Tom's guide

[ 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[1]And an earthquake policy, given that it was in San Francisco! – 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

Notes

Notes
1And an earthquake policy, given that it was in San Francisco!

Marcus's 'how to run a BiCon' manifesto

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[1]The domain name has been squatted at least twice since 2005 but a copy of the latest version I can find is now here. Read more

Notes

Notes
1The domain name has been squatted at least twice since 2005

Ian's guide to running a BiCon (or any other bi event)

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

The speech about the epic fail of Edinburgh First at BiCon 2013

There have been two BiCons at the University of Edinburgh's Pollock Halls. The first, in 1999 used them for both accommodation and session space. The second, BiCon 2013, had the session space at the John Macintyre Conference Centre.

Both involved dealing with Edinburgh university's 'Edinburgh First' organisation.

In 2013, we fulfilled our end of the contract. They did not.

When that had become clear, this is what was said at the start of one of the plenaries. Unusually for me, it was written down and emailed to myself to read out, otherwise I would have used phrases like "fucking unacceptable" and "don't fucking harm my attendees" a lot. Read more

Square Peg 17 on 5th National Conference on Bisexuality (BiCon 5)

Following their article on bisexuality in Square Peg 14, issue 17 (published some time after June 1987[1]A THT ad elsewhere in it mentions the level of HIV infection as of June 1987.) had something in its news pages on the 5th National Conference on Bisexuality[2]BiCon 5, but this was two years before the first one to be called 'BiCon'. that was to happen in Edinburgh during mid-October.

Note the line welcoming "feminist transsexuals to women-only workshops"!

Alongside assorted art, Square Peg 17 also had one of the most erotic short stories I've ever read, Chrissy by Fi Craig; a look at the bathrooms of six LGBT people; a look at the films of Barbara Hammer and the recently deceased Curt McDowell; some photos of sex involving several women ("In issue 11 we talked about it, in issue 14 we read about it, in this issue we deliver it"); Manchester as England's second city; some photos of sex involving two or more men (probably); a look at pre-Aids gay porn stories; homo-eroticism in Italian cannibal movies; an interview with Roz Kaveney; a look at Aids in the USA; a Prague travelogue, then behind the 'Iron Curtain'. Read more

Notes

Notes
1A THT ad elsewhere in it mentions the level of HIV infection as of June 1987.
2BiCon 5, but this was two years before the first one to be called 'BiCon'.

Outright #43 article on BiCon 11

Outright was a free community newspaper in the East Midlands – it started life in February 1990 as 'Outright: Gay Freesheet for the East Midlands', and became '.. For Gays and Lesbians in Central England' by November 1992.

By issue 43 in November 1993, it was '.. For Gays Lesbians and Bisexuals in Central England' and in the same issue carried the following story about the recent BiCon 11 in Nottingham: Read more

Bay Area Reporter on first US national bisexual conference

The mention of the Revolting Sexologists from Hell in Bi-Issues #1 got me doing a search for them. Before today, Google knew of one usage, in a Bay Area Reporter[1]Founded in 1971, the BAR is the USA's the oldest continually published LGBT newspaper. The article on the conference was just after two pages of obituaries, almost all as a result of Aids:

Obituaries in the Bay Area Reporter 5th July 1990 1

Obituaries in the Bay Area Reporter 5th July 1990 2
article on the first US 'national bisexual conference' in 1990. (And it should have been the 'Radical Revolting Sexologists from Hell'!)

I didn't go to the conference – too poor, amongst other things – but several people from the UK did. I do have a couple of the brochures from it – one as a result of Robyn bringing some to the 1990 BiCon two months later, and one from being married to someone who did go.

That BiCon is probably where I got one of the event's t-shirts from… Read more

Notes

Notes
1Founded in 1971, the BAR is the USA's the oldest continually published LGBT newspaper. The article on the conference was just after two pages of obituaries, almost all as a result of Aids:

Obituaries in the Bay Area Reporter 5th July 1990 1

Obituaries in the Bay Area Reporter 5th July 1990 2

Bi-Issues #1

After the extended end of Bi-Monthly[1]It had become more and more irregular. The last published issue had a cover date of February/March 1989, but the actual publication date would have been later in 1989. three newsletters started up in 1991: Bi-Issues, Bi-Us, and Bifrost. (Spot the naming convention used by UK bi stuff…)

Bi-Issues was edited by Kevin Saunders. It was, I think, the first of the three to see print: if he was a member of the London Bisexual Group committee when they took the decision not to publish any more issues of Bi-Monthly, he'd have known of its demise before most people.

Published around February 1991, Bi-Issues #1 was an A5 4 page newsletter (i.e. a sheet of A4 folded in half) given away free. I don't think I have any copies of it (or Bi-Us) but it was converted to HTML by Rowan – editor of Bifrost, the most successful and long-running of the three – around 1999:

Every issue contains all the articles originally published in it with the exception of poetry, reprints from other publications .. Listings are not included in order to avoid confusion. Adverts are generally not included, though they may be if they were for an event within the bi community.

Bi-Issues ran for three editions. Kevin died in summer 2019. Read more

Notes

Notes
1It had become more and more irregular. The last published issue had a cover date of February/March 1989, but the actual publication date would have been later in 1989.