With an estimated date of May 1991, the second issue of Bi-Issues was "slightly larger than the first" according to the intro, but was also "an A5, 4 page newsletter, given away free" like the first according to Rowan in 1999.

Perhaps there was more text without increasing the page count; I don't think I have any paper copies to check.


Editorial. Introduction.
Bi-Issues Guide: Promoting Peace in the Gulf.
News from Off Pink, bisexual summer Camp, facilitators workshop.
The Group. A personal account of going to a bi group.

 

Editorial

Welcome to the second edition of Bi-Issues. This edition is slightly larger than the first. I hope you like it.

If you want to submit articles, suggestions or readers letters, write to the contact address. If you want a copy then send an SAE to the contact address:-

Health and Happiness
Kevin Saunders (Editor)
Contact Address: [address].

 

Bi-Issues Guide: Promoting Peace in the Gulf*

  • Launch your own missile at Downing Street. In case your local supermarket doesn't stock one, missile launchers are available from Brigadier I.L.L. Coverup, M.O.D., Little Hypocrisy St., London WC2. If you need an end-users certificate remember to emphasise your psychopathic credentials.
  • Join the majority of the male population over thirty-five and use C.N.N. as a hard porn S&M; channel. Every time a Cruise or Scud finds its target ejaculate (or orgasm). Remember to shout "Britain" as you come.
  • Make effigies of Major Bush and Hussein then vomit all over them.
  • Count the number of times the word butt is used and wonder why American military commanders are so anally fixated. Write letters to Gen. C. Powell on the benefits of sex as a way of sublimating his war drive.
  • Cry a lot.

 

News

The Off Pink publishing collective is getting material for a successor of "Bisexual Lives". They are hoping for a wider selection of material which will stretch across cultural boundaries. They also want material about sexual oppression, gender, relationships, personal and creative stories from bisexual people and their partners. If you want to contribute write to Guy Chapman** [address and phone number] or Zaidie Parr*** [address and phone number].

Bisexual Summer Camp – space limited to thirty people for a self-contained self-catering centre with accommodation and camping in June in S.W. Wales. Come for the weekend or five days. Contact Guy Chapman at the above address.

Facilitators' Workshop – N. London 9.30am-5.00pm on 18th May. A workshop to help participants improve their facilitation skills. It is aimed at those wanting to facilitate at the 1991 Bisexual Conference but all are welcome. It will be run by Kevin Saunders Andrew Cullis and Andrea Perry. Andrew Cullis and Andrea Perry are both qualified Psychotherapists with extensive experience in facilitating workshops on bisexual issues. Workshop limited to 20 spaces. Phone Kevin [phone number] for details.

 

The Group

I pause as I walk into the room.

"Is this the Bisexual Group?", I ask.

Heads turn, "You've come to the right place, we're just beginning the discussion, what's your name?".

"Julie".

"OK Julie, have a seat, we're just starting".

I sit down feeling like I'm the only one at the party who doesn't know the others and who can't point out the host either. I smile with an effort as the group leader starts an introduction exercise. In the circle the nervous 'hellos' are beginning; my thoughts become less jumbled.

– Do I belong here? Are they going to close me in? Who is the real bisexual here? I wonder if anyone is worth knowing? That guy is looking at me strangely, does that mean he is attracted to me?, or does he dislike me already?

My feelings are churning around a lump where the memories of past rejections is sitting in my guts. I look around the room meeting one or two people's eyes. It's my turn to speak.

"Hi, I'm Julie from Peckham".

It's reassuring to hear how calm my voice is, none of the strident note which can betray my nervousness, a good even contralto …… er, what's the discussion about again?

I look to the group leader for guidance and reassurance. He looks as nervous as all the rest; Christ! are they all as untogether as this; no, maybe that's a bit harsh. I connect with the discussion again as the voice of a woman with a beautiful jumper comes into focus. I remember her name; Caroline.

"…and I felt pissed off my friend said that, you'd think being a lesbian she'd understand about repression; but she went on about bisexuals being confused and it not being a proper identity anyway'.

Nods, sighs of recognition among the women, sympathetic bobs from the men. The facilitator asks whether this is a common experience. A black guy begins to speak of his experiences at work, being afraid to come out. Suddenly it seems like everyone dives in at once. The emotional temperature of the room goes up, voices rise in volume, men seem more aggressive, women shriller and eyes harder as everyone competes for air time.

I take a sudden breath, tense my mouth and am about to launch into my bossy routine when a guy with Latin American looks gets in before me.

"Yeah, I used to have that problem but since I changed jobs I'm OK".

Momentarily I'm pissed off at the group leader, then I think "fuck it", at least I didn't get hooked into bossing the meeting around. Like my friend Nadine says, being bossy is good for work; in social situations better to be gentle without losing the strength.

The Latin American guy has finished his spiel and is looking around the room. There is a pause; no-one meets his eye. I stop my mouth tensing up again and keep quiet.

