Fragmentation of Self

I’ve been having a lot of lightbulb moments in the past few months that have really helped me figure out why I feel so disjointed.

I think it started before Christmas. I caught the movie Let it Snow which had queer cast members and a queer storyline. Until then I hadn’t realised that I’d never seen a queer Christmas film. Only the occassional film with a pop up gay best friend or sibling who was promptly put away again. Let it Snow meant so much to me. I really enjoyed the film and its existance made me feel so jubilent. Here was something Christmassy – for me! Finally! In my 30s! And then it clicked that I had always subconsciously filed Christmas away as a straight thing.

Then I realised that was part of a bigger structure for me. I think for many bi+ people, the only way you can get by in the world is by seperating yourself and compartalising. It’s been a survival mechanism your whole life so you don’t even realise that you are in a dozen pieces. That you pull out the piece that is needed in that particular situation and push away the rest. And the result? You never really get to be your whole self anywhere. Unless, perhaps, you spend a long time alone because that allows all of you to slowly float back to the surface. Or you spend time with an emotionally safe person, friend, or partner. Or a cool bi event like BiCon! But the trouble is those good situations never last long. Even after the best evening in the world I can already feel my personality shifting as I walk to the tube the following morning, now that I’ve noticed that is what happens within me.

I think all this makes it hard for me to connect deeply with people in general. People can’t get to know YOU if only a part of you has come to visit. You can’t form close bonds with them if they visit your meterphorical house and you can’t let them see any of the rooms!

I had grasped before that I switch between the straight world (e.g work) or the gay world (going to an event at an LGbt centre, going to an LGBT bookshop – they never have a bi section). But I had never realised that I subconciously classified things as one or the other and fragmentated my personality accordingly. No wonder I always feel like there are at least 3 different people living in my head!

So I sat down with a piece of paper and thought about what else I had classed as ‘straight’ without realising. Here’s my list. Some are a lot more obvious than others.

  • Family & the notion of home – (dad and step-mum not ok with my sexuality, to the point where I can’t even mention I went to a queer event, let alone talk about a same-sex partner. Sister doesn’t understand LGBT+ issues)
  • Christmas – always hetero pairings in film and TV, issues surrounding non-accepting family you are obligied to spend time with.
  • Getting help with mental health
  • Socialising – ‘Do YOu HAve A boYfRiEnd!?’ seems to be the only question people can ask!
  • Being injured or ill and needing medical help – I try to avoid going to the Doctor’s as much as possible for these kinds of reasons.
  • Educational establishments – can’t risk coming out to classmates in case they don’t accept, straight-washed curiculum, etc.
  • Workplaces – can’t risk coming out to colleagues in case of non-acceptance or discrimination
  • Running and sports – I only realised this when I saw that London Pride held a 10k event and boxing training.
  • Reading – still very difficult to find good, queer books that don’t have biphobic content or stereotypical bi characters that lie, cheat etc.
  • Church – I was raised going to church every Sunday, yet still feel like I’m an abonimation when I sit in the congregation even though my denomination is generally accepting.
  • Legal stuff – things like marriage and the ability to name two mothers or two fathers on a birth certificate are still relatively new rights. Subconsciously I’d lumped all legal stuff like making a will into the straight category.

I’ve also written in the past before how I used a different name when going to LGBT events and when running Nottingham BiTopia. Over time this new name felt more ME and I began to use it in more and more areas of my life. However I still have to go by my dead, but legal name with anyone who knew me before the age of 23 or in the workplace, which doesn’t help with my disjointed sense of self. It’s hard to get people to change what they call you when they have known you by one name for 20+ years. And some people didn’t grasp the concept at all and called me “Hannah Oldname” instead of just Hannah which was super weird!

Anyway, I’m curious to hear from other people about this. Have you had a similar experience to me. Do you feel fragmented as you navigate between spaces? Is there anywhere you feel like you can be yourself completely, and unashamedly?

Straight washed history

Recently I went to one of my favourite places in London, the Imperial War Museum! Within seconds of walking in I was raiding the bookshop. One book by Stephen Bourne caught my eye. ‘Fighting Proud’ looks at the gay men who served in the armed forces or contributed to the war effort on the home front in World War I and World War II.


The image shows the book cover, which features a photo of two men in uniform embracing.

After just 10 pages I had to put the book down for a while because it invoked such a strong reaction in me. In the preface Bourne writes “In the 1970s I was completely unaware that, as a gay teenager, I had a history.” He then goes on to write that finding a book in the library changed that, and taught him that gay men had existed in the past.

