By March 1996, the London Bisexual Phoneline needed some money. The diverter box we used had failed and it wasn't cheap to repair or replace.
One way or another, probably through some of us also being members of the Health Education Authority's bisexual advisory group, we arranged that they would give us a second bit of funding.
Because of some budgeting rules within the HEA, this time they could not give it to us for what we actually needed it for, running costs. It had to be capital costs, i.e. buying something you could kick.
Well, if that's what they needed, that's what we would tell them. While I am certain that Clive knew exactly what was actually happening, either from us telling him verbally or him going 'If you want to spend it on A, you have to tell me B so I can pay', this is what he was told via a fax… Read more
In a London Bisexual Helpline meeting at London Lighthouse in 1998, it was decided to formalise assorted policies:
- equal ops
- good practice
Each was given to someone different to draft, and I had the last one. I can't remember if it was completely original or adapted from somewhere else. I also can't remember if it was adopted.
Although it gives a date of August 1998, the PageMaker 5 file it was recovered from has a 'last changed' date of 12th September. One of PageMaker's little quirks was that how many copies you wanted to print of a document was saved with the file, so it could simply be that was when enough copies for everyone were printed, rather than any more significant changes… Read more
The BiCon Guidelines as originally passed (unanimously!) at the plenary of BiCon 16 in Cambridge, September 1998.
Before being taken to the DMP, they were first discussed at an earlier session – Ian's notes and the changes made to the original draft: Read more
[ Originally published by Tom Limoncelli as 'The Ultimate Guide to Bisexual Conferences' at biconf.org. This is a lightly edited version of the last known draft, dated 1st September 2003.
One interesting point of difference between UK and USA bi events is that the latter's access issues points include a 'scent-free policy' – even BiPOL's first national US bi conference in 1990 had that – but it's never been seen as an issue that needs addressing in the UK, perhaps because to this nose anyway, no-one at BiCon wears noticeable perfumes. ]
Conferences change the world. In particular, they empower the dis-empowered.
The first conference I went to was the GAAMC (Gay Activist Alliance of Morris County) conference in 1988 or so. It was a one-day affair with dozens of workshops. It was amazing. To be in the same place with 100 other disenfranchised people was so empowering that it was a large part of why I am an activist today. Read more
Back in 2005, Marcus Morgan published 'A Manifesto For BiCon Organisers' as a PDF file. As the place it was uploaded to (resources.bi.org) no longer exists, it is now available here.
Since it was written, Marcus has run three BiCons rather than two and several other things have changed. As the file specifically forbids editing it or posting it as web pages, no corrections have been made. The 'excellent article' referenced as being at biconf.org no longer exists there but a copy of the latest version I can find is now here. Read more
Running a BiCon can be hugely rewarding or an utter nightmare. Your chances of wanting to do it again will be improved if you follow a few simple rules. I'd say that they are more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules, except that there are already some official Guidelines…
What is a BiCon?
Those Guidelines have something to say about that, but a short version is that it's a community-led, accessible event 'about' bisexuality for bisexual people and their allies. Even if they were all about bisexuality, an event that was a series of expert panels would not be a BiCon, for example. In the UK, it's now usually a three (or more) day event.
In the UK, we tend to call one day events 'BiFest' or 'BiTastic' to make a distinction between the two, but much of the same advice applies. Read more
This was a rare example of a THT 'gay and bisexual men' campaign that was designed to been seen by the general population.
One of the reasons that's rare is that advertising on, say, London Underground is considerably more expensive than in a scene magazine or given to workers to hand out at scene venues. (If you did actually want to reach as many gay and bisexual men in London as possible, places like the Underground and the Metro and Evening Standard newspapers is where you'd do it…)
The graphics here aren't particularly good quality, being in a low resolution even in the original PDF from tht.org.uk, despite being intended to be seen on A3 or larger posters.
This is particularly noticeable on the CHAPS logo, which is almost unreadable,* but it means that it was definitely part of a program to reduce HIV infection in gay and bisexual men that got about £1m of funding from the Department of Health every year.
It was recognised by Martin Kirk of the UK Gay Men's Health Network in giving evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AIDS as "an HIV campaign but it is a campaign targeted at prejudice against, in this case, gay men".
As we'll see, this was more correct than it should have been. Read more
This is the version that was used in 1995, when the Health Education Authority ran the second version of its (awful) 'hands' ad with a referral to the London and Edinburgh Bisexual Helplines in its body text.
In exchange for some money to open the London line six evenings a week rather than its usual two for some months, they wanted some data back, hence a somewhat expanded version of the call record sheet.
I'm not sure how much detail the HEA was given, but these sheets were used to note any trends in calls and, if needed, discuss how to deal with them at the regular Sunday meetings. Read more
One of the never ending issues for graphic designers is 'how to show bisexuality without showing three (or more) people'. Most of them never work it out, so go for three people…
.. and sometimes, they add a bench!
I am not entirely sure which of the first two came first, but the Norwegian one is actually aimed at bisexual men, so… Read more
In 2018, some academics got eleven people who'd worked in the HIV prevention sector in the UK for a two hour discussion on some of the history.
In this extract, they remember the 'hands' ad. Interestingly, the only ones to get much more space are the 'iceberg' and 'monolith' "Don't die of ignorance' ones.
'Ford' is Ford Hickson, part of Sigma Research, responsible for multiple surveys and research projects on gay and bisexual men.
'Lynne' is Lynne Walsh, talking about her time as half of (also known as 'in charge of') the press office for the Health Education Authority (HEA).
'Dominic' is Dominic McVey, talking about having been an HEA researcher. His line elsewhere about "Much of my work involved developing and evaluating the HEA gay and heterosexual public health interventions" accurately shows how much the HEA cared about bisexuals… Read more