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Issue 18

Writers - Paul Matthews, Nick Laird, Allie Cherry, James Whyte, Alan Surgeon, Linda Thompson, Ann Mariott, Paul Robertson. Edit and Design - Brian Houston

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Gay Men's Health
Pride Scotia



Bisexuality is nothing new, but tends to go through phases of being more or less acceptable to both the straight and the lesbian and gay communities.

The 80s and 90s in particular saw bisexual men being blamed as causing the spread of HIV & AIDS in the straight community (when we all know that HIV is spread through unsafe sex, not sexuality), while bisexuals became increasingly marginalized within the lesbian and gay communities. And positive bisexual role models are pretty thin on the ground - try and think of an 80s or 90s film where any bisexuals shown were not ice-axe-wielding murderous drug addicts!

While they also have to deal with general issues of homophobia, most bisexuals who are out to any degree will also have suffered some form of specific biphobia too. This is not an area which has been looked at, or even recognised as an issue outside the bi community until recently. However, Beyond Barriers, a Scotland wide project which aims to challenge discrimination and prejudice against LGBT people, and Bi Scotland have recently carried out two workshops on Exploring Biphobia. These had groups of bisexuals exploring the issues they have faced themselves in their dealings with both the straight and LGBT communities.

The findings make rather uncomfortable reading. Much of the frustration is with the failure of LGBT organisations to actively challenge biphobia, and with institutional biphobia. Who would have thought that some gay clubs have 'No Bisexuals' door policies or that there are still lesbian and gay sections of certain trade unions who will refuse to support a bisexual member unless they agree to define themselves as lesbian or gay?

Thankfully things seem to be on the change, and Scotland in particular is becoming a more and more exciting place to be bisexual.

Organisations such as Beyond Barriers and the LGBT Centre for Health & Wellbeing (LGBT HW), Edinburgh, are making strong efforts to be genuinely welcoming and supportive of all the individual communities which make up the LGBT community; recognising that bisexuals have their own needs and issues and can't be treated like some form of watered-down gays and lesbians.

Bi Scotland has just celebrated its first anniversary, having been formed to create an umbrella organisation to cover both Bi Glasgow and Bi Edinburgh and spread its work over the whole country. Members have been working hard to combat biphobia and break down the traditional 'bi invisibility' problem. Bisexual women are involved with the LGBT HW project to produce guides to coming out for lesbians and bisexual women which are genuinely bi-inclusive. Bisexuals have marched under their 'Bisexual Pride' banners at the Edinburgh and Glasgow Pride Scotia celebrations, and as more and more bisexuals become visible, so more and more are gaining the confidence to come out and challenge the stereotypes we all know exist.

Remember the next time you hear a biphobic remark (or say one), does the assumption there are no bisexuals around make it ok? Would people feel that easy about it if the remark was homophobic?


The 22nd annual UK Bicon is based in Manchester from 26 - 30 August, and should be even more fun-filled than usual, as it coincides with Manchester 's Mardi Gras weekend. The annual Bicon (no-one is sure if it's a convention or a conference - a bit of both really, appropriately!) brings together around 300 bisexuals of all ages and genders, plus partners and friends.

There's always a wide range of workshops to cover most interests, from political activism, sexual & gender politics, arts & creative events such as film-making, spirituality and general fun & games. There's also a series of workshops specifically aimed at Bicon first-timers, or those who are new to the bi community, plus ice-breaking events.

Venues are usually wheelchair-accessible, and child-care and British Sign Language interpreting can usually be arranged if requested in advance. Costs are worked out on a sliding-scale according to income, and some hardship grants may be available. Finally, Bicon is always very trans-friendly!

If you can't make it to Manchester this August, there's still a chance for bisexuals to get together in Scotland this year. The LGBT Centre for Health & Wellbeing, Edinburgh, is planning a Celebrate Bisexuality Day on Saturday 25 September. Plans are still at an early stage, but, if you're up for coming along - mark it in your diary!


Bisexual and want to know more about the bi community in Scotland ? Bi Glasgow meets in the Glasgow LGBT Centre, 11 Dixon Street at 7.30pm on the first Wednesday of every month, and Bi Edinburgh in the Edinburgh LGBT Centre, 58-60 Broughton Street at 8pm on the third Wednesday of every month.

Can't get along to either meeting, but have access to e-mail? The virtual bi community is also very active. Email [email protected] with a short message about yourself to join up. (We should point out that this is not a 'would like to meet' type of mailing list!)

Both the Glasgow & Edinburgh groups are open to bisexuals or those questioning their sexuality, and provide a monthly bisexual safe space where you can just be yourself and meet other bisexuals. Both groups also go for drinks & chat after the meetings and arrange occasional social events outside the usual monthly dates, where non-bi friends, partners and allies are welcome to join in the fun.


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Core is a partnership project representing the LGBT community in Scotland. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the partners. However, if they're witty, intelligent and insightful - they probably are. If you flicked through this mag, saw a photie and made an assumption about someone's sexuality - then you're about ten years behind what we're trying to do here. Click the mag off and walk away. Accurate at going online time, but hey, we didn't get this sarky without making mistakes.