Finding Words to Celebrate Our Sexuality

At BiCon 2004 in Manchester I ran the “Bi Power” workshop with 11 participants. The goal of the workshop was to find words for the positive energy that our bisexuality gives us.
Besides, it is good to emphasize the positive points of bisexuality instead of the bad ones. It’s good to have a barrel to get energy from as a buffer for rougher times.

The Bi Power workshop was done once before in Nijmegen in the Netherlands at the annual autumn party of Gobi, the group for bisexuals that is run within the Nijmegen homosexual/lesbian/bisexual organisation (COC). This workshop was run by Sjon and me and an article was published in the Bi Nieuws (the Dutch bi magazine).

At the workshop, we split into 2 groups and we produced 9 A3 sheets of paper with the words of empowerment. I tried to categorize the words a bit and I hope you can recognize and enjoy them.

On a personal level the participants had a variety of positive associations:

Creative conflict Inner freedom – personal courage? Excitement Self-knowledge & expression
Individuality Sense of fun
Lack of superficiality Giving new energy Celebration Language to express who you are Androgynous Going into alternate universe utopia Relaxed Easy going Take lives in your own hands
Sexuality is fluid Expressing your sexuality Hedonism love fun Adventurous
Expressive sexual & creative & intellectual Genuineness -no need to conceal true self – honesty Claming and identity Calm after exploration (more centred
and confident after exploring yourself) No clear tags, potential to do/feel/act any way you fancy. Creative (fewer inhibitions)

On a social level the participants felt “togetherness” with other bisexuals:

Sense of community Feeling accepted and ‘normal’ Meeting nice people Sense of commonality
Crossover community Like-minded people interesting
Sense of belonging
Inclusiveness (poly, bdsm, naturism)
Inclusiveness and accessibility
All outsiders together Making contact with other groups No need to explain yourself
Appreciate diversity Round table – no corners
Sensitivity empathy Community
Safe space Safety
Positive atmosphere Respect
Bridges into other places to reach
Escher – complexity (we discussed the type of multi-dimensional bridges that Escher depicted in some of his drawing as a simile for bridge construction)
Talking about ‘big stuff’ i.e. the meaning of life
Lack of body-fascism, ageism, ableism
Tolerance in other areas as well (transgender, SM)

On a more societal level, the participants discussed how they placed themselves in society, their norms and values, boundaries, boxes and how they move around in society:
Assume nothing
Lack of restriction on possibilities Openness Variety / diversity Acceptance of flux & change
Expansiveness ‘Can’ not can’t
Challenging stereotypes
Not male dominated Flexibility, immediacy
Don’t fit in boxes Freedom of choice
Challenge bipolar thinking Good for children No commercial identity (i.e. Pink pound)
Not restricted by expectations
Being able to enjoy both genders
Reinforcing vs. expanding boundaries
Rebelliousness We’re naughty and we like it! Kinky Exciting rebel kinkiness
Enjoy being kinky, forbidden (tastes good?)
Political activism (intellectual & practical) Politically liberating Surprising disruption of assumptions
People who didn’t fit in and conform
Supportiveness to enable vulnerability and boundary
pushing in a safe space
Many facets – people can have other aspects (invisible)
Tolerance in other areas as well (transgender, SM)
We are the people our parents warned us about (tee hee hee)

You can see, the bisexual participants have reinforcing visions, pictures and associations about what is positive about bisexuality. The conference provided us with a safe space to get this list together, it would have been much more difficult to do it in “normal life”.

It was fun to run the workshop and hear all those empowering words. Next time let’s do something the same but yet different, as long as it gives good energy!

Bi Community News, BM Ribbit, London WC1N 3XX