Hannah’s Write Up of BiCon 2015

TW: Mention of depression, and suicidal thoughts and feelings.

This year’s BiCon has been my best for several reasons. One is simply down to the fact that it was my fourth BiCon, so I knew what to expect and felt very comfortable for the whole weekend. I knew lots of people, I knew what to pack, and I knew what I wanted to get out of the conference. I had a chilled out time with plenty of naps.

My room was right next to registration and the location for the breakfast & evening meals, and all of the evening entertainment. So I was a happy hobbit with not having to wonder very far.

Fourth BiCon/having lived in two big cities/the fact that I run a group in the city where BiCon was being held… All of these things meant that I didn’t have to make any effort with socialising this year. This was a wonderful thing as I suffer from very low self esteem and always feel people are not interested in talking to me. The awkwardness of shuffling over to people to try and start a conversation with them was completely removed this year, as wherever I went people recognised me and approached me to chat & hang out with. Thank fuck for that!

Another reason why BiCon rocked for me this year was that during the closing plenary the leaders of local bi groups were given a purple unicorn to say thank you. I was absolutely delighted to receive one and was very moved by the gesture. Thank you Rowan!

CMiJ0OlWsAAi9Au

Photo description: a very cute, soft, small, purple unicorn cuddly toy poking its head and two front legs out of a black handbag.

The workshops I went to really helped me increase my knowledge and equip me with lots of practical steps to take in terms of improving my group and doing more bi activism in my area. Sam Rankin of The Equality Network was a particular inspiration. Her workshops were absolutely stellar. The confidence with which she presented her material, and her anger at the biphobia that plagues our country’s society and services were extremely validating for me. When you’re the only bi person in every meeting you attend, when you push and push for inclusion but never get let in, you start feeling like a tiny lamb bleating about bisexuality in a world of spiteful sheep. After some time of false compliance and facing resistance to all you say and do, you feel like you’re being silly. Like you should go home and not bother. Like it’s not really that important after all. Seeing Sam speak so passionately and eloquently has instilled me with confidence and reassured me that I’m on the right path. That I’m fighting for the right thing. Thank you!

Another wonderful thing was being able to introduce myself to people I follow online whose work I admire. Got totally bi star struck when meeting activists such as Hilde Vossen and loved having the chance to talk to them.

Several other people (including a published author) complimented me on my writing – which provided a much needed boost to my self esteem…

…You see I have a confession to make. My mental health has been very poor lately. Recently I have spent many hours and days lying in bed feeling such intense emotional pain I have been unable to move or function. I have been so depressed I have planned how to take my own life and what I would need to do in order to wrap up lose ends before I go. BiCon really helped me clear my mind and calm me down and cheer me up. Everyone is so lovely, friendly and supportive. Being at BiCon makes me feel like everything is going to be ok. It makes me realise I have so much support for when things aren’t going ok. I feel like everyone is on my side.

And that’s what makes BiCon so special and so important really. I did cool things like tasting tea and going to a beautiful exhibition at a gallery, but it’s always the people that make it for me. It’s catching up with friends and making new ones. Being loved and supported. Having your sexuality validated. It’s those little moments of hanging out in between workshops, or sitting on the grass in the sun with a drink or three. Looking round during the ball and seeing everyone laughing and smiling and looking happy.

Thank you so much to the BiCon organisers and volunteers. I am so grateful you made it happen. Congratulations and well done on running such a huge, successful event!

Big Bi Dreams for 2015

Here’s what I’d like to make happen in 2015:

  • Print off and distribute leaflets advertising Nottingham BiTopia.
  • Organise at least 3 BiTalkia events.
  • Get this blog featured on Bi Bloggers.
  • Find a way to raise funds for the group to do things like pay for stalls at Nottinghamshire Pride and the cost of hiring a room for BiTalkia.
  • March in Nottinghamshire Pride again this summer, and maybe run a stall.
  • March in Manchester Pride again.
  • Have some kind of presence at Leicester and Derby Pride.
  • Go to The Big Bi Fun day in Leicester.
  • Set up some kind of quiet-cup-of-tea-more-chilled-out social to cater for people the pub social (unintentionally!) excludes. I feel like I’m currently letting those people down by not holding an event that meets their access requirements.
  • Get a map of the UK and mark down where bi events happen.
    Work on finding a way to set up some kind of bi event in the least purple areas!
  • Write a code of conduct/anti harassment policy for the meet ups.
  • Learn more about how to do more to include more BME people.
  • Run a ‘bi group runners’ and ‘So, you want to set up a new bi group?’ workshop at BiCon.

and last but not least…

  • Have a rest!