Bi Visibility Day 2020

Come join us on Saturday 19th September for The Bi+ Gathering from 10.30am – 6pm for a virtual community event in celebration of Bi Visibility Day.

All bi+ people and our allies are welcome to join us for a day of online fun, activities, talks and workshops.

The Bi+ Gathering

Time:Session:Platform:
10:30am – 6pmAll Day Discord Social:
Chat, online games, and general fun!
Discord
Videos, videos, and more videos: including safer sex information from SX, and an exclusive interview with a Hidayah member about being Bi & Muslim.
(These videos will still be available to watch after the event has finished!)
YouTube
11am – 12pmMake-up Tutorials with Kate
Join Kate for some make-up tips and tricks!
Zoom
12:30pm – 1:30pmNeurodiverse Space with Nic
A space for all neurodiverse* people to talk about their experiences in a safe space.
*Neurodiverse includes autism, ADD/ADHD, Tourette’s, and many other conditions, and this session welcomes those who are self-diagnosed.
Zoom
2:30pm – 3:30pmMystery Session
It’s a surprise! Join us on the day for more details 🙂
Zoom
4pm – 5pmWhat Do We Want? More Bi+ Things!
Your chance to have your say about what support, resources, and events you would like to see available.
Zoom

The Bi+ Gathering will be hosted through Zoom, Discord, and YouTube.

Get your free ticket through OutSavvy, which will give you access to the zoom and discord links for the event!

For more information, including any accessibility queries, email info@scottishbinet.org, or send us a message through our social media channels.

National Lottery Community Fund

A huge thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund, with their support we are able to pay for volunteer expenses, and the accessibility fund, for this event!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Equality Network

A huge thanks to Equality Network for all of their support, and for providing the Zoom pro that we are using for the event!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Hidayah LGBT+

Hidayah provides support and welfare for LGBTQI+ Muslims and promote social justice and education about the community to counter discrimination, prejudice and injustice.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Shadows at the Door

Connoisseurs of ghostly things & pleasing terrors.
Bringing to life a series of audio drama & spirited debate.
‘Shadows at the Door: The Podcast’ is available wherever you listen to podcasts.

Twitter | Instagram
Hosted by Mark Nixon
Twitter | Instagram

SX

SX works to improve the physical, sexual and mental health and wellbeing of all men who have sex with men. SX works with cis and trans men, and many other allies across Scotland.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Glasgow Mission: Order of Perpetual Indulgence

Supporting the LGBTQIA+ community to live happy, fulfilling lives free from stigma, raising money for appropriate charities, perform condom ministry, and strutting their stuff in drag as much as possible!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Bi Furious Test

When we started the Scottish Bi+ Network, our first event was a film screening, and since then we’ve ended up doing a lot about bi+ representation in the media.


https://www.aceshowbiz.com/images/still/scott_pilgrim_vs_the_world43.jpgTwo of the questions we get asked a lot are: Why is representation so important? And what do we mean when we as a community ask for ‘good’ representation?

There’s been more and more mainstream films featuring bi+ characters, but when it comes to box office takings, there’s one film franchise that are in a league of their own.

Thor: Ragnrok is widely considered a bi+ film by those in the community, even though no-one is explicitly stated or shown in the film to be attracted to multiple genders.

One of the reasons it’s considered a bi+ film is its use of ‘bi lighting,’ where pink, purple and blue lights in the background of shots are used to subtly indicate that a character might be bi.

Is this ‘good’ representation?

If you’re bi+ and know what the colours signify, then it can be a subtle clue as to a character’s sexuality without having to spell it out.

But for those outside the bi+ community it’s just pretty colours. Explicit representation is the only way to show them that we exist, and let them see that we are more diverse than the stereotypes about us.

Which leads us to the hardest question of all; what is ‘good’ representation?

There is no single character or film that can fully represent the diversity of the bi+ community, but from talking to lots of bi+ people there’s a few things we all seem to agree on.

So, with all this in mind, we wanted to create a test that would help people judge the quality of bi+ representation in film.



