Memories of BiCon 2010

London Docklands from the University of East London

BiCon 2010, the 28th annual bisexual conference/convention took place from August 26th – 30th at the University of East London, Docklands campus. It was combined with the 10th International Conference on Bisexuality, and the first international Bisexual Research Conference. About 450 people attended, from 28 countries!

I got up ridiculously early on Thursday 26th August in order to take the coach from Winchester to London leaving at 06:30. The journey was smooth and I was at UEL by 10am, in time to check in and drop off my suitcase in my accommodation.

The research conference was utterly brilliant, full credit to Meg Barker and Christina Richards for running it. Most of the talks were of exceptional quality, and i feel i learnt a lot. I enjoyed hearing about Helen Bowes-Catton’s research into how people perceive and visualise bisexual spaces. Kaye McLelland spoke about bisexuality in the works of Shakespeare, and i marvelled at how well my English teachers at school managed to hide it all from us!

Robyn Ochs at BiCon 2010

I was thoroughly inspired by a keynote talk from Robyn Ochs, a public speaker, writer, and long-standing bisexual activist. Robyn spoke of the importance of the impact that we make when we create space for people to be comfortably bisexual. I was touched by Robyn’s description of the reward when somebody tells us that we make a difference for them. I felt so proud at that moment that I helped to found Bi Wessex in Winchester: proud that people come along and gain something from the group, and that some of the members were there at BiCon.

Miguel Obradors Campos speaks at BiCon 2010

On Friday i bought Robyn’s book, Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and attended the workshop where we heard from ten of the people who contributed to the book. They stood up and told us something about themselves and read an excerpt from the book. It gave such meaning to hear them speak personally, and when i reach their stories in the book, i will remember them. Their contributions will be particularly meaningful for me. I asked several of the contributors to write in my book, which they gladly did.

Sexual orientation self-definitions

I enjoyed hearing Heidi Bruins Green and Dr. Nicholas Payne speak about the results of a workplace survey on bisexuality. It was very interesting to hear the results analysed and validated from a mathematical perspective. Their results showed that bisexuality is not a phase on the way to something else, but a valid destination point, as are many other sexual orientations. They had some interesting data to show that happiness at work is directly correlated with LGBT support groups in the workplace, and anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Saturday’s discussion about words and phrases for bisexuality in other languages was intriguing. I shared my Esperanto knowledge about the etymology of the word ambaŭseksema and the positive phrase borrowed from shipping terminology navigi per vaporo aŭ velo (to navigate by steam or sail). We learned phrases, both positive and negative in German, Dutch, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Sri Lankan, Welsh and Hebrew. Everybody contributed something, and the results will be published … somewhere.

Knitting a bi pride bracelet

I knitted a bi pride bracelet in the amazing craft room, and then on saturday afternoon i took some time out to visit Central London. I went to Covent Garden to visit the new Apple store (the biggest in the world) and enjoyed spending time by myself.

Saturday evening was the BiCon ceilidh which i enjoyed immensely. When it comes to dancing, i really like being told what to do! :) I made a new friend that night, somebody who i feel could become a very good friend. We danced together a lot and had some lovely conversations. Later on the music became too loud but i joined the Corridor Club upstairs where it was quieter and i enjoyed chatting to more people. We were actually the last to leave because we didn’t realise when the music had stopped and everyone downstairs had left!

Sunday was the disastrous “Bisexuality in Science-Fiction & The Future” workshop. It was marred by the speaker being late, a church group being in the room we were supposed to use, the laptop being broken, the projector refusing to work, and the speaker’s corny sense of humour which did not go down particularly well at 10am. I gave up and left after about ten minutes of technology fail, and went and joined the church, which i actually really enjoyed! Those who stayed said it only got worse, and by half way through several of them had started their own alternative science-fiction workshop out in the atrium!

The highlight of Sunday was “Smutty Storytelling” which was very well attended, and the storytellers did not disappoint! The stories were well written, and delivered with humour and enthusiasm! There were cheers and a standing ovation by the end! I sat with my new-found friend and mentioned that I had “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” on DVD, which we watched later that evening.

