Workshop Outline: Coming Out

In April I presented a workshop at London BiFest. I wanted to share my notes on here so that anyone who is thinking about running a session at an event can use this as a resource or a place to get ideas.

The first thing I did was write an outline for the session guide which had to be submitted in advance. You can see the guide from London BiFest 2017 here, but for convenience I’ve copied mine below.

 

“14:30 – 15:30 Session 2A: Coming Out

Facilitator: Hannah Bee.

A facilitated group discussion on everything to do with coming out.

Do you let other people know about your sexuality? Why, why not? Should you? Is it safe to? What are the pros and cons of each option? In addition to the above we will also look at the bi specific issues surrounding coming out (or being unable to), swap tips, and share our own experiences.”

 

For a discussion based workshop there isn’t really a lot preparation involved which makes this the ideal format for the time strapped individual. The day before BiFest I wrote out some notes and mentally planned how I would arrange the room. (Chairs in a circle or horseshoe shape.)

On the day I packed some whiteboard markers, blue tak, and spare paper as you never know when these items might run out or go missing!

 

My outline looked like this:

  1. Introduction
  2. Explain how the workshop will run: I’ll lead a guided discussion
  3. Explain the ground rules. E.g. no interrupting, respect everyone’s opinions and experiences, give everyone a chance to speak. Ask the room if they want to add anything?
  4. Explain that I would like people to use three ‘discussion gestures’. A raised hand means someone would like to say something. Holding both hands in front of you in a fist with the index fingers raised and wiggling means you have something to add, but it relates to what has just been said so you need to speak next. Turning hands back and forth (a bit like Beyonce’s putting a ring on it) is sign language for applause and allows people to express agreement and/or solidarity without interrupting.
  5. Do a show of hands asking who’s mostly/completely out, somewhat out, or barely/not at all out. (This allows me to tailor the workshop to who has come that day.)
  6. Work through questions on flipchart (see below).
  7. End on sharing coming out tips/positive stories.
  8. Wrap up. Thank everyone for coming. Let people know that if the workshop has had an emotional impact, I am available outside if anyone wants to talk more. Encourage people to get a drink and a snack. Give out contact details. Promote any events I’m doing in future (in this case The Big Bi Fun Day).

Before the workshop started I wrote a list of questions on the flipchart. I find this works very well for discussion based workshops as it helps people settle in and reduces feelings of anxiety or awkwardness. This is because it shows people what to expect and gives them time to think of things to say. It also gives them something to do whilst they wait, plus people can break the ice by talking about it if they want to.

It’s also a lifeline for me, as it saves me from painful silence when I throw a question to the room and no one replies!

 

What I wrote on the flipchart:

Things to think about whilst waiting:

  • Are you out?
  • Why/Why not?
  • If you’ve come out to someone, what kin of reactions have they had?
  • How do you deal with coming out (or correcting) over and over again?
  • How do you deal with negative reactions?
    (Both emotionally and in dealing with the other person.)
  • What advice would you give others?

 

I had expected about 10-15 people to attend so was rather surprised to find 24 faces sitting and looking at me. This made me worry that some wouldn’t get a chance to speak and that the layout wouldn’t work as instead of 1 circle we had a 2 row horseshoe to fit everyone in. Thankfully the gestures made the workshop flow perfectly. And when someone gave visual applause out of eyesight of the person speaking I just mentioned it to them which got around the layout problem.

After the workshop I said I would post the coming out advice people gave on this blog. You can find this in a separate post here. Sorry it’s so late!

Finally Written by Jenny did a lovely write up of my workshop in their blog post about London Bifest 2017 so I would like to thank them for their kind words.

 

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Review: Stonewall Bi Role Model Programme

Post 1: Practical things, how the day went, an overview of content.

At first I felt really apprehensive about attending the Stonewall Bi Role Model Day. We had been emailed over some booklets in advance to get us thinking about role models beforehand. Whilst they served this purpose well they also triggered a lot of negative feelings for me and I grew weary of what Stonewall were planning to do. This was down to the fact that the booklets only seemed to contain one token bi story each. (Several people featured didn’t label their sexuality.) So it left me wondering why they couldn’t have made any bi specific resources to send us? I was afraid that the day would involve non bi staff telling us how to be role models without listening to our experiences or addressing issues which are specific to our non-monosexual lives.

Thankfully I needn’t have worried. After a brief introduction by Edward Lord (who funded the event), the chief executive of Stonewall stepped forward to welcome us and begin the day. After a short speech Ruth explained she would be leaving so it could be a bi safe space. I was really grateful for this action and I thank her for it. She got up early and gave up her time on a Saturday morning to show the event had full support from the organisation, and then recognised that it needed to continue without her. I also liked the way she specifically said that trans people were welcome and had a place there.