I can relate to that feeling so strongly. Growing up and going to school under Section 28 meant that I only learned about LGBTQ+ issues and LGBTQ+ history by myself, looking up and reading about whatever I could after I had left secondary school. It’s hard to look up what you don’t know about though. And you can’t educate yourself on what you never think to search.

In the first few pages of Fighting Proud I learned that Wilfred Owen, the well known First World War soldier, was gay. WHAT?! How did I not know this sooner?! Siegfried Sassoon was too!

I feel shocked, angry, and cheated by the education system. Like nearly everyone in the UK, I studied their war poetry in my English lessons. This important part of who they were was never mentioned. (Although I’m not sure if this was directly because of Section 28, or whether the syllabus in general was ‘straight-washed’ and this part of their identity was conveniently not mentioned by teachers or the textbooks.)

I also learned that a play I studied in English called ‘Journey’s End‘ contains a lot of homoerotic subtext. Its original director James Whale was gay and the author R C Sherriff is thought to have been gay too.

In another chapter of Fighting Proud Bourne writes about Lord Kitchener. Again, another prominent figure in British history. Even if you don’t recognise the name or know he was a military leader in the First World War, you’ve probably seen his face on the famous recruitment poster. (The one where he points towards the viewer with the caption “Your country needs you.” written underneath.)

As is often the case in history there is no concrete evidence of Lord Kitchener’s sexuality. However he did live with a younger man, Captain Oswald ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald, for 9 years. Again after reading this I felt shocked, angry, and cheated about what little I had been taught in history class.

Perhaps it’s worth pondering at this point whether someone’s sexuality matters. After all, it’s not relevant to their war poetry, playwriting skills, or ability to lead to lead the troops to victory, is it? We still learn about them and their achievements all the same, don’t we?

But it matters to LGBTQ+ people. Without this knowledge we grow up not knowing the lives and stories of those who came before us. I hope it’s different for younger LGBTQ+ people out there today, but for the pre-internet and pre-social media generation this straight-washing of education meant growing up thinking you were the only one. That you were abnormal. New. A seed rather than something with roots to ground you and show you your place within the world. You grew up without role models. Without knowing that people like you have achieved amazing things and have been remembered in history for them. (Or in Kitchener’s case, a controversial figure rightly criticised for a lot of horrific stuff too.)

And everyone else grows up thinking LGBTQ+ people never existed in the past either. That being queer or trans is wrong and abnormal when actually, we’re really common! There’s thousands and millions of us! And lo and behold, the harmful myths and prejudices against LGBTQ+ people continue. So does the higher rates of violence, hate crime, and discrimination. Plus higher rates of mental health problems compared to the general population.

All this time there was so much I never knew. I never fully appreciated how robbed I was by the straight-washing of history until now, and this is just one small section of history from one book.

Without consciously realising it I had thought that everything I studied in school was ‘straight’ and I just had to accept it. But I don’t think that way any more, because now I know that I was denied my truth and I was lied to.

I’ve mentioned the well known folk from history in this blog post, however Fighting Proud is full of other previously untold stories. Thank you Stephen Bourne for bringing them into the spotlight where they belong.

Hello again

Content Note: bereavement, a death by suicide

Wow, how has it been two years since my last post here?

I guess I had nothing to say for a while.

And then early on in 2019 I found out that someone I knew from school had died by suicide a few months before. Whilst I didn’t know her well, and I hadn’t even spoken to her since we were teenagers, I care about her mum so much because she did a lot for me when I was young. Her mum was always around when things got tough. She got me a Saturday job by introducing me to the owners of a local shop. She sent a card when mum killed herself (which I still have, over 16 years later). And she let me sit in her class once, a few weeks after mum died, even though I had changed schools for 6th form by that point. This was an amazing thing for me as it meant I had somewhere safe to be for a while after my dad had a mental breakdown.

All of these acts of care from her are things that I have carried with me my whole life. So I have been so heartbroken since finding out about her daughter, Sophie. Especially as I know what it’s like to lose a loved one to suicde. Since I heard the news it has taken me a really long time to be able to return to the things I love, like writing, again.

Sophie was a truly wonderful person who was much loved by her friends and family. Between them Sophie’s parents have raised over £40,000 for Papyrus so far which is just mind-blowingly incredible. Please consider donating to this amazing suicide prevention charity if you have a spare pound or two. Every penny really does help someone who is great distress. And every penny donated helps to save a life.

