Swirling in a movement of their own creation

This originally appeared in BCN issue 75.

While most people who go to Bicon will take part in the innocent flirtation and casual openness about diverse sexuality, unbeknownst to many there exists a sordid underbelly to this event, a seedy twilight world of shadowy figures known as the Activists’ Network.  

Every year, an unknown number of innocent faffers are lured into exploring their urges to Do Something.  A simple mistake, such as stumbling into the wrong workshop, or finding oneself in proximity to certain individuals in the bar, late at night when alcohol has dulled your natural resistance, can be the first step on a slippery slope.

Pictures of bi brains

Professor Cat von Rockenheiser, of the Stuttgart Institute for Studies of Deranged Individuals explains the impact of activism on the neural cortex of bisexuals drawn into such behaviour, “The actual structure of the brain changes over time” (see diagram). “A normal bisexual brain is devoted almost entirely to faff. However, after prolonged exposure to activism, this may reduce to as little as 65%”. This syndrome is the cause of great concern and worry in friends and relatives of affected individuals and may be accelerated through YAV exposure on activism weekends or the so-called “uk bi activism” email network.

Other scientists pour scorn on Prof Rocks’ findings. Dr. M. Boffin, of the Bi Research Network, said, “What we get up to is in no way harmful, is fully consensual, and may in

fact help.  No-one is forced to take part in the research group.  We believe our work improves the lives on non-activist bisexuals, and possibly they need to recognise us as their allies.”

One of the problems with spotting a case of Activism is the many and varied forms it can take.  D (24) said, “I though my partner was safe. She didn’t go to the local bi group, had never been drawn to that type of workshop at Bicon. Sure, she subscribed to Bi Community News, but I thought it was a little harmless dabbling.  Then I discovered a text message on her phone, confirming her attendance at an away weekend. I confronted her, and she confessed to running an email list for people interested in how bisexuals are represented in the media.  She says she finds it… rewarding.”

But ‘rewarding’ can be just the start. L (35) (not his real name) runs a social group for bisexuals in his area. He told us it was not merely rewarding, but “I find it enjoyable […] meeting a diverse range of bisexuals” in the course of his community building work, to which he gives anything up to “several” hours each month. Little do the friends he is making realise that they in turn may be lured into the activist lifestyle.

In the 80s and 90s, such people were frequently isolated individuals. However, new technologies and the internet has allowed those infected with Activism, even those in isolated areas such as the Scottish Highlands, Cornwall, and Zone 6, to exchange hints, tips and ideas on how to continue their pernicious activities.

Our reporter approached a bicon veteran for advice on how to avoid infection.  On the tape we found abandoned afterwards, she told him to stay away from anyone who admits involvement in or a desire to run a local bi group, not attend any workshops in the “activism” stream and under no circumstances engage in conversation with people who mention youth hostels.  She then discovered he had an interest in journalism, and the tape cut out partway through a discussion about BCN’s print deadlines for issue 76.  The reporter has not been seen by his family or friends since that assignment.

It is a cruel irony that while activism is a dangerous and pernicious addiction, there are those who say that without such people, the bi movement and even Bicon itself might cease to function.

Why has the community not stamped this sort of thing out?  Some suggest that activism may, in fact be at the heart of the community. Some speculate that there may be activists on this year’s BiCon organising team.  We approached a member of the team who wished to remain anonymous.  “Activism, no… These are rumours put about by people trying to discredit us, the same people that spread malicious rumours that Stonewall is a campaigning organisation.”   At this point a bundle of fliers slipped from his grasp onto the floor and he desparately claimed that “I could give it up any time I wanted, I tell you.”

And is there any hope for these tragic individuals? Jack got out. “I escaped, but I had to travel far through space and time and become a Time Agent to get away from them. It still haunts me, and I don’t know what I’d do if I ever came into contact with the Activism Vortex again.”

It makes a change from the usual worthy piece on activism.  And as it was in the BiCon special edition of BCN it seemed rude not to share it with the paying subscribers!


Self Test: Are You An Activism Addict?

1. The Pink Paper carries a voxpops piece about whether bisexuality is real. Do you…
a) Not notice, because you’re too busy working out which one of them is cutest.
b) Sigh at some of the opinions expressed, and move on to the cartoon.
c) Write an outraged letter to the Pink, asking them if they’re about to run a voxpop on the existence of homosexuality.
d) Tour town and take every copy you can find to the recycling bins.

2. You move to a new town and want to meet other bi people. You…
a) Wait til BiCon and put a note on your booking form asking to be in a flat with people from that area
b) Go to a local gay bar and fail to talk to anyone, coming home disappointed.
c) Set up your own local group meeting in a pub once a month
d) Grab attractive passers-by on the street and demand to know whether they are bisexual – and if not why not.

3. How do you let a potential partner know about your sexual orientation?
a) Wait for them to raise the subject
b) Sit them down and gently tell them
c) Invite them to a bi awareness day in a nearby city
d) You rely on the fact you refused to take off your bi pride teeshirt the first time you slept with them to give the hint.

SCORE 0 points for each a, 2 points for each b, 5 points for each c and 10 points for each d.

0-6 – Invisible Bi. you’re fitting in with mainstream culture just fine… on the bi front at least…
6-9 – The best of both worlds bi, you know when to keep quiet about it and when you need to be visible.
10-25 Having your cake and eating it bi. You have activism. You have it bad.
26+ Greedy bi! Isn’t your BCN column overdue?