The three facilitators were absolutely brilliant. The fact that they were bi staff put my anxieties at ease. The event was well run and well planned. All the sections flowed really well together and the content was clear and concise. The facilitators led the day with the right mix of professionalism, warmth and humour. They contributed experiences from their own lives where appropriate. They listened and took on board people’s ideas and suggestions as the event went on. They let attendees speak and contribute.

Practicalities first. The layout of the room didn’t quite work for me as we were all sat in one large | _ | shape and the chairs were very close together in order to fit everyone in. The seating arrangement sadly meant anyone on the sides couldn’t see the other people in their row and it was a struggle to hear what was being said at times. Also having seats without any tables meant you couldn’t lean on or support your weight for comfort so my limbs started aching quite early on in the day. Drinks were frequently knocked over as people had to put them by their feet on the floor so I often accidentally stood or put my stuff down in wet patches.

I feel like these are minor points to raise – but I know others struggled with this arrangement too. So much must depend on what room they are able to acquire, and I guess this layout was chosen to facilitate communication and moving around but I feel like a different format might work better in the future?

However on a positive note the location was right in the centre of London and (as an able bodied person) was very easy to get to by public transport. It was also close to many major train stations. Food and drink were plentiful throughout the day and the facilitators didn’t mind me constantly standing, sitting, standing, and going for walks in the corridor to ease discomfort. Dietary requirements were catered for too. People could write their own name labels. The event was free and transport costs were reimbursed.

People had travelled from all areas of the U.K. to be there, both urban and rural. There was a mix of trans and cis gendered people. BME people were also present. Those in attendance had a wide variety of life experiences. For example:

Some people had not come out to any/many people. Some were well known activists or people who’d been out for a long time.

Some people had known they were bisexual for decades. Others had recently realised.

Some were writers, or LGBT network members at work, or leaders of organisations. Some were none of these things (and that was ok).

As is often the case with these kinds of events, one of the main benefits is that everyone can look round the room in awe and think, look how many of us there are! In the same place at the same time! For a lot of people it was their first experience of being in a room with so many other bis. It’s a powerful, liberating, and validating feeling. Especially for those from smaller cities, towns and rural areas who don’t know any/many other bis and don’t have a support network.

Another plus for me was the chance to feel safe in public. It’s so rare. I feel unsafe and anxious nearly all of the time when I leave the house. So when I step into bi friendly environments like the one on Saturday I feel like a huge weight has been taken out of my heart and off my shoulders. I almost just wanted to lie on the floor and sigh in relief. Then take a nap.

I wish it were possible to write everything talked about during the day.
Below is my failure to summarise!

Content wise the day started with setting guidelines of how we could navigate through the event together whilst keeping it a safe and comfortable space for everyone.

We were then asked to think of role models in our own lives (which could be anyone)  and the idea was put forward that no one person encompasses everything. We look up and want to emulate different aspects of different people. After we explored the idea of what a role model is. Who can be one? What does it mean to be one? How can you be one?

Role models don’t have to be perfect or get it right all the time. Nor do they have to be super heroes doing super duper things. For me one theme of the day was thinking about the power of ‘small’ actions. A lot of people in attendance felt they were not role models. Or that they couldn’t be unless they did x, y or z. However something like coming out to one other person, or challenging someone on something they’ve said can all be radical and empowering acts. We shouldn’t discount how much of an impact ‘small’ actions can have on the world and on other bis.

Often just seeing someone being bi and comfortable in their own skin can be life changing. I know it was for me when I met Jen Yockney. And it still is so affirming when I meet others who comfortable/confident with their own bisexuality.

We also looked at bi specific things related to being a role model. I found it really interesting how the words people associate with role models such as honesty, trustworthiness, and being genuine can be a burden to us. As these are often things bi people feel they have to spend their lives trying to prove to monosexuals that they are! So we don’t need additional pressures being added to this when we are trying to empower ourselves and others. Instead we explored other ideas of what a role model can be. E.g. Curious? Learning? Fragile?

We were also encouraged to focus on the things we can do and the things we want to do. And not to feel guilty if can’t or don’t want to do something.

Self care isn’t selfish!

Finally one person mentioned the burden of when you are out and bi and are trying to do x. Others automatically expect you to know what you’re doing and expect you to do the heavy lifting.

 

Later on in the day we looked at what barriers prevent us from reaching our potential as role models either internally or externally. Then we looked at potential solutions.