The lastest fundraiser in memory of Sophie can be found here:

Thank you so much.

The highs and lows of Life is Strange

Warning: Spoilers within!

I don’t know about you, but I feel permanently exhausted by mainstream media and its heteronormativity. So I’ve been desperately searching for more LGBTQ+ books, shows, movies, and games to consume.

Buoyed by my discoveries of Gone Home and Tacoma I moved on to Life is Strange and was delighted to discover that (depending on what choices you make) there’s a romance between the two main characters. And normally you can have something queer or something good but not both so I’m happy to report that it was one of the most beautiful and moving gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

What’s it all about then?

Well, technically it is a game, but it would be more accurate to say that it’s essentially a story that plays out in front of you and in between scenes you explore and interact with your surroundings. During conversations with the people you encounter, various different answers pop up on the screen that you have to choose from. What you choose affects the game in subsequent scenes and episodes. And I mean really affects, like whether people live or die and not just something petty like you eat an apple instead of a banana. As a result you often find yourself sitting in front of the screen for 5-10 mins working out which option you want to take. How cool is it that a game makes you think like that?

The game is comprised of 5 episodes in total. I got all 5 for £15 on Steam and considering it took me 3-4 hours to complete each once I felt like it was very good value for money. The first episode is free so you can try it out without losing any money if you don’t like it.

You play a young adult called Max (short for Maxine), a college student studying photography in a small Oregon town on the coast. The game opens with you just finishing a class. When you visit the bathroom another teenage girl (Chloe) gets shot by a fellow student. In the trauma of the moment you discover you can rewind time and save her. Yay superpowers! (Later you can even use Polaroid photos to travel through time.)

And the young adult you saw get shot? Naturally she turns out to be your childhood BFF who you haven’t seen or spoken to in 5 years because you moved away…

…and she’s your romantic interest!

Neither of their sexualities are stated in the game but to me they both read as bisexual. Both young women are attracted to each other. Chloe has bisexual coloured hair and makes comments about having boyfriends in the past and a male teacher being hot. Max is into Chloe, but depending on how you play the game can be attracted to her friend called Warren too.


 Chloe with purple-pinky roots and blue hair.

Life is Strange has good writing, natural dialogue, and a really intriguing plot. There are two strands to the story. There’s the paranormal where you can rewind time and choose what you use your powers for. But your powers come with a heavy price (don’t they always?) – they will cause a tornado to appear in a few days’ time which will destroy the entire town. Whilst that is playing out in the background there’s also the human drama which propels the story forward. A girl from your school is missing – what happened to her? What’s her relationship to Chloe? Who in the school knows more than they’re letting on? And how does the mystery link back to your classmate who is clearly struggling with mental health problems and being bullied?

And now for the downsides…

It doesn’t take a genius to work out where some of this story is going. This kind of set up always leads to the same things. Naturally everyone is hiding something and no one is as they first seem. If the missing girl were to be found alive by the end of the game I’d eat my bobble hat. And my troubled classmate is either going to kill herself or I am going to have to try and stop her. As a suicide bereavement survivor this kind of content is very traumatic and makes me long for the day when games come with trigger warnings.

Here’s what I texted my friend about the game whilst I was playing:

“OMG the graphic design is so stunning. As is the voice acting. And the soundtrack of cool punk music + beautiful instrumentals is awesome. The friendship between Chloe and Max just keeps blossoming. And it has loads of subtle X-files references, like 10-13 written on hallway posters!”

Followed up by; “This happiness can’t last, can it? :( ”

See we’re all conditioned to know that we don’t get happy endings. Not us queer folk. Not in fiction. So I was bitterly disappointed to find that my suspicions were right. It was all too good to be true.

I won’t reveal the details in case you want to play the game yourself but if you don’t mind a few more spoilers I can tell you the end because knowing that won’t ruin the rest of the plot that much – it’s too separate from it.

End of game spoiler & discussion below

Your final choice boils down to either saving Chloe or saving the entire town from the tornado.

Arrghhhhhhh,” I texted my friend. “The only way to save Arcadia Bay is to kill my girlfriend!

I’d say, fuck the town,” she replied. (Which is understandable. She needs happy endings as much as I do. She’s still recovering from losing Lexa in The 100.)

Many fans feel the same, which spawned the phrase ‘BAE before Bay’.

