London LGBT Pride was a wet but happy day. There were fewer visible bis of colour, but lots of people of colour throughout the parade, which was great to see. It was also good to see the positive religious groups like Imaan for LGBT Muslims, the gay Sikh group, and the various Christian LGBT groups. Religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity don’t have to cancel each other out!
Unfortunately, there were a couple of hateful comments from fellow marchers that did put a sour note on the day. It’s a real shame when a LGBT event includes having (mostly white gay men) shout “Breeders!” & “Switcheroos! at the bisexuals. Seems that some folks have forgotten that the B in LGBT isn’t silent. Bisexuals are part of the LGBT communities. It was great to march with them, and show the world that we belong!
Jamaica’s underground LGBT
Image from channel 4
Unreported World. May 2014.
(TW: mentions of abuse & homophobia/biphobia/transphobia)
(link to video - http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/videos/all/jamaicas-underground-gays but it may not be viewable outside the U.K)
I don’t watch a lot of television. I find a lot of it frustrating and boring because it never reflects anyone remotely like me: black, fat and queer. But I tuned in to see the Unreported World’s short documentary on queer folks living in Jamaica. I lasted about five minutes before I had to switch off and have a cry.
The documentary was very moving; in one scene LGBT people had rocks thrown at them by crowds. When the police showed up, they said the LGBT folks were throwing stones at the crowd, completely reversing the truth. The next scene showed a government official telling a few queer folks that they can’t come to Jamaica and dress the way they did: “You’re not foreigners.” The last scene I watched after I tuned back in, showed a young person crying, saying that when he couldn’t bear any more, God would send an angel to him. I started crying again at that point.
I know that bigotry, homo/trans/biphobia exists all over the world. Jamaica isn’t the only place where queer people of colour live in fear. My home in England has laws to prevent discrimination, but I am still subject to physical, sexual and verbal threats and abuse on a regular basis because I’m black and bisexual. But what affected me so much about the programme, was that the hateful things that were done, were done to people who looked just like me. The nasty slurs were said with a Jamaican accent - the same accent I grew up with and was expected to emulate, even though I had never been to Jamaica. One particular slur, “b*tty boy” is something that still makes me scared because it was used often by the people around me growing up.
I’m glad the documentary aired, but I wish I’d been better prepared for how deeply it affected me. I was upset for the rest of the evening; I had flashbacks of the abusive people I grew up with, and all the horrible things they said and did. My heart went out to the LGBT folks who had to live in a sewer drain just to stay safe. After I was done crying, I remembered J-Flag (http://jflag.org) who support LGBTI people in Jamaica.
I know that I am fortunate that I can live as an openly out and proud black bisexual. I hope that one day, those in the documentary can do the same, and live in safety and freedom.
Wonderful photos of LGBT Muslim people.
From the BiCon website:
BiCon is a weekend-long gathering for bisexual people, their friends, partners and others with a supportive interest in bisexuality. We don’t all use the labels “bi” or “bisexual” or even agree on what it means to be bi, but bisexuality is the common theme. A typical BiCon might have 250 participants, of which about 60 are at BiCon for the first time.
BiCon usually uses a university venue, not because it’s an academic event but because it’s cheap, welcoming and generally more accessible than other venues. You won’t find a flat screen TV in your bedroom, but you’ll be able to make your own meals (or order your own take-out!).
From a Bi of Colour:
We have had sessions at BiCon every year since 2010. In 2012 we had a Bi’s of Colour flat just for us! I would encourage anyone bi or bi-friendly to come along to BiCon 2014. It’s a blast!
UNISON's Black LGBT member's meeting will be on Friday 13th September 2013. It starts at 11:00 and ends at 16:00. There will be a free lunch included! Registration is required.
I’ve always found these Network Meetings to be really useful. I’ve helped to draft motions to the LGBT conference at one, and watched a great video about Bayard Rustin at another.
Bi’s of Colur had a great, supportive session at BiCon 2013.
We spoke about the positive changes in our lives as bisexuals of colour; of meeting increasing amounts of people who were just like us, and of not feeling like the only ones in the world. Black Pride was a particular highlight for many of us, with the accepting space being racism and biphobia free.
We were also grateful for the safer space to discuss and share things that had impacted on our lives. Racism and Biphobia in the straight and LGBT communities is something that we all experienced, for example, being told we don’t look black enough to belong to our communities, or that we have to prove that we are really queer to gain entrance to a gay pub. We are constantly questioned, asked to explain ourselves, but then not believed when we speak. It is a frustrating and tiring thing to have to deal with.
Jacqui, a bisexual of colour was given a Cake Award for her services to both the group, the bisexual communites in the U.K, and for her bi positive erotic stories!
Three Bi’s of Colour are part of the trade union, UNISON. We received an award for our support of bisexual workers.
UK Black Pride was amazing!
This year it was held on the same day as London LGBT pride. Bi’s of Colour shared a stall with PACE, who were very generous. Black Pride was held in Golden Square, in central London. At first I thought the space was too small but in fact it was an intimate, wonderful location. It was the first LGBT event I’ve been to in years when I didn’t experience a single bit of biphobia or racism. Unfortunately, this is such a rarity on the LGBT scene.
Bi’s of Colour were joined by many Queer and Trans people of colour, grass-roots activists, including a queer, trans boi band group! It was a wonderful day, with great weather, brilliant music and a relaxed atmosphere. Three cheers for UK Black Pride!
More pics of Black Pride can be seen on Jacqui’s site
Camel Gupta and Jacqueline Applebee are the Co-Founders of Bi’s of Colour. We will both be appearing at Transpose. Jacqui will be reading some trans* smut, whilst Camel will be showcasing his project: Translations. We both hope to see your friendly faces there!