In the afternoon we did an exercise in threes where one person spoke uninterrupted for 5 minutes about things they wanted to start, things they wanted to stop and things they wanted to continue. After there was an additional five minutes where the other two could ask questions and offer their thoughts or advice. I found this helpful as it meant no one could dominate the group. You often don’t realise things until you speak out loud and have a sounding board. People offered me some very useful pointers to take going forward.

The event was wrapped up by getting attendees to write our 3 key themes of the day in our own notebooks and then completing a statement provided. Anyone who wanted to share their statement to the group was welcome to in a circle at the end, and it was very moving and empowering to hear people’s answers.

Finally it was group photo time then home!

 

I do have one last thought to share with regards to content. One thing which I felt could have made clearer is the effects of bi erasure. It was only because someone pointed this out that it even got mentioned. Some in the room were aware of bi erasure but I know others weren’t. It needed to be said that our invisibility is not our fault. Being a visible role model and taking action no matter how big or small does help and as I mentioned before it can have huge impacts. But it will never solve the issue of on its own. We need others in society to recognise us, support us and stop erasing us. Just knowing about erasure is a really empowering thing in itself! It means we don’t blame ourselves for our invisibility and suffer the effects of believing that.

But that is a minor niggle from a wonderful event. Others may well have left feeling very different and I would love to read other people’s write ups to compare experiences. But as you can tell I found the day to be very useful, affirming and empowering. I learned so much which I will have to blog more about later.

I’m really glad Stonewall is offering programmes like this for bi people. It is vital that they continue to do so. I know they will run another one of these days in September.

One day doesn’t erase years of hurt for me. Though it has made me feel less weary and afraid about engaging with them in the years to come. I even signed up for more information about volunteering!

I look forward to seeing what else they do for bi people in the future. Lots more I hope.

Can bi volunteer work help you get a job?

This year has seen a lot of changes as I’ve moved house, moved cities and found a new job – no wonder I haven’t had the time or energy to write anything here since January!

I was very fortunate as I had enough money in the bank to last through a short period of unemployment and pay for the cost of moving. I also had enough to give me 1-2 months to find work/start temping so I had the privilege of being able to be out on my CV and take a higher rate of rejection. If it took longer to get work I would be able to cope for a while.

There were a few reasons why I chose to do this. One is that I can no longer bear to hide my sexuality, even if I know the results of coming out will be damaging. I want people to see ME and not something I’m pretending to be. Another is that BiTopia and bi activism took up so much of my life there was little time for anything else. (Clearly wasn’t following my own advice on avoiding burnout!)

In the UK there is an expectation that your CV must show examples of employment, volunteer work, AND some kind of skill building, teamwork based hobby. (Way to discriminate against all the bi people who are just struggling to get by, and can’t do some/all of the above.) So if I didn’t talk about my bi group on my CV, it wouldn’t fit the unspoken criteria for being short listed without lying anyway. Besides, it was all relevant experience to the jobs I wanted to apply for so it made sense to put it on.

Another reason was that as I was moving to a much bigger city, there would be a better chance of finding an LGBTQ+ friendly employer. The people who saw queer stuff on the CV and immediately rejected me because of it would be the people who never got in touch – hurrah!

Finally, I wanted to share what I’d achieved because I felt proud.

It felt very scary talking about it out loud in the job interview in response to questions like, ‘Do you have experience using social media?’ or ‘Can you work with a wide range of people?’ I felt very vulnerable and afraid. I kept reminding myself they could be LGBTQ+ too,  but mostly I was waiting for them to shoot me looks of disgust or call the interview off early. (Not that they did of course.) My voice did wobble at times despite my best efforts to keep it steady and talk naturally.

In the end I got the job, and I also had another interview lined up that I cancelled once I heard the news.

I’m not going to end this with some sappy “You can do it too!” sentiment. Everyone’s situation is different. You might not be in a financial position that allows you to leave a job, take longer to find one, or pick and choose amongst them. It might be damaging or dangerous to come out in your field of employment. But bi activism and organising groups and events can equip you many relevant skills and experiences. And these can aid you in applications and interviews. If being out on your CV is something you are thinking of doing then I wish you good luck!

Saying Something Doesn’t Make It So

Recently I mentioned an LGBTQ+ issue to a neighbour and was immediately met with the words “But that’s not really a problem any more.”

This happens to me a lot.