That’s what I’m going to choose,” I replied. “Because I NEED a happy story. But urgh what a stupid choice. I’m so angry. I don’t want all the characters I’ve spent so long getting to know to just die in the storm. I knew this game was too good to be true!

Now as it happens, the little girl I live with came in to my room at that exact moment the game paused for me to pick between those two end options. She asked me what I was doing so I explained what the game was and how both options were so awful I didn’t want to choose.

You should save your girlfriend. Because…because you can always go and find a new town,” she said, perhaps not realising at the tender age of ‘nearly 6’ that meant people would die, not just that the buildings in the town would be destroyed. But still, I like the way she thinks!

The lowest of the lows…

I felt cheated because I had so carefully thought over every other single choice in the game. Whilst they impacted other threads of the story, it was really sad that ultimately none of them mattered if your only option is to either go back to the very start and erase everything you’ve been through or let the town be destroyed.

When you choose to save Chloe it really sucks because all those characters you’ve come to know? You never see them again. You don’t try to call Chloe’s mum or visit to diner to search for her and see if she survived. You don’t even get a short montage of college classmates and townfolk coming out of wrecked buildings to asses the damage or anything. So you don’t feel like you get any resolution and you’re made to feel like you selected the ‘wrong’ choice.

In order to feel like I’ve fully completed the game I know I’m supposed to rewind time and pick Chloe’s death instead. Which I do for completeness, and in another slap to the player only then are you allowed to witness a true kiss between these star-crossed lovers. Followed by a very long montage of heart-wrenching moments showing Chloe’s murder and everyone else grieving.

I hate that the writers have led me down this path and that’s what makes me feel utterly let down and hurt by this game’s ending. (Along with the fact that a lot of it can be classed as ‘torture porn’ as the game features sexual abuse, murder, characters being drugged etc. etc. which is also very upsetting.)

So, to use the name of the last episode, I feel so polarised…

On the one hand the first 3 episodes were some of the best gaming experiences of my life. I was moved beyond words. So utterly taken with these characters and their beautiful friendship and blossoming romance. Yet on the other hand I just felt so used and hurt by the ending. Especially considering that it didn’t have to be that way at all.

So what can we take away from all of this? Well thankfully I took a Polaroid of myselfie just after playing epsiode 3 so if I stare at it now…yes! Reality is changing!

– – – >past me reaches for the mouse in order to click ‘Play Episode 4’ < – – –

Future Me:No, wait! Listen. Don’t play any more. Enjoy what light this has brought into your life and leave it at that. Listen to punk music. Go and kiss women with bisexual coloured hair. Dye yours purple like you always wanted to. Get into photography because it looks so cool in the game. How about lumography?!

Past Me:Oh erm, well…

Future Me:Put a picture of Max and Chloe together on your wall. As your screen saver! Laptop and mobile!! Download the soundtrack. Listen to it everywhere. Dance. Fall in love!

Past me: “You’re kinda scaring me now. :/ Help.”

Me:Find your own Chloeeeeeeeeeeeee.”

– – – – Whooooooooosh. Time Travel!  Future me disappears – – – –

So as I had a sneaky suspicion about how the game would end I decided not to finish it. I’m really sorry as that means I can’t give you a full review but I’d rather not take the risk that it ends badly. The story that unfolded between Max and Chloe was so great I just want to give them a happy ending in my own head and keep it that way. I’ve read that a prequel was released last year and that a sequel is in the works too so I will have to check out their reviews to see if I want to delve deeper into this franchise.

If you’ve played either of the two games available do let me know what you thought of them. Did you go through the same highs and lows I did?

I can’t wait to replay the first few episodes of the game just to relive that joy again, and pick different choices so I can see how the various different outcomes unfold. I also love how it’s really inspired me creatively. I have the urge to write, draw, doodle, and journal.

There is a lot that is problematic about this game which makes me both angry and sad – but I can’t deny there is a lot about it that I love, including the representation of its bi characters. This is a story that is going to stay with me for the rest of my life. And to celebrate that I even printed off a picture and stuck it on my bedroom wall.


Max and Chloe walk along each side of the raised section of a railway track. Their arms are outstretched to keep themselves balanced and they are holding hands over the sleepers.

Being out as bisexual at work

Yesterday my boss was preparing to go on annual leave. Next week we will have our company-wide staff meeting so she gave my two co-workers and I a sheet of notes of things she would like us to discuss. There was a paragraph for each of us on the page, and we knew which one was ours as they had been colour coded according to our favourite colours. As it happens our favourites are pink, blue, and purple. My purple paragraph had been placed in the middle.