The Bi Furious Test:

  1. The character’s bi+ identity is not revealed through cheating.
  1. The character is explicitly stated or shown to be attracted to multiple genders.
  1. The character is integral to the plot, and not just there to be ~sexy~ or for a throwaway joke, i.e. removing them would have a significant impact on the story.
  1. Their sexual orientation (and gender identity, if applicable) isn’t their only defining trait.
  1. The character is not later retconned to be gay/lesbian/straight.

In the last five years, we have been spoiled with a selection of films that pass the Bi Furious test, but there’s quite a few classics that were ahead of their time when it comes to bi+ representation.

Velvet Goldmine was a relative box office success back in 1993. Set in the 70s glam rock era, a time of rebellion and sexual fluidity.

Period dramas always pose a problem for bi+ representation, as a lot of the labels we use to describe our attraction to multiple genders didn’t exist or weren’t used in the same context back then. Even though it is set in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Colettemanges to explicitly show that she is attracted to multiple genders, leaving no doubt in the viewer’s mind that she would identify under the bi+ umbrella.

My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend set a new high bar for tv representation of bi+ people. Not only does the show use the word bisexual many times, but they have a full song and dance routine for Darryl coming out as bi, complete with saxophone solo.

TheFeels, a series of short films, released one a day for pride month, is the story of a bi guy with too many feels. As the episodes are only a few minutes long, it allows them to have such a varied cast of bi+ people that the series does feel like it shows the full diversity of the bi+ community.

Ironically the film that gives it name to the test, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, at first glance, wouldn’t qualify as good representation, because Ramona’s bisexuality seems to be there as a throwaway joke. But there wouldn’t be a story without her, and she has more to her character than her sexuality. Also, her fluffy jumper in the bi pride colours is a huge hint.

Like all of these simple representation tests, there is always room for debate, and even if a film is ‘good’ representation, it may not be to someone’s personal taste.

Leading the push for better bi+ characters seems to be coming from bi+ creators and actors, but there’s still a long way to go before all of the bi+ community sees themselves reflected on the big screen.

The small screen is rising to the challenge, with streaming services allowing more creators to get their work out, and combined with the rise of web series such as The Feels, we are starting to get the diverse representation we deserve.

To find more bi+ films and tv shows, check out our Bi+ Media Project https://forum.scottishbinet.org/wp-test/p/media.html or @BiMediaProject on twitter.

Bi Visibility Month 2019

Bi Visibility Month Round Up!

September is always a busy month for us, as the bi+ community gets the visibility it so desperately needs.
This year was extra special, because the first Bi Pride UK took part in London on the 7th of September. We also hosted our own Bi Visibility Day event, and helped organise BiTastic, a free one day event for bi+ people and their allies.

Bi Pride UK
We arrived in Hackney after a long night on Megabus, to bi, pan, and poly flags decorating the street, and lots of people wearing their badges and flags with pride.
Over 1300 people attended The Round Chapel in Hackney for a day of all things bi+ including music, panel discussions, and information stalls.
This is now the biggest bi+ gathering in history!

Find out more about Bi Pride UK at www.biprideuk.org

GFT Screening of Velvet Goldmine

We had at least 80 people show up for this very special screening of Velvet Goldmine in 35mm, with a panel discussion about how music and musicians have been consistently providing LGBTQ+ representation for decades.
Velvet Goldmine itself is a beautiful trip of a film, and for a film with lots of sex, drugs, and rock n’roll it does a nice job of humanising the characters, where it could so easily have ended up with the greedy and depraved bisexual tropes. If you love 70s and 80s music, fabulous costumes and glamorous people then this is the film for you! 
Also, it has a cameo by Brian Molko and Placebo, as well as featuring songs of theirs.
Thank you to all our of our lovely panelists for taking part, and to the GFT and their amazing staff for making this wonderful event happen.

To find screening times or to sign up for their newsletter visit www.glasgowfilm.org

Stall at City of Edinburgh Council with their LGBT Network and UNISON
We spent our lunch on Bi Visibility Day with a stall at the main office of City of Edinburgh Council, with their own LGBT+ staff network and UNISON, talking to people about the issues facing bi+ people in the workplace.
And, thanks to the hard work of the local UNISON officer, Edinburgh councillors passed a motion to fly the bi pride flag on bi visibility day.

