Bi Life, Down Your Way
All across the country – and consistently since the start of the 1980s – there are bi groups. Some with dozens attending, some with just a handful of people at each meet. There are groups that run mainly for a social chat space and groups with a campaigning agenda who rock out their banners on demonstrations, lobby their councils and the like. Over the page the BCN bi groups listings give you an idea of what is out there.
Why do we make these groups happen? And what might you get out of going to them?
A space to talk
At a bi meet last year someone excitedly said to me, “This is fantastic! How often do you get to be in a room with more than a dozen other bisexuals!?”
“Every month,” I thought, but for most people being in a space where being bi isn’t making them the odd one out is a rare opportunity to talk about experiences of biphobia. For a lot of us, keeping a sense of bi self is something we keep having to work at while the people around us box us off as gay or as straight. Talking to other people fighting that same battle can be refreshing.
This isn’t just about the pub, coffee and boardgaming kinds of bi meet-ups as the community centre ones tend to finish up in a bar. Pub chat tends less to the heavy “bi issues” and more to finding friends who you won’t have to explain bisexuality.
There’s no one right way of being a bisexual. It looks simple written down but how much more effective in understanding that is meeting a plethora of other bis who may live similarly or quite differently from you. Along the way your own biphobia or preconceptions about bi people might get challenged. I used to hear “bis are nicer than other people”… Now I’m pretty sure that difference is wishful thinking!
To help others
Suppose you’ve already been round the loops of coming out, being pushed back in, coming out another way, arguing about it, hunting for reflections of yourself on TV and in film.
Other people are still going through all that stuff: you might find it rewarding to compare what they are experiencing with how it all panned out for you.
“If only I was dating another bisexual person all these problems with biphobia from partners wouldn’t come up! They’d understand about being bi,” you might be saying to yourself.
Let’s be honest – sometimes we are getting out there to Meet People as well as to meet people.
Bi groups tend to be social or support spaces rather than focused on dating though, so for most people it seems to work out better if they’re looking to make friends and the relationships happen as a bonus.