“Awwwww,” I said upon opening the document. “You’ve accidentally made the bisexual flag with your paragraph colours!”

My boss didn’t know there was a specific flag for bisexuality so looked it up, and we all talked about a few other things relating to flags, labels, and sexuality before returning back to work.

I thought about how lucky I was that I could use my bi activism to help me get a job (on two separate occasions now). As well as talk about this blog and the Big Bi Fun Day at work, and about bisexuality in general. I’ve been out in nearly every school/office/dead end job I’ve ever worked in, but this is the first time I’ve never been questioned, mocked, or made to feel unsafe because of it. In fact, I can safely discuss bisexual issues quite a lot.

If people are able to try coming out as bi at work they risk being treated differently and being viewed as an untrustworthy, indecisive, and unreliable colleague. They risk being passed over for job opportunities and promotions, being fired, or for people to make their working lives so miserable they have no choice but to leave. Bullying is rife in many offices.  I have either experienced all of these things firsthand or seen them happen to other people. As a bystander you can defend someone through actions such as shutting down gossip, supporting them in team meetings etc. but so much happens beyond the space you occupy. And when it’s management or a large group of people you often have very little power to stop it.

For most people it is still not safe to come out at work and it never will be. Often it means working alongside people who you know are biphobic, perhaps even having to put up with anti LGBTQ+ comments and behaviour every time you go in to work. Sadly it’s not limited to your colleagues – if there is no system in place for dealing with it then you may well have to endure the same from clients, service users, and/or volunteers too.

Depending on which study you cite, only 6-12% of bisexuals are out to their co-workers. A figure that is a lot lower than the numbers for gay and lesbian people which is around 40% – which of course is still a very low figure. (Stats from Invisible Majority, – thank you to @KivaBay for sharing this link on their Twitter timeline.)

I still stutter and stammer sometimes when my co-workers ask me about the events I run. Even though I know it’s ok to talk about it, it is hard to let go of the fear that automatically floods your veins and makes you freeze when someone mentions anything LGBTQ+ related in the workplace.

It is so amazing to have the support of my work colleagues and yesterday, after the ‘bi-coloured-meeting-notes incident’, I took a moment to appreciate how rare this is and how lucky I am to fall within that small percentage of the bi population.


Other resources

Bi Activism: For Those Who Like Reading

If you haven’t already seen it, please check out my
Intro to Bi Activism

Activism to do with books and stuff

  1. Google books by bi authors.
  2. Google books with bi characters in.
  3. Buy some!
  4. Or you can also ask your local library to order these books in for you
  5. Whilst there, look to see if they have an LGBTQ+ section. If not ask them to make one. If yes, is it labelled wisely or just called ‘Gay Books’?! Could they make a better label?
  6. Suggest bisexual related books they could order in for their (new) LGBTQ+ section. How about Purple Prose?
  7. Repeat steps 4, 5, 6 with your local book shops.
  8. If you think the library or book shop might say no, spend an hour looking up how many LGBT people are in your area, include that figure when you contact them. Explain we want to consume the books but can’t if they won’t stock them! Explain how much it will benefit us (wellbeing) and them (profits/increased readership) if they diversify their inventory.
  9. Did you enjoy any of the books you read after you Googled them? Share recs with friends and on social media.
  10. Contact the author to let them know!
  11. Contact the publisher to say it was ace – and you want more books like ’em.
  12. Follow all the cool, amazing writers you discover on social media. Sign up to their newsletters. Share their tweets. Attend their events and book signings. Make fanart. Write fanfic. Get a t-shirt with their book title/character on it.
  13. Did you come across any problematic content in a book? Were parts of it racist? Biphobic? Did it have one trans character in, who only existed as a victim of violence? Etc. Etc.  :/  If you have time and spoons contact the author and explain the problem and ask them to write differently in the future.
  14. Do you have an LGBT Centre in your area? Do they have a bookshelf of fiction and non-fiction that people can borrow? Repeat steps 4, 5 & 6!
  15. Is the LGBT Centre claiming to have no money for bisexual things? Tell them bi people outnumber gay and lesbian people they are letting down a majority of service users by not doing anything for bi people. Tell them bi people have worse physical and mental health than gay and lesbian people, which is in part caused by a lack of services and resources for them.
  16. Could your university/library/workplace/LGBT centre etc take out a subscription to Bi Community News (BCN)?
  17. Could you?
  18. If you write to BCN and ask for flyers they will send you some. You can distribute them around your area.
  19. Seeing as you’re now in contact with BCN, you could also write a book review for them of something you’ve enjoyed recently.
  20. Speaking of book reviews, maybe you could start a blog on bi books/bi authors?
  21. Google publishers.
  22. Is their catalogue lacking in diversity? Email them and ask for more books with LGBT characters, more books by bi writers, BAME writers, trans writers, disabled writers….heck even writers who are women! A lot of publishers aren’t doing a good job on that front either.
  23. Google LGBT publishers.
  24. Do they have any bi or trans stuff or is it just ‘Gay’ and ‘Lesbian’? If it’s a GL heavy zone return to step 22.
  25. Do you like zines? Are there any zine fairs in your area? Do they have a diverse array of stall holders or is it a straight blizzard in there? If yes, contact the organisers and ask ’em to sort it out. (Credit to @applewriter for this one.)
  26. Attend your local zine fair. Chat to zine makers. Talk about their stuff with them. BUY their zines. Repeat step 12!
  27. Are there any LGBT Book Awards out there? If so, nominate the books and authors you like. Vote for them if they are shortlisted.
  28. I personally haven’t been able to face DIVA again after reading all the biphobic content they used to print in the past. But they exist. Maybe they’re better now? Maybe you’ll like them?
  29. Damn I was so close to 30. Is there anything else I should add to this list?
  30. Thank you for reading and send me your bi book recs. Thanx.
bi books