 

 
Panel Discussion with Edinburgh Uni Staff Pride Network, and PrideSoc
We had a lovely evening talking with the Edinburgh University Staff Pride Network, Edinburgh University PrideSoc and Monstrous Regiment publishers about all things bi+ including how representation in the media is getting better, and how a lot of us struggle with feeling ‘queer enough’ especially in LGBTQ+ spaces. 

Find out more about them at pridesoc.com and twitter.com/UoEStaffPride

BiTastic!
We were honoured to be a part of this year’s BiTastic event, a free one day event for bi+ people and their allies, organised in partnership with Equality Network, Stonewall Scotland, and Bi & Beyond Edinburgh.
There was something for everyone with discussions, crafts, information stalls, and presentations on a wide range of topics, including how to better support BAME people in the community, bi+ representation in the media, as well as safe spaces for those who are non-binary, neurodiverse, and on the aromantic and/or asexual spectrum.
It was a very enjoyable day, and we had people from all over Scotland attending, and we hope to see you all there at BiTastic 2020!

Keep an eye on www.BiTastic.org or follow @BiTasticEvents on twitter for more information about BiTastic 2020!

#BWithTheT

Unless you’ve been living in a cabin in the woods, isolated from society for the last few years, you can’t have missed the increasing hate towards trans and non-binary people in the mainstream media, and from organisations and individuals on social media.
Their basic human rights are being threatened and oppressed, and trans and non-binary people shouldn’t be left to fight that battle alone.
That’s why it’s so important to let people know that we, the bi+ community, are standing in solidarity with trans and non-binary people.

The #BWithTheT hashtag is a quick and simple way to show the trans and non-binary community that we support them.
We’ve had people coming up to us at pride because of our #BWithTheT banner, as it’s easily identifiable in a crowd, a sign of safety to many people.

B With The T Banner at Edinburgh Pride

There is a significant intersection of the trans and bi+ communities, with a large proportion of trans or non-binary people using one or more of the bi+ labels.
According to a report by MAP, more than 40% of trans people identify as bi+. Which is why our work will always be inclusive of trans and non-binary people.
And you can help as an individual by supporting Scottish Trans Alliance’s Equal Recognition campaign, more details here: https://www.scottishtrans.org/equal/ 

Cis people (of all sexualities) here’s a few tips on being a good trans and non-binary ally:

  • Normalise telling/asking people about pronouns by putting your pronouns in your social media bio(s), and by telling people what pronouns you use when you introduce yourself. If you have the ability to put your pronouns on your name badge, do so!
  • Wear or display things in your workspace that show you are an ally. This could be badges or stickers that show the #BWithTheT or say ‘trans ally’ (there’s many wonderful designs out there by many talented people)!
  • If you do accidentally misgender someone, simply correct yourself and move on, making a scene out of it can be awkward and embarrassing for the person who’s been misgendered, and it makes it all about you instead of them.
  • Practice using singular they/them pronouns, and familiarise yourself with neopronouns.
  • Instead of using (s)he or s/he in documents, use they, which is inclusive of all genders.
  • Reach out to trans and non-binary friends and let them know that you’re there to support them.

More details about the #BWithTheT campaign and to add your name to the open letter, visit BWithTheT.org

Scottish Bi+ Network turns one!!!

Unicorn Cake

It’s been a busy year for us, and we can’t believe that it’s September again!
Founded by three people who kept saying ‘someone should really do that,’ we went and did it.
Set up to provide support and resources for Scottish bi+ people, and the general public, we’ve been busy organising events, attending prides, and liaising with other groups.
When we started the Scottish Bi+ Network, we had no idea how much our services would be valued. We’ve lost track of how many people have come up to our stall at pride events and told us that they are surprised to see themselves represented at pride.
This time last year we were busy planning our very first event, a screening of Call Me By Your Name at the GFT (and we are still eternally grateful for all their help and support). It was a sold out event, and it was both amazing and slightly nerve-wracking to see so many people there!

Poster from the GFT Call Me By Your Name Bi-visibility screening and flyer from Out at the Cameo screening

We then ran workshops at BiTastic, and spoke at various events, including LGBTQ+ staff networks, building links with the community.
On the way we acquired Steve the Unicorn, our faithful mascot, who accompanies us to events.

