BiCon is a weekend-long gathering for bi+ people, their friends, partners, and others with a supportive interest in bisexuality. It has been held in university venues around the UK since the 1980's. The weekend includes a range of discussion groups and sessions and you can attend as many as you like.

BiCon 2022 takes place at Leeds Beckett University from 11th-14th August and it's still possible to book non-residential day tickets. To coincide with the event, OutUK's Adrian Gillan has been examining the bi scene and biphobia. Just why do bi's pose such a threat - not least to us gay men?

"Firstly," sighs long-standing BiCon and bisexual community stalwart Marcus Morgan (right), "people get hung up on the idea that you can only be two things - gay or straight. If they can get over that, people often then get fixated on the old linear, sliding-scale, gay-straight 'spectrum' model where the amount you're attracted to men is somehow offset by the amount you're attracted to women! It's still either-or!"
Marcus Morgan is an award winning LGBT activist, a professional magician and chair of the bisexual activist support network The Bisexual Index. He says: "Our sexual attractions are completely independent - there's attraction to men, and there's attraction to women. So we're not just talking 50/50 or 70/30: it's possible to be 100% attracted to men whilst simultaneously being 100% attracted to women. You can have your cake and eat it!"

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"Bisexuality is being able to feel love or desire for a person, regardless of their gender," explains Morgan, who believes commonly-held views on bi-prevalence roam between ridiculous extremes: either nobody is really bisexual or everybody is really bisexual! "We must not pigeon-hole people on the basis of their attraction to a specific sex. You should define who you are, not other people. Asking people to state their sexuality is asking them to label themselves. Lot's of people don't want or need labels."

SUPPORT, SEX & LOVE

"Certainly it's a lot easier to pin down the gay community than the bisexual one," admits Morgan. "They're easier to spot, out on their own scene. And it's a lot easier to admit to being a member of a community that has greater visibility and a huge support network. Bisexual habits and choice of scene are more fluid, depending upon the month of the year, day of the week - or even time of the evening!"

"There have in fact been bisexual nightclubs," he reminisces. "There was one called The Fence Sitters Ball which ran in the mid to late 90s and was an attempt to be a genuinely bisexual event. And of course, the vast majority of gay venues, both mixed and men-only, are bi-friendly."

"But there is no real bisexual scene as such," he continues. "Many bisexual people fit into either the gay scene or the straight scene or both. If you don't feel you fit into either then you might want to look for bisexual support networks. Most big UK cities have bi-specific social groups which you can easily find on the internet - along with lots of chat and web-based groups."

"Naturally," Morgan confides, "if a bisexual is going out for the evening with the specific aim of pulling one person, he or she normally has to make a decision: 'Am I going for a man or for a woman tonight?' But I don't think there's really much of a scene anywhere - whether you're a straight or a bi man - where you can just go out and pull women anyway. So - for a bi guy - gay men are a lot easier to pull than women. And I'm sure bi women enjoy going into girl bars and pulling lesbians too!"

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The following twelve beliefs widely held by gays and mainstream alike are largely FALSE:

1. Everybody is really bi: so so-called "straights" can all be "bi-baited" and seduced!

2. Nobody is bi: all bis are secretly gay but too scared to come out!

3. There are no bi celebs: from Wilde and Woolf to Garbo and Dietrich - they're all gay, gay, gay!

4. Bisexuality is practiced more commonly amongst women, unfettered by machismo!

5. Bis are more promiscuous and can't settle down - your bi partner will dump you sooner or later for someone of the opposite sex!

6. Bis are all closeted, leading double lives and getting their sex covertly - in parks or via the web!

7. Bis are more at risk from contracting HIV and other STDs because of their furtive sexual lifestyle and since they're harder to target with safe sex messages!

8. Bis "dilute" the gay scene with their straight friends!

9. Bis have only recently "appeared" and are either tagging onto or hijacking the gay agenda!

10. Bisexuality is just a fad, or fashionable lifestyle statement, to make you sound more interesting!

11. A bisexual is half-way along some gay-straight sliding-scale spectrum and so can't possibly simultaneously fancy a man 100% and a woman 100%!

12. This group is for "lesbians, gays and bisexuals" because we understand, and are committed to, the latter as a celebration of diversity - and not just because we're being tokenistic and PC!

 

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