Sketch of pile of books, purple background!

Intro to Bi Activism

Often we want to do more to increase our quality of life and promote inclusion but we don’t know what to do. Hopefully the posts listed below will give you some ideas to get you started.

If your activism isn’t inclusive of BAME bis, disabled bis, trans bis, older bis, younger bis, bis who practice a religion, fat bis…etc etc. then please STOP until you are willing to fight for everyone – not just people who look and act like you.

If you’re scared of saying and doing the wrong thing, don’t be. Don’t let your fears imprison you into inaction. Just keep reading about bisexuality and bi issues as much as you can. Learn about intersectionality. Listen to people who approach you with feedback and constructive criticism. Learn from it. Apologise for any mistakes. Say thank you that they’ve taken the time and energy to tell you.

It’s normal to get upset and angry in the face of erasure and biphobia but remember to channel these feelings in a constructive way. Don’t ever resort to trolling, abuse, harassment, or bullying.

You can do as little or as much as you want.
You can do as little or as much as you are able.

You are not better than anyone else for doing more.
You are not worse for doing less.

And you don’t need a lot of time or money to make a difference.

Mentor and be a friend to those who reach out for help with following in your footsteps. Don’t forget to thank any people who mentor you!

So far I have written:

WOW Festival: Women & Finance

Recently I attended the absolutely amazing Women of the World Festival which is held every March at the Southbank Centre in London. As always with these type of events choosing one panel to attend out of the 7 or 8 in each time slot is so hard because they all look so good. Do you choose the ones that appeal to you the most, or the ones that you find less interesting but will plug your knowledge gaps? Either way you have to accept that you can’t get to them all!

Yet the ones I did attend were fascinating. Hearing so many knowledgeable, talented women share their experiences and call out the misogyny in the world felt so liberating. Hearing what women are doing to combat it was inspiring and empowering. In some of the larger talks there were more people than seats and when I looked around the room I saw everyone paying rapt attention. I felt like part of a congregation listening to a sermon.

Turning 30 and realising that I have no money to save at the end of each month led me to attend a lot of finance related talks this year. I learnt a lot about myself and women & finances as a result. I wanted to share some of that knowledge here in case it helps empower someone reading in the way that attending these workshops helped empower me.

<<Note: a lot of the stats below come from research done by The Fawcett Society and the Chartered Insurance Institute whose members headed up some of the panels. Check out the reports listed at the end of this post for more information.>>


Firstly, I learnt that several factors contribute to women being less financially literate than men:

  • Girls are not encouraged to study maths at school.
  • Girls and young women are steered away from finance related professions.
  • Traditionally, society has dictated that in a partnership women deal with home and child care whilst men deal with the dough. Society has fostered a culture which encourages women to feel like they should let men deal with the money.
  • This feeling is exacerbated by the confidence society places in men about their ability to deal with finances; men overestimate and women underestimate their knowledge and capabilities.
  • In the media women are usually the assistants, the secretaries, the moms, the care-givers but rarely do you see a film about female business owners, investors, insurers, bankers, or CEOs etc. etc.
  • Finance products such as pensions, investments, and buying stock, are designed, written, and advertised in ways that cater to men rather than women – and so therefore exclude women.
  • Women are more time poor – so have less opportunity to learn about finances
  • When women seek the counsel of a financial advisor, they are given biased advice because of their gender! Of the women who have an advisor, 73% feel misunderstood by them showing that their needs are not being met as much as men’s.