A group of supportes with banners at Glasgow Pride and Steve The Unicorn

We started this year with Trans Pride in sunny Dundee, and recently we attended pride number ten for the year (and Bi Pride UK will make eleven)!
This year saw a return to the cinema, in partnership with Out at the Cameo.  A screening of Desiree Akhavan’s Appropriate Behaviour, which is a rare treat; a bi film, with a bi main character, made by a bi creator.
We’re the first bi+ specific group to be part of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party working group on LGBTI+ issues.

Montage of photographs of Scottish Bi Plus Network at pride and other events

Our Virtual Meetups have been a success, and through this we are able to support bi+ people across Scotland no matter how remote their location, and even if they’re still in the closet.
We’re also one of the partners behind this year’s BiTastic, a one day event for bi+ people and their allies. With fun and games, arts and crafts, and workshops; there’s something for everyone.

Montage of photographs of Scottish Bi Plus Network at pride events

And this is the only the beginning!


We’re preparing for this year’s Bi Visibility Day event, in partnership with the GFT, a screening of the classic bi film Velvet Goldmine in 35mm.
Plus we’re currently trying to secure funding so that we can do more next year, including get to more of the Highlands and Islands, and run Bi Visibility Day events outside the central belt.

So, to everyone that has supported us this year: Thank you!

With special thanks to – Equality Network, The Glasgow Film Theatre, Bi Community News, Bi & Beyond Edinburgh, Pink Saltire, Positive Change Arts Project, Out at the Cameo, OPI Glasgow

You can see more photos of what we are getting up to on our Instagram

Bi+ at the fringe

File:St Cuthbert, Edinburgh, exterior.jpg

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is now underway and we are pleased to report that there are a number of Bi+ themed shows and Bi+ performers!
Below is a list of the shows we are aware of so far.

“A bisexual Bridget Jones for the online generation.”

Venue 33, Pleasance Courtyard, £11

“A spin on self-worth, sexuality and spin class.

Venue 300, Underbelly, George Square, £9
“What does it mean to be bisexual? No, actually, what does it mean? Are we doing it right? How can you tell? […] an hour of comedy as confusing as coming out.
Venue 239, PBH’s Free Fringe @ The Street, Free
Collapsible:
“Collapsible is a funny, furious new monologue about holding on in this collapsing world. For anyone who has ever felt crumbly.”
Venue 139, Assembly Roxy – Upstairs, £12 (£11 Concession)
 

Fempire: Cleo, Theo & Wu by Kirsten Vangsness:
“Careening through time and place on a heroine’s journey with the women who are more than what the HIStorians have you believe.”
Venue 20, Assembly Rooms, £10 (£9 Concession)
               
If you know of any more shows to add to this list let us know via social media:
We have not seen the shows listed above so cannot vouch for the standard of representation in each one, but if you have seen the shows let us know via our social media channels.
The List has details on many more queer themed shows taking place in Edinburgh.

Bi Representation at Pride

What is now referred to as the first pride march was organised by an openly bi activist, Brenda Howard.
She was known as ‘The Mother of Pride’ and she organised a rally for the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which started the tradition of pride marches and celebrations that we know today.

So why do so many bi+ people today feel like that they are not welcome at pride, or that they only belong if they’re in a same-gender relationship?
It’s time to change all that, and with a record number of pride events in Scotland this year, it’s never been easier to be a part of pride!

Depending on where you live, pride might be the only time of year that you knowingly get to spend time with the LGBTQIA+ community. It can be a positive and validating experience to be surrounded by people who understand the struggles that we face.
This is why it is so important that bi+ people are made to feel welcome at pride, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to have a visible bi+ presence at pride events.

We will be publicising pre-march meeting points for pride events where we are present, and where we know of local bi+ groups who are marching. Keep an eye on our social media to see when and where people are meeting before your local pride.
Even if you are the only bi+ person in your area (that you know of), it doesn’t mean you have to go to pride alone. Encourage friends and family to march with you in solidarity, and you might meet other bi+ people who thought that they were alone too!

Visibility is key, and it’s simple to do. Show up to your local pride with your bi/pan/poly/omni pride flags, and/or wear matching colours.