I can understand the (false) reasoning behind the sentiment. There is a pervasive feeling amongst people with privilege in our society that, in this modern day and age, things have improved and people are now tolerant and accepting. Like we’ve reached and crossed a finish line and there is nothing else to be done. It’s 2016 you know? That stuff just doesn’t happen any more! I can also understand how the ‘I don’t see it, so it mustn’t happen’ way of thinking an take hold. For example if you are white, and your life doesn’t intersect with any/many BME people, then you wouldn’t see any violence, prejudice or discrimination against them taking place. So you could reach a false conclusion that it barely occurs. (I sadly, wrongly used to be that person.)

I think the British media also exacerbates this, as issues such as racism in the police force or the fight for equal marriage in America often get more coverage than UK issues. Or the UK issues barely get mentioned at all. So people think it’s not much of a problem here. E.g. many people have heard of how all the Oscar nominees are all white this year, but they might not think about the lack of diversity in British film and television. And BME people are more likely to die in police custody in the UK too. In terms of general knowledge, a lot of people will know who Caitlyn Jenner is, but could they name a British trans person?

A lot of people don’t want to think about these things because it makes them feel uncomfortable. So it’s easier for them just to say it’s not an issue, and suppress other people speaking up about it. “Just live your life and be happy.” they say. “Stop making everything into a big deal!” Or they do things like make you hide your (perfectly reasonable) posters for a protest in case you upset other people, who aren’t even affected by the issue you’re protesting against!

And yes things definitely have improved a lot over time. But saying that things are still bad isn’t disagreeing with that, it’s acknowledging that something is still happening that people shouldn’t have to deal with. That something, like violence against trans people, or LGBTQ+ homelessness, or the fact that women are more likely to be raped if they’re bisexual needs to stop NOW. ASAP. We can’t improve anything if people won’t even accept it’s happening. It’s a powerful tool of oppression.

It’s really frustrating when people who are not affected by an issue, or are not a member of a minority group disproportionately affected by something, insist that it’s not really a problem. Putting salt instead of sugar into your tea by accident is an example of something that is not really a problem. Saying something doesn’t make it so, and I wish people would at least listen for a few minutes before opening their mouths in these situations. If they meant well and honestly didn’t know it was an issue in society, then why can’t they take a step back and think, “Well by Jove, I’m so lucky. I was so unaffected by that awful thing I didn’t even know about it! I should learn about it, and see if there is anything I can do to help stop it.”

On this occasion I didn’t know the exact figures, so I just mumbled quietly that it is still a problem before the conversation moved on. I have just looked it up for next time. We shouldn’t have to be walking encyclopaedias of depressing statistics, but other people often force us into that position by insisting things aren’t important or that they aren’t happening. Then they get into arguments with us when we have the audacity to point out their false beliefs.

Life makes me tired, and I am tired of banging my head repeatedly against brick walls.

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.

Avoiding Burnout

Activists and group leaders are always going to be prone to getting burned out. We do so much work in our own free time. This is often done on top of full time work or family responsibilities. It might also be done under the pressure of unemployment and living on a very small income. As there are no funded bi groups in the UK and no bi groups run by a LGBT centre or organisation, this means that we run them using our own energy and resources too. We have to start and set up all of them. We have to keep them running.

This is all in addition to the poor rates of mental and physical health bisexuals suffer because of biphobia and bi erasure too.

The thing that I find the worst about bi group work is that the constant erasure and biphobia is exhausting. Nothing comes easily. I feel like we have to fight ALL THE TIME for bisexuality to be included or even mentioned. It makes me sad, angry, fed up, and frustrated. It wears me down over time.

This piece by Psychology Today provides a really good introduction to what burnout is and what the tell tale signs are: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them

Their summary looks like this:

  • physical and emotional exhaustion
  • cynicism and detachment
  • feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

The article elaborates on what these three things look like, e.g. forgetfulness, anxiety, isolation, depression, increased illness, irritability…

Here are a few examples of how it might manifest in terms of running a bi group:

  • you don’t enjoy running the group any more
  • it’s starting to take up more and more of your time
  • it’s difficult to stop thinking about your plans and to do lists
  • you want a long break from it all, yet struggle to switch off and stop logging into your social media accounts for even a short amount of time
  • you notice you are starting to accidentally say or do stupid and hurtful things, and maybe even burn bridges and damage professional relationships (because you feel so tired, frustrated and fed up all the time)
  • your group work is starting to come before other important life priorities, such as finding a better job, or attending friends’ social events.

I’d also bet money that perfectionists and people pleasers are especially vulnerable. For example, I personally can’t bear to let people down so I have to work hard to make sure I don’t commit to things others want or need at my own expense.

