Bi Inclusion in Leeds
For the last three years, I have been working as a bi volunteer and activist in Leeds. Throughout that time, I have been thrilled by the increase in bi inclusion, both for bi specific events, like Bi Visibility Day, and at events for the wider LGBT+ community, like Leeds Pride.
This year, Leeds Pride was bigger and better than ever. Leeds Bi Group was invited to participate by running a stall at Leeds Queer Film Fest’s film night on the Friday evening and Leeds City Council’s Pride marketplace at the City Museum on the Saturday.
Leeds Bi Group also secured funding from Leeds Pride’s community fund and a free venue from Leeds Cosmopolitan Hotel to enable us to run a Pre Pride Bi+ Brunch on the morning of the big march. A great time was had by all with excellent food and service from the hotel, face painting, placard making and generally getting into the Pride spirit. We had dozens of attendees kicking off Leeds Pride Sunday with a celebration of bisexuality before the group joined the LGBT+ parade to welcome cheers from the crowds.
Groups and organisations in Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire have already been
supporting Bi Visibility Day by joining the social media thunderclap (see blog post: http://www.freedomquarter.com/lgbtblog/bi-visibility- day), within days the social media reach was already set to reach 1.8 million on Twitter!
There has also been support for BiCon (see blog post:
leeds?rq=bicon) with Leeds City Council funding free tote bags for all attendees and MESMAC getting involved with free sexual health testing.
Lea, a member of Leeds Bi Group recently commented that Leeds City Council have definitely stepped up their game within the last few years, showing support online as well as ensuring bi+ inclusion at their events:
“…It has been refreshing to watch over the last couple of years how Leeds is finally starting to wake up, to embrace me and others like me, to realise we have needs, we have lives, but more importantly, Leeds City Council have started to notice us, include us, embrace us and give our being a voice within our city.”
I still recognise that all is not perfect: I still hear stories of health professionals being dismissive of their patient’s bisexuality, biphobia within some of the LGBT bars and inequality of funding for some services. However, amazing progress has been made and I’m excited to see what the next three years have in store.