What’s London BiFest?
It’s an annual day (or afternoon) event celebrating the bisexual community and its allies. There are other BiFests held around the country, which is why this one has London in its name. The first one was held in 1999, and they’ve been happening semi-regularly since. It went on hiatus for a while, but I revived it last year at the Kingston Quaker Centre and it’s happening again on Saturday 18th August at the same venue. You can see details here and buy tickets here.
It is, I think, the biggest bi event in London, averaging 100-130 people over the day, and it offers a unique opportunity to meet all kinds of people and hear all kinds of stories. The Quaker centre is a fantastic venue – light and open and wheelchair accessible, with multiple spaces. We strive to be as accessible as possible and we’ve invited a diverse selection of people and groups along – among others, The Outside Project, Healthwatch, Polyday, G(end)er Swap, The Bisexual Index, Queer Black and POC Geeks, and Bi Pride. We also have community stalls, a jumble sale, craft activities, a quiet room, and a small but lovely garden where you can picnic. There’s a kitchen and we’ll provide some free snacks and drinks, including gluten-free and vegan options.
If you’re bisexual and have never been in a space that’s majority-bisexual, you’ll be surprised by how affirming and enlightening the experience can be. We always have people come along who have never been to any LGBT event before, as well as people who’ve been bi activists for decades. We welcome everyone who is happy to respect our code of conduct (which we do enforce).
I’m lesbian/gay. Why would I come to a bi event?
It’s true that a lot of people from the L and G ends of the acronym will assume this isn’t for them. But BiFest is an LGBTQIA+ event, and we take that acronym seriously – we’re open to everyone who is friendly to bisexuality. If you’re lesbian or gay, take a minute to ask yourself the following questions.
– You’ve probably been in spaces where the default sexuality was gay, and spaces where the default sexuality was straight. Have you ever been in one where it was bisexual?
– How many bisexual people do you know? How many bisexual friends do you have?
– Have you ever thought, or agreed with people saying, that bisexuals are untrustworthy, bisexuals will cheat on you, bisexuals just need to make their mind up, bi now gay later, people aren’t really bisexual? Have you ever missed the days when things were just ‘lesbian and gay’ rather than all these annoying acronyms? In other words, have you ever been involved in the same kind of prejudice against bi people that you may well have experienced against yourself as a lesbian or gay man?
– Do you know the bisexual community’s various definitions of bisexuality? Did you know we define it as ‘attraction to more than one gender’? In other words, it’s not based on behaviour, and it’s not about binary gender.
– Do you know the difference between trans people and non-binary people? Did you know that the bi community has a very high proportion of both?
– Do you want to be fully involved in your LGBTQIA+ community, not just the first two letters?
Do you think it might be worth you getting to know the bi community?
“I had a great time at BiFest last year meeting new people, making friends and learning about their experiences. I really enjoyed the ethos of inclusivity and respect for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to sit outside in the sun and enjoy some picnic food with the people I had met. I would encourage everyone to come along to celebrate, learn and have fun. I can’t wait for BiFest 2018!” – Charlie Parker, chair of the Kingston LGBT Forum