Wristbands and other jewellery can be a way of showing other bi+ people that you are part of the community without having to be out to the whole world.
Unicorns are often associated with the bi+ community, and can be another stealthy way to show others that you are part of the community.



For those of you that are looking to do more, getting involved in the organising committee for your local pride will help make future events more inclusive by adding a bi+ perspective.
Pride events are usually organised by volunteers, and if there are no bi+ people on the committee, it can be easy for the bi+ community to be overlooked.

And for those of you still unsure if you’re welcome at pride, just remember:
Pride is for the entire LGBTQIA+ community, and our allies.
That includes single bi+ people, those in mixed-gender relationships, and those who are told that they don’t look ‘gay enough’ (newsflash: we’re bi+, not gay, and we come in all shapes, sizes and races).
We’re looking forward to all the pride events this year, and we hope that we’ll see you there!

For details of pride events in Scotland see our events page which includes a calendar with all the information.

A Very Bi+ Awards Season

Usually we’re lucky if we get one film a year, with Moonlight and Call Me By Your Name bringing award-winning bi+ representation to our screens in the past couple of years.
This year, twenty-bi-teen is living up to its name. The awards season is coming to a close with the Oscars tonight, and for the first time in a long while, there’s not just a singular film with bi+ representation, but a whole collection of them!
Bohemian Rhapsody is the story of Freddie Mercury, and Queen’s, meteoric rise to fame, culminating in their historical performance at Live Aid in 1985.
The three of us that founded Scottish Bi+ Network went to see this film together, and the gasp when he said the word ‘bisexual’ was audible in a full cinema screen. It’s so rare to hear a character use the word, and especially in film. (TV is definitely better when it comes to characters actually saying the word.)
Rami Malek won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, and is also nominated for Best Leading Actor at the Oscars. In addition, the film has five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, two wins at the Golden Globes, plus two wins and five nominations at the BAFTAs.
The Favourite is a period drama about the reign of Queen Anne, her health failing, and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
It’s a beautifully shot film, with all the surreal absurdity that people have come to expect from a Yorgos Lanthimos film. The film focuses on three complex and fascinating women, with three exceptional actresses bringing them to life. Being a period drama, no-one says the word bisexual, but the character of Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) is shown to have relationships with women and men.
The film has a whopping ten Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Leading Actress for Olivia Coleman, and Best Supporting Actress for Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. As if that wasn’t enough Olivia Coleman won Best Leading Actress at the Golden Globes, with another four nominations including two in the Best Supporting Actress category. Add to that five nominations and seven wins at the BAFTAs, including Best Supporting Actress for Rachel Weisz, Best Leading Actress, and Outstanding British Film of the Year.
Colette is the true story of Gabrielle Colette, who is a ghost writer for her husband’s novels, but after their success, Colette fights to be recognised as the author of the books, challenging the gender stereotypes of her era.
It’s refreshing to see a character who is unapologetic about their attraction to multiple genders. Colette (Kiera Knightley) is shown persuing relationships with both men and women throughout the film, including a relationship with a character who could be described as non-binary by today’s standards. Again, because it’s a period film, no-one uses the words bi, trans, or non-binary, which either didn’t exist then, or weren’t used the way we currently do. There are two trans actors in the supporting cast, and a sense of queerness and challenging gender norms is woven throughout the whole film.
It’s an independent film, so it hasn’t caught the eye of the big award ceremonies, but the film has four nominations from the British Independent Film Awards.
Disobedience follows Ronit (Rachel Weisz) as she returns to her Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend. Once home, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.
So, my favourite thing of this year so far is definitely Rachel Weisz and the wonderfully complex bi+ characters that she’s portrayed. The film itself is understated, focusing on the characters, and brought to life by the powerful performances from the three leads. The chemistry between Ronit and Esti (Rachel McAdams) is beautifully portrayed, and their passion shines through in every scene.
The film is a low budget independent film, so it’s not on the radar of the big award ceremonies, but the film has one win and four nominations from the British Independent Film Awards.
Lizzie is a thriller based on the infamous 1892 murders of the Borden family.
The film focuses on Lizzie Borden (Chloë Sevigny), and her relationship with the maid, Bridget (Kristen Stewart, who is openly bisexual), in the period leading up to the murder of her parents. The film is bloody, and it deals with some heavy themes, but the two lead actresses do a convincing job of bringing the characters to life and showing the societal constraints that women lived under at that time. Lizzie is shown to have no interest in men, but it is stated in the text at the end of the film that Bridget went on to have a relationship with a man. It’s possibly because Bridget’s character is played by Kristen Stewart that I personally read her as bi.
Another relatively low budget independent film, nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
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Honourable mention: A Star is Born is the story of a musician who helps a young singer find fame, while age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
Full disclosure: I haven’t seen the film. As far as I am aware, the film itself doesn’t have bi+ characters or themes, but it stars Lady Gaga, who is openly bisexual, and she has been nominated for Best Leading Actress at the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the BAFTAs. And that’s in addition to her two wins and three nominations at the Grammys.
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And finally, for those of you that prefer the comfort of your own sofa to the big screen, Netflix has you covered.
Velvet Buzzsaw is a horror thriller about an unknown artist discovered after his death, but a supernatural force takes vengeance against those who profited from his work.
Stylish and fun, Jake Gyllenhaal is no stranger to playing bi+ characters, and he’s utterly mesmerising as Morf Vandewalt.
Films on streaming services very rarely get included in awards ceremonies, but it’s a fun watch if you like horror films, and don’t mind a little blood and gore.
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Even with all the bi+ characters that are making their way to our screens this year, very few actually use the word, and there’s a lack of male characters that are shown to be attracted to multiple genders.
There’s also still a notable lack of trans, non-binary, and BAME bi+ representation, as well as films that don’t focus on same-sex relationships (usually female).
This increasing trend of bi+ visibility is a step in the right direction, and I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the day when all of the bi+ community gets to see themselves represented on screen.
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For more information about the films, and for content/trigger warnings, please see the relevant IMDb page:
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Colette
Disobedience
Lizzie
A Star Is Born
Velvet Buzzsaw

