Getting Bi Serious
Hilde Vossen - Coordinator of the European Bisexual Network for Activists (EuroBiNet)
On Bi Visibility Day events this year you can be 'exceptionally glittery and crazy'. When else do bisexual people have the chance to be like that? Mostly at a celebration they organise themselves. Then they make the rules, and are the majority.
More than 25 years ago, I attended a social for bisexuals for the first time. There I learned to assume nothing; first to not assume someone's sexual orientation, and later someone’s gender identity. The many labels one can choose to describe themselves are exactly that - for describing themselves. This freedom from labeling and the respect there for the many journeys one can make, made the bi movement a safe space for me. Very empowering. That's why I, nowadays, openly identify as #StillBisexual, pansexual and female/non- binary.
From attending bi socials and conferences, and making friends for life there, I got lots of strength. Receiving compliments and thank you’s within the bi community is the best one can get. I started organising these kind of events, too. I kicked off with preparing LGBT sandwiches (lettuce, guacamole, bacon, and tomato) and nowadays I coordinate the European Bisexual Network for Activists (EuroBiNet). I co-founded it in 2001, and now it represents about 80 activists from almost 25 different European countries.
Via this group we meet other bisexual activists, who run communities, projects and programmes, make magazines, websites, vlogs and blogs. We invite each other to follow their Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter accounts. We learn from the researches, publications, podcasts and webinars. We travel to attend BiFests, BiCons and other conferences.
I’m happy to say that EuroBiNet has spin offs for the European Bisexual Conferences (EuroBiCon). So many attendees were so enthusiastic after the last one, which was in Amsterdam in 2016, that I expect we don’t have to wait long to for the next edition!
Bi activism is blossoming. In Europe, I notice an increasing number of bi/pan groups lead by wonderful activists. You are visible, self-confident, Bi furious, Bi serious. You climb stages without fear and are loud and proud. ‘Nothing about us without us!’ You are skilled and capable. You join Prides and Boards. I can cheer you on forever!
Bi activists who are organising bi groups a bit longer, let’s say, ten years or more, can enjoy this while the lifelong learning switch is on. Our Bi events couldn’t have become more inclusive, raised awareness beyond the sexual identity label only, if we’d have closed our eyes for intersectionality. We need to learn, for example, how to support bi+ people of colour, poor people, people with disabilities, mental health challenges, and non-binary, gender diverse, asexual and biromantic people better in our communities.
On a worldwide level, I see the number of bi groups and activities growing, too, also thanks to Bi Visibility Day. It’s usually a festive day, which gives the energy boost and the daring mood to found a new group. I see LGTIQ+ allies joining, too. They sometimes co-fund Bi Visibility events, and offer their venues and network contacts to host them. We always welcome great allies to bi/pan initiatives! Isn’t that heartwarming for all!
Dear bi+ people, family and friends: do enjoy the empowerment that an event for Bi Visibility Day can bring to you. Dear allies: do congratulate a bi person on Bi Visibility Day. No celebration about us without you.
Happy Bi Visibility Day!
Hilde Vossen is co-founder and coordinator of the European Bisexual Network for Activists (EuroBiNet). She’s co-organiser of the first and the third European Bisexual Conferences (2001+2016). She's also co-editor of BiVisibilityDay.com and the Alternate Bisexual Secretariat for ILGA World. She coordinates Queer aan Zee, a LGBTQIAP activities group in The Hague, The Netherlands, where she lives. Hilde empowers people and provides safe spaces for sharing knowledge and experiences.