Bringing Pride Back
It’s a long time since London saw a bi pride march – we reckon it was 1999, so as near to 20 years as makes no odds. A little over a year ago a plan was hatched to organise a Pride in the city in March 2019. It is something people have talked about for some time as a Bisexual Pride might turn around the usual LGBT Pride experience of having lots of bis hidden in the crowd, attending with staff networks, sports groups or what have you – instead uniting all our varied ‘hats’ under a shared pink, purple and blue.
At the end of 2018 BiPrideUK, the new organisation putting together the Bi Pride festival in London in 2019, announced a postponement of the event.
The date announced and advertised last summer had been March 9th and the team had taken that message out to a lot of local Prides around the country this summer, supplementing the bi outreach work that organisations like BiPhoria, Bi Cymru, BiVisible, Bothways or Leeds Bi Group do.
However now it’s being put back six months – to Saturday September 7th, a little ahead of Bi Visibility Day.
Shortly after they launched an appeal for donations to help put the event together – details at the end of this piece – looking for some £1,500. We caught up with Lev from the Bi Pride UK team to find out why they need the money…
Hello! First for people who haven’t bumped into you at a local Pride or suchlike, what’s BiPride? Where did it come from and who’s making it happen?
Bi Pride UK’s mission is to create spaces where people who experience attraction beyond gender can be freely visible and celebrate themselves and their identities. We make up a very large proportion of the GRSD (Gender, Romantic and Sexual Diversity) community – many stats actually say we’re over half the community – and we deserve to be visible and celebrated in our own right.
After knowing and having observed that Prides don’t always do bi inclusion well enough, we’re creating a whole space just for our community and we also work with local Prides to help improve their bi inclusion.
As part of our effort to to create these spaces where our community feel heard and empowered, we’ve got lots of exciting things planned for 2019 which we can’t wait to share with everyone. The most important event will be on September the 7th this year. The first ever Bi Pride. A historic event which should create a safe and empowering space for our community, but also let the outside world hear our voice. Culturally speaking, there is so much work to be done, and we are incredibly excited to make this important step for positive change.
We also are very aware that not everyone in the UK can visit the pride event for many reasons, be it location, or personal. So we’re currently building our website up to hold a virtual hub of bi content written by our team. This is so everyone can feel like they are part of this brilliant community, no matter where they are. There’s some great stuff in the works and we can’t wait to show everyone.
All this, is organised by our amazing group of volunteers who spend a lot of late nights working tirelessly to celebrate the bi community. This is work that comes straight from the heart, and we’re sure we’ll make you proud.
What has happened so far?
We’ve been growing rapidly in the last 24 months. In February of last year we received charity status, and since then Bi Pride UK has doubled in team size, and we’ve worked on some amazing projects. We put on a corporate panel around bi visibility at work. We put on a live cabaret show with some brilliant bi artists in London. We’ve collaborated with the wonderful people at Pride in London on a social campaign. We were present at 26 Prides across England, Scotland, and Wales making sure that there is bi visibility at local Prides. We view this almost as important as putting on our own pride event.
The response from the bi community has been overwhelmingly positive, which reinforces why we do what we do. And we’re just getting started. We are aiming high for 2019 and won’t settle for anything less.
What is the plan for the event for 2019 – are we looking forward to a parade, workshops, a music festival or something else?
The aim of the 2019 September pride is bringing together people from across the country to celebrate everything that makes our community amazing. It will be held in a large London space with multiple stages. There will be performances from fantastic bi musicians. A speakers’ corner with poetry and speeches. Stalls from prides and organisations. Food and drink. Accessibility for all needs with interpreters for the performances, and safe areas. It’s going to be a day of rightful celebration.
Tell me more about the Appeal – what’s the £1500 for?
We are really excited for our first Bi Pride in 2019, an event for all people who are attracted to more than one gender to come together and celebrate their identities, as well as send a message to the wider society that there are still inequalities faced by members of our communities.
With just £1,500, we can lock in our venue in Hackney and ensure that Bi Pride on Saturday 7th September will be everything it should be.
The venue we’ve found is fully accessible to people with additional mobility needs with a large lift between floors and access ramps to the entries, we will be dedicating a room for the trans members of our communities to get changed on site, there’ll be a dedicated prayer space, and we hope to provide a quiet area with equipment for people with additional sensory needs. We think it’s pretty perfect!
So we’re asking for a little push from the bi community, being dry January, why not donate the cost of a pint or rum and coke to the wonderful team at Bi Pride UK. We need every help we can get, and every penny goes towards the bi community. We don’t pay our volunteers, we all do it because we believe in our mission, and we believe in our amazing community.
To some readers £1500 will seem like a lot of money – previous day-long bi events have often run on budgets of more like £250. Is that the full cost, or just the deposit..?
This is what is needed just to secure the venue. Funding from our corporate sponsors and fundraising events will come later in the year to cover the rest. So we really wanted to get the ball rolling and secure the venue as soon as possible. And also to get a positive movement going within the community – this is just the start.
This event is unlike anything before it – this is not just a few rooms, or a conference hall. We are incredibly excited to be designing and organising a festival of celebration and empowerment. The pride event will be split across two venues, multiple stages, a speaker’s corner, food and drink stalls, pride stalls from across the country, great acts and performances and so much more. From the feedback and interest alone we are expecting the number of attendees in the thousands. This will be a pride that you deserve.
The Crowdfunder appeal is online at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/biprideuk