Bi+ Flags

Photo of a bi flag
Flying the Bi Flag

Rainbow flag graphic
The rainbow or pride flag has become synonymous with the LGBTI+ community (and by some incorrectly associated with just the gay community).
Over time many more flags have been created and adopted to represent groups of people within the LTBTI+ umbrella.
Even within the Bi+ community there are various flags to represent people associated with the various labels under the bi+ umbrellaand intersecting groups or communities.
Below we give examples of just some of the flags members of the Bi+ and wider communities use. Not everyone that uses a label will necessarily recognise or associate with a particular flag, some groups will have more than one flag or associated flags have changed over time.
Bi flag graphic

Bisexual Flag

Three horizontal bands of Pink, Purple and Blue. The central purple band is narrower than the other two.
First launched by Michael Page an American activist on 5 December 1998.
RGB Codes: Pink 214, 2, 112 / Purple 155, 79, 150 / Blue 0, 56, 168 

Pan flag graphicPansexual Flag

Three equally spaced horizontal bands of pink, yellow and blue.
Creator unknown, appeared on the internet in mid-2010.
RGB Codes: Pink 255, 33, 140 / Yellow 255, 216, 0 / Blue  33, 177, 255
Poly flag graphic

Polysexual Flag

Three equally spaced horizontal bands of pink, green and blue.
The polysexual pride flag was designed by a Tumblr user with the signature “Samlin”, and first made public on the blog @f**kyeahpolysexuality on July 11, 2012.
RGB Codes: Pink 246, 26, 185 / Green 7, 213, 105 / Blue  28, 146, 246

 

The Importance of These Flags

 

Flags are a quick, visual way to show community and bring people together.
Recognising the colours of a flag (for example the Pink, Purple and Blue of the bi flag) allows for bi/queer coding of a scene, be it in an image, film or in real life. People can wear bi colours or a pin badge of the flag that they feel represents them. To many this may mean nothing, but to those aware of the flag it can act as a sign of solidarity and allows members of a particular community to find each other.
A particular colour scheme used for an organisation’s logo can also quickly identify the organisation with its target audience.
This post is a work in progress and more details will be added over time
R. 5 December 2018 

Review of The Bisexual

Ask almost any bi person what they want in a character, and they will tell you that they want them to say the word, to have a character that can’t have their bisexuality explained away as ‘just a phase’ or a ‘stepping stone to gayness’.
Desiree Akhavan’s new comedy drama has done one better, it not only has a lead character that uses the word, it’s also the title of the show.