As the article I linked to says, burnout doesn’t just appear out of nowhere and go BOO! It’s a long and slow process that builds up over time. For ages you feel down but can’t figure out why. Everything seems “fine” right? Sometimes when I’ve been burnt out I haven’t really felt anything at all – just awful! Lots of tears at the smallest things. Everything feels like a hurdle to be overcome. Exhaustion all day every day. Not listening or concentrating on anything. Sometimes feeling suicidal during the worst moments.

It can take a really long time to put the pieces together and realise you’re burnt out. It can take even longer to get your life back to normal too. It won’t happen overnight, but little by little you can take the steps you need to find the right bi group-life balance for you. Or maybe take a break for a while. Or maybe stop what you’re doing altogether.

If you’re burnt out:

  • Can you delegate some or all of your tasks and responsibilities? (Perfectionists, you can trust other people to do the things you do!)
  • Can you arrange fewer events, such as holding a meet up every other month instead of once a month?
  • Can technology help you save time? E.g. I used to retype out a Facebook event for every pub social until I found the “copy this event” button!
  • Self care by eating and sleeping as well as you can. Make uninterrupted time for YOU and uninterrupted time to do your favourite things. Treat yourself.
  • Schedule time to spend on bi group work…and stick to it! Do whatever works for you, such as only doing work on a Sunday or only doing 15 minutes a day.
  • Assert your boundaries, needs and wants. I used to be terrible at this. Lately I’ve learned I can just say no and I don’t have to give a reason! I’ve also learned I can change my mind! (Eg. “I know I said I’d make a bi display for the library for next month, but for personal reasons I’m going to have to pull out. I’m so sorry.”)
  • If you are feeling emotionally burnt out, redirect the person who needs support to speak to someone else, or some kind of organisation or listening service. For example, I will no longer talk with people who are feeling suicidal, but I will give them phone numbers to call and will check in on them later.
  • If you use the same smartphone for your personal life and bi group life (which I don’t recommend!), it might be worth buying a second £10-20 phone if you can afford to (or using an old phone if you have one lying around). That way it’s easier to keep the two things separate. You can switch off the bi group phone and be free from messages, calls and emails instead of getting sucked back in through real time alerts.
  • If a second phone isn’t an option, log out and/or remove email & social media accounts relating to your bi group from your phone and only look at them during your allocated bi group time.

It can be really hard to take a step back, especially if taking a break or stopping altogether means the bi thing won’t happen any more. Try not to feel guilty if this emotion is affecting you. We live in a world where bisexuals have to struggle and fight just to get by. Doing activism or bi group work is great but it’s not a requirement or a necessity. People who don’t or can’t do activism & bi group work are just as awesome and worthwhile. So do as much or as little as you want. Do as much or a little as your are able. You come first. You are the most important thing.

BBC Breakfast Show Post – Follow Up & Apologies

At the end of August I wrote a blog post about bi erasure on a BBC Radio Nottingham Breakfast Show.

After distributing the link on a email list, the leader of a local trans group politely informed me that I had got it so very wrong.

In the previous post, I had written that to me the language used on the radio show when talking about Kerry Ann and the transphobic abuse and discrimination she faced seemed ok. I was corrected on this, and was informed that language used on the show such as “used to be a man/woman”, “going through the change”, and “to become a man/woman” is not acceptable. They then took the time to explain why.

I can only thank them for calling me out and correcting me on this, as it’s not their job to educate me and they shouldn’t have to. I apologise for any hurt caused. I’m really sorry I made a mistake and got this wrong. I promise that I will keep trying to be a better trans ally in the future.

With regards to the BBC I got an email from them in response to my complaint just a few hours later that day. They said “Please be assured it was not a conscious omission not to mention biphobia.” and not much else. They didn’t apologise.

I had asked them if they wanted a bi speaker on 23rd September (Bi Visibility Day) in my complaint but they didn’t mention this in their reply. However they did offer me a slot to be interviewed/talk about bi issues on their afternoon show that day.

As it happens I never did get round to replying to their response due to having limited time and energy to spend on bi activism/bi groups stuffs. However I wouldn’t have accepted their offer anyway. It would have been inappropriate to go on the air about a different issue on the same day as the feature on Kerry Ann/transphobia in Nottinghamshire. It would have been better for them to speak to a local trans group or something instead.

Later on that day the BBC called another member of the bi community to arrange for them to go on air a week later. They wanted to talk about ‘why women are more likely to be bisexual’ and the recent news story of ‘how the amount of young people seeing their sexuality as fluid is on the rise’. I was happy that the BBC were doing this as it would have been a positive counteraction to previous erasure, but I was disappointed again when they cancelled the interview a few days later! Sigh.

Anyway, thank you to everyone who emailed in to the BBC, and sorry again for getting the trans stuff wrong in my previous post.