Bisexuality briefing for the Switchboard volunteers, December 2021

21 March 2022 by Jennifer

23-minute video briefing about being supportive to bi people.

Back in December 2021, I was hired by Switchboard LGBT Helpline to do a session on the theme of bisexuality, for their volunteers.  I did a little presentation, then a Q&A. 

They’re based in London, whereas I was in Nottingham, but due to the wonders of internet communication, that didn’t matter :-)

They wanted to video the session, for the benefit of volunteers who couldn’t be there on the day.  And I suggested that afterwards, I might share some of it for the benefit of other interested people. 

The video I’m putting here today is just the presentation part, about 23 minutes.  We may yet release some snippets from the Q&A as well – probably just bits where I’m answering, not the whole discussion.

Thoughts on the presentation

There’s a stereotype of bisexuality as being strange & exotic – as if it’s really different from being lesbian or gay.  This stereotype can make it seem as though however much experience you have of being lesbian or gay, you’re still locked out of the arcane mysteries of bisexuality!  And I’d realised that this can actually be a bit disempowering to lesbian and gay people who want to be supportive to bi people. 

So the way I decided to structure the info, I talk first about what we have in common, before then looking at what the differences are between coming out as bi & coming out as gay. 

I also recommend some books, and talk a bit about what it’s like at bi community events.

This means that to an extent, it’s specially customised for non-bi people who contribute in places like a Switchboard group or LGBT space.  (Not to say it couldn’t also be interesting/entertaining to bi people, or indeed straight people.)  

Techie notes

The quality isn’t great, because we recorded it from the “other end” of the internet connection!  In retrospect, that was arguably a techie mistake:  I could have recorded it “from my end”, and then we’d have had a better quality picture. 

On the other hand, I’m not totally sure whether Zoom would have let us record just me, at the same time as I had on my screen the “gallery” of people I was presenting to.  (because I didn’t want to be presenting just to a view of myself!)  One to figure out for another time.

In doing the captions for this, I used a piece of software I hadn’t tried before:  Subtitle Edit.  That was the best program I’ve found so far for that task, and I thoroughly recommend it if you need to do any manual subtitling.

Happy watching!  And if you find it useful, please have a think of other places it could usefully be shared :-)