And I’m sure there are many more reasons that we can add here too. Feel free to comment below with any that you think of.


This financial illiteracy is then combined with economic disadvantage.

Women are more likely to be living in poverty. More likely to be unemployed. Are paid less for the work they do, even when doing the same job as men. They are more likely to work part time – and part time workers are paid less per hour. 86% of lone parent families are headed by women. They are less likely to put themselves first, if they have spare money it will go on the home or the kids. Women are disproportionately affected by domestic and financial abuse.

There are many more facts I could list but I’ll stop there for now…


Together the two factors lead to some shocking results:

  • There is a 32% gap in insurance wealth between genders.
  • Men are twice as likely to hold stocks and shares.
  • After a divorce women experience a 10% dip in income whilst the man’s income increases.
  • 71% of divorcing couples don’t discuss their pension, leading women to miss out on £5bn every year.
  • At the age 65-69 men’s average peak pension wealth is five times that of women’s.
  • Because women are more likely to live longer and will experience more years of ill health in later life – they will have to pay more for their care in old age. This is made harder because they will have less assets as state provision declines and they are less likely to own their own home. And remember their pensions worth less!

This all really shocked me and in the panels I felt like bursting into tears, because if this is the state of affairs for women in general – then for bisexual women (who are already more likely to be affected by abuse, poverty, and disability) the situation will be worse.


Image shows a pound sign over a bi coloured background.


So what can we do to help ourselves?

Non-UK based readers – please Google the equivalent sites for your country.

Read websites such as Savvy Women and Money Saving Expert inside out.

Buy books on financial advice, or visit your local library. If they don’t have a book you want you can request them to order it in.

I understand that debt is complex and not everyone will be able to break out of it- but if lack of knowledge is hindering you, start by reading this sections of Money Saving Expert or Citizen’s Advice Bureau and take it from there.

If finances allow, seek advice from a financial advisor and a pension advisor. The women on the panels advised to ask questions and get explanations if there is anything that crops up that you don’t understand. It’s not your fault for not knowing or not understanding – it’s their job to explain it properly to you!

Bisexuals often lack support from their families. Especially if you have suffered abuse in the past or been cut off after coming out. This means that we lack a safety net many others have if something goes wrong. If we can no longer work – who will take care of us? How will we pay the rent and the bills? We might be able to cover a short term shock but what about if illness or disability knocks us out of action for a long time? For this reason it might be worth looking at critical illness cover.

If you know of any future shocks lurking on the horizon you can prepare for them. This wasn’t something I had thought about before. So with me for example I have huge dental problems. I have an open bite which means 8 of my back teeth are doing all the work. In my teens and early 20s they all got fillings. Ten years on these are all turning into crowns. It’s costing me hundreds of pounds each time that I don’t have – and the next tooth could fall apart at any time. Last time it happened I had to take out a loan to cover the cost! I’ve only just paid it off. I didn’t know until I attended these panels that I could either get a special dental insurance or ‘self insure’ – by setting up an account and paying a sum into it each month. £30 per month means £360 each year – which would cover the cost of one crown per year from now on and/or the root canal work and implants I will likely need in the future.

For other people it may be car troubles, house repairs, uniforms when kids start a new school…anything.

In fact, even if there are no shocks you know of coming up, build up your emergency fund anyway if you don’t already have one. You never know when you might need it.

If you don’t have much just do whatever you can. If you’ve got £5 per month to save, then save it.

And if it all feels too much – just read a page of a website per day.

Finally the women leading the panels also said don’t feel guilty and don’t beat yourself up. What’s done is done. Don’t feel bad about anything in the past such as the way you used to spend, decisions you made, or not knowing stuff. What matters is where we take our lives from here.


So thank you to all involved in the Women of the World Festival. I’ll be seeing you in 2019!


Information in the article from:

You Are Not Alone

When you’re attracted to more than one gender it can be incredibly isolating. Often you’re the only person you know who is like you. You are the sole bisexual at home. You are the only bi in school/the office. You hang out with your straight/gay friends after work. Perhaps you have a gay/straight partner you can spend time with too.