Picture of Leila (played by Desiree Akhavan) and Gabe (played by Brian Gleeson)

The Bisexual follows the story of Leila (Desiree Akhavan) an Iranian-American woman living in London, trying to figure out where she fits in a world that only sees straight and gay. After breaking up with her long-term girlfriend, Leila ends up moving in with Gabe (Brian Gleeson), a writer whose only published novel is called Test(icular). His attitudes towards sexuality are exactly what you would expect from a straight guy, but he’s also one of the few that supports Leila as she struggles to come out, since the rest of her social circle, including best friend Deniz (Saskia Chana), are all lesbians.
The first episode is more drama than comedy, and it heads straight to the heart of the issue, with Leila’s friends describing bisexual women as “sex tourists” and the obvious discomfort and awkwardness that Leila feels is eased by Gabe trying to explain that his girlfriend is bisexual, only for that to be dismissed as drunk girls performing for the male gaze.
It’s a painful scene to watch, and a situation that a few too many of us will recognise, but it sets the tone for the rest of the series.
(If you haven’t binge watched all six episodes already, or twice like me, there are spoilers ahead.)
The show hits its stride after a couple of episodes, showing the awkward reality of dating in the age of online apps. Including the fact that a lot of dating apps have finally realised that bisexuals not only exist, but they might actually want to date.
Leila is her own worst enemy, trying to hide her new boyfriend from her lesbian best friend. It’s cringe comedy at it’s best, or should that be worst, and it’s no surprise that the relationship doesn’t work out.
We then see her blurting out, “I’m bisexual,” on a date like she’s at a support meeting, as though it’s something to be ashamed of, and it’s the last time that we see her using a dating app.
The show doesn’t pull its punches, and while people looking for escapism might flinch at the biphobia dealt with in the show, unfortunately, it’s a very real reflection of what people think, and say, about bisexuals.
Gabe seems to live with his foot continually in his mouth, and although he tries to support Leila, he has a lot of misconceptions about bisexuals.
“You don’t have to lock yourself down to anyone… there’s so many people that you’re attracted to, because of that reason monogamy’s not possible for you.”
Watching Gabe awkwardly try and explain bisexuality to an actual bisexual person is enough to make the audience cringe on Leila’s behalf, and her outrage is summed up perfectly in one line, “Why are you talking to me like I’m a different species from you?”
It’s painfully true, and watching Leila walk off, leaving Gabe alone waiting for his Uber, feels like a small victory.
My favourite episode is the flashback to 2005, Leila has moved to London to study, and even without her sexuality as a factor, she’s still the odd one out. Lurking in the student bar, she tries to talk to people, desperate to fit in somewhere.
And then her future best friend Deniz walks in. Leila rescues Deniz from a guy who is obsessed with her, and Leila ends up telling her that she’s a lesbian, even though we see her flirting with a guy only moments before. Deniz’s relief and happiness when she realises that she’s not alone is a feel good moment for her character, but what is freeing for Deniz, puts Leila into a different closet.
It shows how powerful labels can be, providing a sense of community and solidarity, but only if they’re the right label for a person.
Overall, I enjoyed it, and the humanity of the characters shines through in the performances from the three main characters. Saskia Chana in particular does an outstanding job of portraying Deniz as a fully fleshed out character, when the role could have so easily been reduced to the friend whose only purpose is witty one-liners. I think a lot of people were expecting more comedy, but as a drama, it shows the complexities of being bisexual in a world that doesn’t quite understand us as anything other than stereotypes.
Personally, I would have liked to see more bi+ characters in the show, as I think they missed an opportunity to show the diversity of bi+ people. I hope that if there’s a second season we will get to see Leila reaching out and connecting with more of the community.

The Bisexual airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday on Channel 4, and all episodes are available to watch now on All 4.
Image copyright Channel 4/The Bisexual.