Then a chubby guy speaks up, his voice is soft and somehow soothing; "Yes, I find other people's attitudes a problem sometimes – times when I'm feeling good I can dismiss others' attitudes as their problem, times when I feel confused or down, maybe a bit needy or wanting to be liked then those sort of attitudes really hurt".

The atmosphere eases, people meet each other's eyes again. My guts relax and I settle into my chair more. The discussion ambles on without drawing any mind shattering conclusions. The facilitator makes some announcements and asks for money.

I stand around wondering who to talk to: already little subgroups are forming, everyone is holding cups and talking about the latest Outrage protest, or where people live, whether this is their first time here; why aren't there any Bi pubs or discos? I stand around wishing this were a work situation where I was in control and the agenda was clear. I change my mind at least four times about who I want to talk to. Just as I make up my mind to talk to Caroline, the guy with the Latin American looks comes over and launches into a conversation about "where do you live and how did you get here?". He stands between me and the rest of the people, he talks earnestly and smiles at me hopefully.

My hackles rise; I make my voice non-committal and sidle around him so that our initial positions are reversed. I make a move to another group which isn't very interesting to talk to but at least puts me in a place where I can make eye contact with Caroline. She's in conversation with three other guys and although it's difficult to tell, I sense she's not interested in them. She looks over to me occasionally, I smile every time she does.

I'm about to move over to her when the Latin American guy appears from nowhere and backs her into a corner. I'm taken aback by his sheer nerve and insensitivity. Maybe he was sent to make my life difficult for me. I stare hard at him and look away for a while. I wonder about going over and talking to someone else then change my mind. Suddenly I want the guy out of the way and preferably in a stretcher. I begin to walk purposefully towards them, at that moment Caroline breaks free and comes over to me. I change my purposeful stride to casual saunter in ten microseconds.

We talk with each other, I risk a small smile and a joke which evokes laughter from Caroline. I immediately go serious, worried I may be coming across as too frivolous. I discretely ask some leading questions, and she does the same to me. I'm wondering, hoping all the time. That mixture of longing and fear rises from my guts making a lump in my throat. I'm thinking maybe, maybe this time. Along to the pub afterwards, drifting off to talk with someone else, afraid to appear too eager yet still wanting to maintain contact.

I manage to get close to Caroline by choosing a gap in the bar so I can buy drinks and talk to her. I let my eyes soften and open wider (I've been told I have attractive doe eyes). She turns and talks with me, conversation flows easily and naturally, a lot of the awkward pauses are ironed out by thinking up lines of conversation ahead. Definitely getting somewhere here.

"Would you like to come to a nightclub afterwards?" She would, uh oh things hotting up here. Engage pelvis, move breasts suggestively while thinking; try and be subtle about it.

I lose sight of Caroline for a moment as she goes off somewhere and suddenly the whole pub seems to become stilted, two dimensional and indifferent. The other drinkers look fleshy and bland, towering above me. An effort of will and the people shrink to normal human size again. Caroline returns and we move on to the nightclub.

In the nightclub people moving, moving the beat. Holding glasses, looking good, I try to get conversation with Caroline along sexual lines. I talk about bodies she talks about fashion, I talk about the way that woman's clothes cling to her body. Definite warmth in my pelvis rising to my breasts, the urgency of my sexual pulse making itself felt. Our smiles beginning to become private, we're laughing like we're already sharing a delightful secret.

More drink, more dancing, then we leave the nightclub. I feel as light and graceful as a gazelle. Just then the thought pops into my head, how to proposition her?.

Immediately my heart is in my mouth, my stomach muscles tense, my smile becomes a little fixed. I wonder which pick up line to use, "back for coffee?", no, no too feeble, think of something original, "want to see this article in Spare Rib I was telling you about?", no too indirect, "Want to come back and fuck each other's brains out?". Christ no, steady on, I couldn't possibly say that. Caroline smiles at me and says, "You look impish, what are you thinking of?".

I reply, "I don't feel like parting, why don't you come back to my place?". She smiles, god she has such a kind face.

"Yes, OK", she says "that sounds nice."

Whew! Slump a little with relief, I feel a bit drained, perk up, and continue on the way home, both of us thinking of later…


* In response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 'Operation Desert Storm', the counter invasion of Kuwait by the US, UK and various other allies, started with a bombing campaign in January 1991 and a ground assault five weeks later. Kevin wasn't happy with either.

** Along with another 'out of London' attendee, Guy was the person I stayed with at my first BiCon in 1986. He moved to Bristol a couple of years later.

*** If you put Zadie in a room with a dozen other people with everyone talking to each other, and said to another group 'spot the social worker', most of them would have pointed to Zadie.

One of my favourite memories of her is from the launch of Sue George's Women and Bisexuality at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts, where she caused much amused laughter with her comments.

She died a few years ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *