Durham Premiers BiMoFest!

Hello to the team from BiMoFest 2018. Cute graphics! How are you feeling with a week or so to go – nervous or excited?

I think we are a mixture of nerves and excitement! It’s certainly a very surreal feeling after spending the last few months organising the festival its now only days away! We’re really grateful to Newcastle LGBT+ Society for all of the support they have given, a special shout out to Georgia and Lauren and to Spencer, Taylor and Tobias who are representatives from the NUS Trans and LGBT+ Campaigns for all of their help with this. In the final run-up to the week we’re focusing on promotion including reaching out beyond our LGBT+ Association to ensure as many people are made aware thats it’s happening and how they can get involved.

What’ve you got lined up for the day?

We have a wide range of workshops and discussions which have been organised for the day including:

– Bi+ Health & Wellbeing
– Bi+ and Multiorientation – Sexual Violence issues
– Oversexualiation of Bi+ and Multiorieintation identities
– Bi+ and Multiorientation Liberation and History
– Bi+ and Multiorientation Prejudice and Invisibility within the LGBT+

We’ve also have fringe events running including a Poly forum and badge making workshop which is being run by our local Action for Trans Health group.

Our final event of the day is BiMO-Question Time with a discussion panel focusing on the issue of Bi+ identities and faith, as well as a second topic which the wider public will be able to decide on via a poll on our main event page.

Is it just open to students or the wider world?

The festival is open to everyone and we welcome allies to come along and learn more about the diversity of our Bi+ community including how to be an ally to Bi+ and Multiorientation people. The event is also open to everyone of all ages and is wheelchair accessible. We’ve worked with the other LGBT+ identity reps to ensure that the festival is as inclusive as possible. Through this we’ve looked at how we can ensure that the discussions aim to reflect and represent Bi+ people of colour, Bi+ people with disabilities, Bi+ people of faith, Bi+ trans and non-binary people, Bi+ working class people, Bi+ people who self-define as poly and Bi+ people who self-define onto the ace and aro spectrums.

What prompted it: is it good or tough being a Bi+ student in Durham at the moment?

I think there are definitely still barriers being a Bi+ student at Durham including both in regards to social inclusion and even within academic studies there seems to be almost invisibility that Bi+ identities exist. With the recent changes in our LGBT+ Association, we’ve created our own representative caucuses which aim to empower LGBT+ students within our Association. We currently have over 15 different caucuses including a Multiorientation caucus to represent Bi+ and Multiorientation students and through the caucus have created our own Bi-Furious and Multiorientaiton Campaign to help support Bi+ and Multiorientation students at Durham.

From our first Multiorientation caucus meeting, we discussed holding a festival to help celebrate Bi+ and Multiorientation identities, educate and raise awareness of why more needs to be done to ensure the B is not falling silent within LGBT+ community and liberation movements. Unfortunately, biphobia and multiorientation prejudice is still an ongoing issue not just in Durham, but one issue that many people don’t realise is the subtle microaggressions towards Bi+ and Multiorientation people which we’re working to address at Durham including through BiMo-Fest.

One day is brilliant but what about the rest of the year ahead – do you have further plans?

You’re absolutely right, one day is not enough especially as the issues that Bi+ and Multiorientation people face happen 365 days of the year. During BiMo-Fest we will also be holding our AGM to elect in our new Multiorientation reps for next year as well as give all Bi+ and Multiorientation identifying students the chance to discuss what our plans are moving forward. Two motions we will also be bringing to our AGM is creating an official committee for our BiMo Campaign, as well as a proposal for a BiMO Women’s representative. Taylor who is the Bi+ representative for NUS LGBT+ Campaign will also be attending in providing a chance for students to feedback on issues they feel could be addressed within the NUS LGBT+ campaign.

Moving forward we will be looking towards how we can campaign for wider recognition of Bi+ and Multiorientation identities within Durham, including organising our first Bi+ Awareness Week. Another project we’re currently working on is BiMo 101 training workshop for student leaders to help ensure they are better equipped to support Bi+ and Multiorientation students whether in a welfare, campaign or social capacity within societies, colleges, associations and sports teams.

And if people want to come along, where do they look for more info (and beyond this weekend to find other bi+ students in Durham where’s the place to go?)

For more information about BiMo-Fest we have our main event page where we will be posting updates for everything that is happening on the day:

We also have our main facebook page for our Bi-Furious Multiorientation campaign, which provides regular updates on what Bi+ students are doing at Durham, including a point of contact: www.facebook.com/Durham-Bi-Furious-Multiorientation-Campaign-515881688748437/

Finally, if you have any questions or queries please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our Multiorientation reps via email: multiorientationrep@durhamlgbta.org.uk