…and bisexual? Stonewall’s Election questions

This originally appeared in BCN issue 100.

In March, Stonewall published their list of questions for candidates at the general election.  And overall it was a very handy crib sheet for exploring each candidate’s stance on a range of issues that might come up for legislation in the next Parliament.

But it began:

    If you’re elected at the next election, what will you do to ensure homophobic bullying is tackled in our local schools?

    Hate Crime
    Homophobic hate crimes are on the increase across the country. What will you do to ensure lesbian and gay people can feel safe in their local area?

    Equality Act
    Will you – and your party  – commit to ensuring full implementation of important measures in the forthcoming Equality Act, which would benefit lesbian and gay people?

    Public Services
    All too often, gay men and women face second class treatment by the public services their taxes help to fund. What do you propose to do to address this?

Now, Stonewall are a lesbian, gay and bisexual charity and campaigning group, and given bis make up arguably the majority of the LGB population, why were we missing?

I fired off an email:

“Looking at LGBT election coverage I noticed this piece on your website. Some questions are bi-inclusive (blood ban, internationalism) while others only talk about lesbians and gay men (hate crime, equality act).  I wonder if you have any comment on the reasons for this?”

Seven days later – and the long bank holiday weekend eating up most of that time – the web page with the Stonewall list of suggested questions suddenly changed to use bi-inclusive language.


Two days later they emailed me:

This was an unintended mistake and I thank you for bringing it to our attention.

A cynic might ask how often they remember to put ‘bisexual’ in something but mistakenly and unintentionally fail to mention gay and lesbian people.  But the important thing here is – where you find LGB and LGBT organisations seem to have left the B out, it can be worth dropping them a line to highlight your concern.  Or if you prefer, drop us an email and we may be able to do it for you.

We’d welcome other cases of challenging bi invisibility for this column, whether your challenge led to a positive result, an eloquent excuse or a wall of silence!  Send your stories headed “And Bisexual” to the feedback box on the website, or by post to RM Ribbit, London SW1P 3NB.