Bi Activist in Queen’s Birthday Honours
The Queen’s Birthday Honours List published today includes Bi Community News editor and longstanding bi grassroots volunteer Jen Yockney.
Jen receives an MBE for her contribution to the bisexual community over the past two decades.
Mx Yockney’s work, including taking the helm here at BCN for more than a decade, includes leading BiPhoria – the UK’s longest-running bisexual group – and the @bisexualhistory project recording our collective history.
She led the BiCon 2000 and 2004 teams, and her vision for what would become The Bisexuality Report helped to push bisexual inclusion up the agenda of many LGBT organisations.
More than 15,000 copies of her 2011 publication Getting Bi in a Gay / Straight World have found homes, spreading advice on coming out and staying out as bisexual.
Jen commented on the announcement, “I’m delighted. When I came out aged sixteen at the height of Section 28 mania it was a very different world and much more isolating. If you had told me that twenty-eight years later anyone would be in the Honours list for doing the kind of things I’ve done – let alone that it would be me – I would have laughed the idea.”
“It’s also, I believe, the first time someone has been listed with the title Mx. As well as being a bastion of traditional privilege, the honours system has always been steeped in the gender binary: Sir this, Dame that. As a genderqueer trans woman, I’m delighted to have played a tiny part in breaking that down. When I was first coming out it was hard to even find the words for things like this.”
“The world has changed but at BiPhoria – the UK’s longest-running bisexual project – even now we have a steady stream of people seeking support and community. As long as it’s still needed I hope we’ll be there.”
She was informed at the start of April of the nomination but in strictest confidence. “For the last few weeks since I was notified it’s been a strain at times not to tell anyone. You have this exciting news, you dearly want to tell the people closest to you, but you’re sworn to secrecy.”