Monday morning seemed to go quite slowly. Things were winding down but there were still a few workshops left. I went to one on sensual play, which was well facilitated, and led to discussions of how we might turn the results into an amusing website! Later i went to have my photo taken professionally, so that hopefully i will appear again on the front cover of Bi Community News and maybe in other publications about bisexuality.

Latimer "the buck" and a lion from BiCon 2008 share a hug

Before i knew it, it was closing plenary. Awards and thanks were given, we celebrated the success of this BiCon, and met the team of BiCon 2011 which will be in Leicester from September 1st – 4th. Registration is already open!

The bi community is amazing. So totally inclusive and unquestioning. I am so happy that i went, I am sad that it’s over, but writing this is my therapy: recording my happy memories and celebrating the joys of the last few days.

Thanks so very much to the BiCon 2010 organising team – you did an incredible job!


Blanket, as promised

Blanket progress

I did loads yesterday! I was about half-way through the big red section yesterday morning. There are some lovely textures in the yarns. Thank you to Ludy for the purple yarn that i am using at the moment, and also for teaching me how to do a kind of basket weave knit pattern. I’ll take a close up once i have knitted out a bit and the pattern can be seen more clearly.

Kia Bifesto! (What a BiFest!)

Resumo: Mi tre ĝuis Bifeston hieraŭ. Mi vidis malnovajn amikojn, amikiĝis kun novaj amikoj, kaj faris abundo de trikado.

So i am really glad we went to BiFest yesterday! That was definitely one of the best i have ever been to. Nice points were: it was well spread out with plenty of spaces we could go and not feel cramped up together, they provided a buffet tea for us, we got to watch Doctor Who (yay!!) and the weather was simply amazing for us!

I was able to see and catch up with some old friends and make some new ones. It seemed as if there were several new people there, but there were also many people noticeably missing, which was a shame.

The craft corner was a massive success, building on previous years. I think there were at least ten people doing some sort of knitting or crocheting during the day. I like to joke that bisexuality is synonymous with knitting! In truth, i believe it is all thanks to Ludy! I got a lot done on my blanket yesterday (pictures to come later today!) and i taught somebody how to knit! Yay! :) I also got chatting to somebody else about crochet, who had a totally excellent idea of a group crochet project where multiple people can work on the same thing simultaneously, using multiple threads, joining in or dropping out as they please. This sounds like something for BiCon! :D

Doctor Who was so much fun with a room full of people watching it together! We were all laughing and cheering and shouting at the television! A very interactive television watching experience!

All in all, i had a great time, met some lovely people with whom i’m hoping to keep in touch, and i do hope we’ll be able to go to BiCon this year. I am thinking of running an Esperanto workshop at BiCon, to introduce other people to the delights of the language! :)

Baby blankie

I think this is turning out to be a baby blankie, which is fine by me! As promised here are some updated pictures:

Blankie progress

Blankie progress

It seems to get bigger every time i photograph it! I am currently estimating it to be about 2 metres wide! Plenty wide enough to cover a double bed! Woohoo!!

I am still accepting offers of wool donations, if you have any you’d like to offload onto me! Thank you to ladybird for the dark red that i am using right now, and the pale yellow that you can see mixed in with the pink just before the fluffy bit! :)

More wool required!

As Sixfeet asked me what i am knitting … well it is something enormous that will grow to gigantic proportions and will eventually be a blanket! I posted about it before but it got lost in the HostingRails fiasco, so here is a new picture:

Blanket progress

You can see a 30cm ruler for reference. I estimate that this is going to be about 120cm wide! Nice! :) Hence why i needed a circular needle just for the length of it.

I need more wool! If anyone fancies donating me any bits of left-over wool, please get in touch with me! Any kind of wool is good, any colour, thickness, style … it’ll all go in! I think it will be nice to have contributions from friends and family all knitted in together. Aster, who inspired me to make a blanket last week, already donated the grey that started me off. The rest i had already, or i have bought since.