Maybe you have some bi friends and attend several bi events every year, but once your time together has passed it’s back to being the only one (that you know of?) until next time.

Daily life is exhausting. Being the only one wears you down and affects your mental and physical health. A lot of the time my heart sinks when I step out of the front door in the morning because I know I have another day full of heternormativity, bi-erasure, and micro-aggressions ahead of me. And yet I know I’m lucky and privileged. I am safe. I have a job. I always have enough. Even if it is dispersed around the country, I am part of bi community. Most days do not involve discrimination,  harassment, or overt biphobia.

When I feel alone I come on my site and look at the stats map.

map of world

The image shows a map of the world. Scores of countries are highlighted yellow or orange.

If a country is coloured in it means 1 or more person has viewed this site from that location. The darker the colour, the more hits from that area.

I know this probably looks like I’m trying to inflate my own ego or something. I’m sorry about that. I just wanted to show you this map of the world because it contains just one year’s worth of data from one small website. Yet WordPress logged hits from 84 separate countries! Assuming all of this traffic was not made up of accidental clicks by monosexuals then imagine how many more of us are out there.

We are not alone. We exist in every single place on Earth. I draw a lot of comfort from that.

Had more sex with cis-men than any other gender..?

I grew up in a small town that was very white, Christian, and straight so unsurprisingly in my teenage years there were not many opportunities for a bisexual to share affection, kiss, or have sex with anyone apart from cisgendered boys. Though once when I was 14 I snogged a girl in the year below me at school whilst at a local band night.

And then that was it until I moved hundreds of miles away from home to go to university four years later.

From then on I found it really hard to let other women know I was interested in them and explore things beyond kissing for several reasons. Low self-esteem, being covered in eczema, past abuse, but also because…then what!? We only received very basic sex ed in school which didn’t mention anything apart from heterosexual penis-in-vagina sex so I had absolutely no idea what to do next. (Or even for that matter, enough knowledge of sex, pleasure, and anatomy to be able to tell others what would make sex enjoyable for me.)

The aforementioned things are all difficult obstacles to overcome. Plus bis are so hypersexualised that potential partners often assume you’ve had a lot of sex already. In fact, many women who are curious and are looking to experiment have said that they’d like to have sex with me because I’m experienced and can show them what to do! (I’m flattered my personality and love of Doctor Who counts for so much.) So yikes, no pressure then.

When faced with that situation I would retreat into my shell like a turtle. I still do! Though when I have the spoons I also challenge their biphobic assumptions and explain that being bi does not automatically make you anyone’s sex teacher. I’m not an object for your ‘practice run’ either (so you can presumably experience the ‘real thing’ with a monosexual later).

It wasn’t until 23/24 onwards that I started to have sex with people who weren’t cis men. I know there must be many others out there who have or are experiencing something similar. For those who realise they have, or develop, an attraction to the same-sex later in life you may well be in your 30s, 40s, or 50s, and have ‘only’ had sex with cis men. I imagine older bis might feel the pressure of people thinking they should know what they are doing by that age.

(See also, ‘You can’t be bi, if you were you would have known about it by now/tried it when you were younger!)

It doesn’t matter how much or how little sex any of us have had in our lives but we are all socialised to feel like it does and society judges us by it.

Some people seem to think bisexuality can only be granted as a label when you’re able to rattle off a long list of sexual experiences but people aren’t conquests, achievements, or objects that give you a certain status.

So what does all this mean?

It means that, if you experience either a sexual and/or romantic attraction to more than one gender you are bisexual/pansexual/biromantic/demisexual regardless of any sexual experience you may or may not have had. Congratulations! It’s impossible to be ‘not bi enough’.

It means that, if someone thinks they have the right to challenge what label you use to identify yourself as because of knowledge they hold about your sexual history (e.g. ‘you can’t call yourself bi, you’ve only had sex with men’), you can tell them to fuck off!

It also means that, if people don’t believe you and question you about your sexuality (e.g ‘But HOW can you be suuurre you’re X if you’ve only done Y, hmmmmm?’), then you can also tell them to fuck off!

Or you can be more polite about it but you get the idea. You don’t have to justify or explain your sexuality to anyone else.

For a lot of people who really want to have to have (more) sex with women but a lack of knowledge feels like a huge barrier I recommend reading Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon. It’s a really informative book full of hints, how-to guides, and diagrams. Its content covers communication, pleasure, and consent, and the book is trans inclusive.