know about bi issues. I hope my training has some kind of ripple effect across services provided by the County Council, even if they’re just teeny tiny waves.

I thought I would post a rough break down of my talk here as it might be useful for anyone who has been thinking about accepting invitations to give training but isn’t quite sure where to start.

Please consider this a starting point rather than any kind of definitive list or a guide of how it should be done!

Hannah’s Talk

  1. Introduction
  2. Talk about my bi group BiTopia, what the group does, how it helps people and what kind of issues we face, why we need the group.
  3. Definitions of bisexuality, from The Bi Index and Robyn Ochs.
  4. Run down of myths about bisexuality – then busting them! E.g. greedy, can’t commit to relationships, disease carriers, 50/50 attraction to men and women, are transphobic, on the way to gay, everyone is bisexual really…
  5. Bi erasure, what it is and what the effects of it are.
  6. Linking the above points together to describe how the prejudices against bi people result in discrimination, erasure, harassment and violence in our everyday lives in the areas below.
    • Relationships
    • The workplace
    • The Media
    • “LGBT” Spaces
    • Accessing healthcare
    • Asylum Seekers
    • Internalised Biphobia
    • Hypersexualisation
  7. Talking about experiences of Bi POC/looking at racism in LGBT spaces.
  8. Why it’s important to include bi people, and why people should look at bi issues separately instead of lumping them together with L&G
  9. How to include bisexuals
  10. Bi Groups, Events and Media in the UK, handing out leaflets and resources.
 
Hannah’s  Sources
 
 
I just picked out a few things from each resource when I emailed over my sources but there is of course much more contained in each one.
 
 
The Bisexuality Report published by the Open University
  • The story of an employer discriminating against a colleague/not considering them for a promotion because they’re bisexual.
  • Bisexuals have significantly higher rates of mental health issues and substance misuse than gay/straight people.
  • Also quotes the US study which found more bisexuals than the number of gay & lesbians put together.
 
Complicated? report from The Equality Network
  • Stats about bisexuals having to deal with discrimination and harassment when accessing health care.
  • Guide on how to include bisexuals can be found from page 8
Bisexual Resource Centre
 
Bi Women Stats on Violence 
  • Bi women have highest rates of rape/sexual assault (It’s a tumblr account but it cites reputable academic sources.)
BiPhoria and The Guardian Newspaper
  • Bisexuals are the least likely to be out at work (They both cite a Stonewall study which I can’t find the link to!)
    BiPhoria Link
    Guardian Link
The National Lesbian & Gay Taskforce (now renamed to LGBT Taskforce)
  • Bisexuals have poorer rates of mental, physical and sexual health www.brown.edu
Williams Institute
  • US Study: number of bisexuals is a slight majority over the numbers of gay & lesbian people.
Steve Ratcliff of The Co-Operative
  • Talk about bisexuality, and mentions how in the last staff survey there are more bisexuals than lesbians in the Respect Network for The Cooperative Group.
YouGov Poll
The Telegraph

One unexpected positive side effect of doing the talk was learning the stats around bisexuality helped me combat some of my internalised biphobia. The facts clearly show we are not bad people who are the cause of all of our own hardships; our societies are to blame. The world isn’t an accepting or safe space for us. It’s not us that needs to change.

Now whenever someone has the audacity to tell me bisexuals have it easy, I start reeling off the stats until they get point!

Huge thank you to @unchartedworlds and everyone in the BiCon Facebook Group for coaching me before the talk and giving me lots of tips and advice.

As always, feedback and suggestions are welcome.

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