This week is Bisexual Awareness Week — and the perfect time for another Member of the Month story! Put on your celebration hat and follow us to France where we met our Member Organisation Bi’Cause, whose aim is to fight biphobia and panphobia — and all the stereotypes associated with bi+ people — by making bisexuality as visible as possible.
Heya, can you tell us more about Bi’Cause?
Bi’Cause was created 25 years ago by bisexual women. At the time, these women got kicked out of a lesbian group because of their bisexuality, at the Gay & Lesbian Center in Paris.
After the creation of this new group, bi women were joined by bi men who experienced similar discrimination. They created together a fanzine called Bi’Cause, and a support group for bi or questioning people. 2 years later, they registered Bi’Cause as a formal organisation.
In 2015, they included pansexuality in our fight and we became a “bi, pan and more” organisation. “More” stands for all the other terms that can be used to describe plurisexuality. Our goal is to include the diversity of our community and respect self-determination.
Bi’Cause’s purpose is to make bisexuality as visible as possible, including inside the LGBTQ+ community. The fight against biphobia and panphobia, and all the stereotypes associated to bi+ people, is also a big part of Bi’Cause’s activism. We also host support groups, convivial events and conferences on a regular basis.
Bi’Cause is an inclusive union where lesbian, gay and straight people are welcome. We are also affected by our actions because they could be in relationships with bi+ partners.
Are there specific ways in which you have supported the community that you would like to highlight and/or share with other european organisations?
Bi’Cause is currently working on a big survey about panphobia and biphobia, in partnership with other LGBTQ+ organisations including with “SOS Homophobie”. The testimonials and data we collected are important to understand how present bi- & panphobia is in our society. Getting quantitative and qualitative scientific data helps us to give visibility to our fights and show to others why we’re doing this and how important this is for a healthier and happier society.
We also released last year a home-made movie about pansexuality on the occasion of Pansexual Visibility Day (on the 24th of May) in order to raise awareness about it. It’s available here on YouTube and our social media. Each year, we also organise events for the international bisexual visibility day, the 23rd of September, and for the international pansexual visibility day, the 21st of May.
What can governments, (national and international) authorities and institutions do more to support the communities you serve?
Something we knew but that definitely increased over pandemic time, is that social work is largely done by local organisations, which themselves rely heavily on volunteers. We can see this happening in France, but of course the situation is similar in the rest of Europe.
What we need right now is a concrete financial help from institutions so that we can
- Recruit or at least give a financial compensation to volunteers who are giving so much of their time and energy
- Produce long-term projects without the fear of launching a process and maybe not being able to complete it until the end
- Give more visibility to our actions and create a strong national network of members and actions for a wider impact
We know that, over the past two years, LGBTQI young people were part of the most affected by COVID-19 measures and lockdowns, which have now for a large part been lifted in Europe. Looking back, in what ways would you say that the pandemic has highlighted some of the realities experienced by LGBTQI people in your community?
During the pandemic, a lot of new people came to our Discord server, an online space that we used during this period of time to maintain a link with our members. This reinforced the bi+ community as it helped to re-create a bond with some members who hadn’t been able to attend our events in the recent past, as well as creating some completely new connections.
There are many bi+ people who don’t necessarily get the opportunity to interact with others from the community in their daily life, and it was even more true during the pandemic. We also cannot forget about bi+ people who are struggling in abusive families and who are sometimes stuck inside surrounded by close to unbearable family situations. This was even harder on young bi+ people who oftentimes do not have the resources to protect themselves, as they lack the knowledge of their rights but also don’t have the financial means to be independent.
Having an online version of Bi’Cause events during the pandemic has also allowed us to identify that many bi+ people, especially when living far from big cities, often feel isolated and rejected.
If COVID-19 measures were to come back, in what way do you think that prolonged lockdowns and/or other preventive measures will impact your work and LGBTQI+ youth in your country?
There is no one size fits all. If the pandemic continues and that special sanitary measures have to be maintained, Bi’Cause will of course follow the official recommendations to keep people safe. That would mean having to keep our events online, so as to maintain our activities and socialisation. That being said at Bi’Cause we are also very concerned about the most isolated people, especially young bi+ folks, and we are already thinking about ways to support them. For instance, we are considering having some volunteers visiting those people at their places for example…
There is also a way to try and see the bright side of this situation we’re all in: having online events helps the community, it connects people all around the country and even more, the world.
Do you have a message for all the LGBTQI youth out there?
A voile ou à vapeur – mais surtout avec un moteur électrique – l’essentiel c’est d’avancer ! (Which translates as “Whether it being a sailboat or a steamboat – or even an electric boat – the most important is moving forward!).
Thank you so much BiCause! In case our readers want to know more, they can find more information on your website and social media channels.
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