The “Bisexuality Briefing”, at Notts Pride 2019

23 September 2019 by Jennifer

Just over 13 minutes of video, welcoming bi / pan / queer / no-label people to Notts Pride in 2019, and giving everyone some bi facts. Plus the story of how it came about.

Here it is!

Content note: small flashing lights occasionally – the actual stage lights on the day. Also, some wobbliness from the camera, but it’s mostly steady after the first minute.

And here’s the story…

Back in 2017, I had an idea for a bi thing for the main stage at Notts Pride, and Angela @eldiadia kindly put a message out via QTIPoC Notts for possible collaborators.

Tuk & Arianne responded, and we got together and invented the “Bisexuality Briefing”. We spent an evening talking over good points to make, creating a script with the lines shared out among the three of us, and rehearsing.

We presented the result at Notts Pride 2017, and it got cheers and applause!

Three people on stage. Arianne, who's Black, is looking at the audience as if about to speak, and wearing a top made of a bi flag and white shorts. Jennifer and Tuk are looking down at their scripts, getting ready to speak again soon. Jennifer is white, with short hair, a purple vest top and unglamorous trousers. Tuk is a woman of colour, wearing a fishnet top and black shorts. She has curly hair tied back. All three look happy.

The only vexation was that the video of the 2017 one didn’t come out well – too wibbly-wobbly, due to camera movement. Our heads weren’t even on the screen all the time! So I reluctantly decided that it wasn’t really usable as a thing to share around.

In 2018, I was too busy in the run-up to Pride to organise anything special.

In 2019, I thought maybe we could do it again, and take the opportunity to get a better video. I asked the Pride organisers about having a timeslot on the stage, and had an encouraging reply back from Ben.

Arianne wasn’t available this time, but Tuk and I got together a couple of days before and rehearsed. Sounding good!

On the morning of Pride, I had a new idea: that maybe, as there were only the two of us this time, I could get a couple more people to come up and hold bi and pan flags – just to have more of a presence on the stage.

Waiting for the march to start, I asked someone I didn’t know about the flag idea, and they were instantly keen. That encouraged me.

As I was walking in the march, I thought, well I may as well ask some more people too, no reason why not.

So then I spent the rest of the march going up to people with bi or pan flags and giving them a very quick spiel about what was going to happen! something like this: “when the march arrives, me and a friend are doing a thing about bisexuality on the stage, and anyone who’s bi or pan who wants to come and stand on the stage with us is welcome – no pressure! if you wanna do it, be at the side of the stage just after the march arrives!”

and then I would zoom off to the next person with the right colour flag :-)

This invention turned out to be a good thing, because the next development was that Tuk couldn’t make it after all! so if I hadn’t had that bright idea on the day, it would’ve just been me up on the stage.

(When the script says “we”, it could be taken as “me and the other people there” – but probably I’d have rewritten a few of the “we” to be “I” if it hadn’t been a last-minute change.)

As it turned out, the community-participation level exceeded my expectations. For the first minute or two that I was talking, I could see in the corner of my eye that more and more people were arriving on stage!

Our timeslot was only meant to be 10 minutes, and Tuk and I had rehearsed the presentation with an actual countdown timer to make sure it really did fit in that time. But on the day it took longer, because of the extra time for people to cheer – or boo, for some of the bits about anti-bi prejudice and annoying myths!

One funny-to-me thing was that we had this line about “oh, I think everyone’s bisexual”. And in our script, we meant it to be gently satirising people who say that, because actually: nope, not everyone. But on the day, evidently a lot of people took it at face value, because it got a cheer! haha.

This time, I was pretty pleased with how the video came out. Not too much wobbling – and as a bonus, I was delighted to discover that the sign language interpreter is visible almost throughout.

A couple of my favourite bits on the video, when I had the chance to watch it myself: one is the signer’s reaction when I first used the term “bi erasure”. I do know really that if you’re going to have a signer for songs or for a known-in-advance presentation, you ought to give them the script beforehand so they won’t get any surprises – but this time I hadn’t thought of that, or been asked. And the other is, when I mention Bi Pride, two of the young people at the front of the stage, you can see it’s the first they’ve heard of it and they’re like “aaaaaaah!”

In honour of Arianne & Tuk’s collaboration in the initial creation, I thought when I edited the video I would add in a couple of the best photos of the three of us from 2017. So those pix appear at the end, along with the other credits and thank-yous.

Text: Notts Pride 2019 "Bisexuality Briefing". The background is a photo from the day - about 20 or 30 celebrating people on a stage at Pride, inc someone wearing a bi flag, plus the backs of heads of some audience people, one of whom is waving two small rainbow flags in the air, in the foreground of the pic.
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