Fringe Benefits

This originally appeared in BCN issue 111.

Or, “What has being a bi activist ever done for me?”

After the flamewars, after the discussions on slogans, after the endless questions on toilets, parking, cutlery and the last minute changes – an organiser of a bi event might be left wondering – what has being a bi activist ever done for me?

In my case – lots.

I’m not talking about the shadows under my eyes or my increased knowledge of long words and politics.  I’m talking about the skills, knowledge, confidence and experience I’ve gained.

Since attending my first BiCon in 2000, I’ve become increasingly more involved in supporting groups, running events and writing things for BCN.   Things like BiCon, Big Bi Fun Day, Birmingham Bi Group, Pride Packs, Pride stall organisation, writing funding bids, running workshops, gaining sponsorship… and so on.

As a result of all this volunteering, I recently got a paid job as a Volunteer Development Manager.  Without the experiences with the bi community, I would not have been offered the post.

In “job speak” I’ve gained skills in and around:
– working in a team             – working on own initiative
– collaborative working             – event management
– budgeting                 – venue liaison
– marketing and social media         – community engagement
– delivering training             – awareness of the benefits of volunteering
– communication, motivation and influencing skills

Reflect for a moment on the activism you have done:
– delivering leaflets and     = marketing activities
talking to local venues
– booking a Pride stall and     = organisation and communication
talking to people             and public relations
– running a workshop at BiCon = preparation, facilitation,
organisation and/or training skills
– helping on the desk at BiCon = customer service and communication
– writing an article for BCN     = research, writing and being
published in a national magazine

If you think about it, you’ve done a lot too.  My suggestion – sit down, consider just how much you’ve been doing and consider at how it could help you get a job.
So next time you are wondering, what has being a bi activist ever done for me – don’t forget the skills and experience you have gained.  It got me a paid job, it might do the same for you.


Editor’s note: bi activism isn’t only good for your CV, but it helps!