Little Bit Bi

23 September 2022 by Jennifer

Plans for an online event on 18 Oct 2022, for people who are “a little bit bi”, and would like a welcoming space to talk about it.

One thing a lot of bi people have in common is having at some point worried that we “weren’t bi enough“. Part of the stereotype of bisexuality is that you have to be in some sense “50/50”, and most of us aren’t!

I think there are probably thousands more people around the UK who are at least “a little bit bi” – yet have felt iffy about going to “bi events”, partly because of a feeling that they perhaps didn’t qualify like the “real” bi people.

In reality, you would be welcome at “ordinary” bi events! But in case that feels too big of a leap, I was thinking it might be good to create a space which is specially for people who aren’t sure yet they belong in the world of bi. It’s easier to decide “okay, well, there was that one person that one time, so it’s true I’m not absolutely 100% straight” or “I’m basically gay but maybe not absolutely completely only gay” than it is to meet whatever idealised bi‑stereotypes you might have encountered in the past. And I hope that will mean that people don’t need to harbour any doubts about belonging in the space.

Hence… #LittleBitBi :-)

The politics & the language

To be clear: “a little bit bi” counts as bi, if you say so. Being bi isn’t something you have to qualify for by how many people you kissed, or whatever.

I like the question as framed by the Bisexual Index:

Thinking about the people you’ve been attracted to, so far in your life, were they all of the same gender?

So in that sense, the concept of “a little bit bi” is arguably a bit dodgy! There’s just “bi”.

In fact, something we might well end up talking about at the event is challenging the bi‑erasing mythical standards you must supposedly meet before you can call yourself bi.

Meanwhile, though, I think it’s valuable to create a space to support people while they’re figuring out where they belong. So I was looking for the language which would be recognisable to people in that situation.

Bi-curiosity & cultural disrespect

Earlier, I’d been considering making the event title something to do with “bi-curiosity”. For a while, its “working title” on my wall was “The Bi‑Curious Welcome“. But then I found out that some bi people don’t like that language, having heard it used in a derogatory context, e.g. to invalidate their choice as mere dabbling.

Myself I actually like the expression “bi‑curious”. I think being curious is a wonderful quality! And I also think that a lot of the people we’d like to welcome would be able to relate to that language. But I didn’t want to evoke negativity for the people who do have negative associations with it. So I hope “Little Bit Bi” is recognisable for the people we’re talking to, while not carrying such mixed associations.

It isn’t coincidence that the language around “being a little bit bi” is stigmatised – because bisexuality is stigmatised, and because the edges of sexual categories are policed to maintain heteronormative power structures. “Heteroflexible” is another term which I know some people relate to, but other people dislike or consider cringey. Whom does it benefit to make that language hard to use? Not us, I think.

The team

When I got this idea, I thought about who would be cool to work with, and reached out to Vaneet Mehta, author of the book Bisexual Men Exist (which is due out in early 2023). To my delight, Vaneet said he’d be up for collaborating :-)

Then Vaneet and I talked about whom else we’d like to invite, and agreed that our top choice would be writer & performer Maz Hedgehog, author of The Body In Its Seasons & contributor to several other books. And it turned out Maz was interested too, yay :-)

The three of us agreed that we would do a kind of “pilot event” on Zoom. We’ll all do little talks, we’ll take questions, and perhaps we’ll have a bit of discussion as well.

Access now / better access next time

For this first iteration of the event, we will switch on the auto-captioning, and we will take requests for any other access-improving things which don’t cost money.

If it’s a success and we decide to do it again, at that point we’d seek out some grant money to do proper live captioning, plus BSL interpretation if we were pretty sure by then that it would be used.

For this reason, if the access this time is no good for you, it would be very helpful if you could say so on the form (see below). That would then be part of our evidence if/when we later go to seek funding. If it’s a success, I’d like to be able to say, for example, “look, we did this pilot version, we know people want to come who would benefit from XYZ, and now we’d like to make it better, with proper access, and the ability to pay the more-marginalised contributors”.

Not sorting out those things for the first one is partly down to our organising capacity, and partly because I’d rather do “proof of concept” and iron out any glitches in the format first. If it isn’t what people want, or needs rejigging to work, let’s find that out on a small scale :-)

A note on the money options

You might be thinking: couldn’t we charge for the first event, or take donations? And theoretically we could – but that would instantly make it more complex for us to manage. For example, I’d like to avoid the tricky situation of not knowing till later whether we’d actually got enough participants/contributions to cover the cost of human-expert captioning.

Also, it’s a well-known fact that a lot of bi people are rather skint, so making it free is part of making it accessible.

That said, you’re welcome to donate to the Bisexual Index or Biscuit at any time, or support us by ordering our cool stuff :-)

When & where

The pilot event will be on Tuesday 18 October 2022, on Zoom, from 8pm till about 9pm.

Bookings, interest & future access

Click here to book, express interest, or give us info

I’m using the same form both for people who definitely want to book, and people who’d like to be kept in the loop about future similar events. One of the questions on the form gives you the chance to say which category you’re in.

This form is also where we’re gathering info about future access needs, or any other ways to make it better! So please do give us your input about that, as well.

Approximately the first 30 people will get a place, and if there are more people than that interested, they’ll go on a waiting list. I’ll aim to check the incoming info every few days, so don’t worry if you don’t hear straight away. Then, a few days before the event, I plan to check whether the people with places are all still coming, so that if people are now unavailable, we can invite a few more from the waiting list.

Any assistance with spreading the word is very welcome!

Hope to see some of you there :-)

The words "Little Bit Bi", on a background of bi flag colours: blue, purple, pink. At the top is a narrow stripe of the rainbow colours. At the bottom is a narrow stripe of the pan flag colours: pink, yellow and a more turquoise blue.

2 thoughts on “Little Bit Bi”

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