‘Stand Bi Us’ conference unites Australia’s bisexual communities

Bisexual pride flag
Photo: Peter Salanki/Flickr

A group of organisations for bisexual people across Australia and New Zealand are putting on their first conference, Stand Bi Us.

The conference includes thirty-seven free events, both online and in-person, during a week-long celebration for Bi+ Visibility Day. That day is September 23 each year.

The Stand Bi Us Conference aims to “celebrate community, visibility, and expression, across Australia and New Zealand and beyond.”

Organisers say bi+ people – including all multi-gender-attracted folks, including pansexuals – have “long been the silent B in the rainbow alphabet.”

“[They] often suffering stigma, misunderstanding, and invisibility from both the queer and heterosexual communities,” organisers said.

“Bi+ is inclusive of all multi-gender-attracted folk, including pansexual, polysexual, omnisexual, biromantic, queer and questioning.”

The conference events include a range of workshops, panels, arts performances, discussions, and a party.

Organisers are planning some in-person events where allowed and possible with COVID-19 restrictions.

The opening event will be a discussion with Shiri Eisner, author of Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution.

More than 16 bi+ organisations around Australia and New Zealand have worked on the event. It also received a grant from Victoria’s Pride Events and Festival Fund.

The conferences runs from September 18 to 27. The full listing of events is available at the Stand Bi Us website.

Bisexual people often told their identities ‘aren’t real’

Every since 1999, Bi Visibility Day has celebrated the B in LGBTIQ on September 23. The day aims to tackle bi erasure and encourage the broader community to recognise and celebrate bisexuality.

Sadly, researchers say bisexuals often suffer poor mental health as stigma and myths persist around their identities.

In 2018, La Trobe University researcher Julia Taylor conducted a survey of 2600 bisexual Australians asking about their experiences.

She said many participants in the study reported being told their sexuality “wasn’t real,” Taylor said.

“We found high levels of psychological distress among the majority of participants,” she said.

“They faced questions about their sexuality from members of both the heterosexual and LGBTIQ+ communities.

“Gay men and lesbians tried to convince them they were really gay or lesbian and straight people insisted they were just experimenting,” she said.

“The very high rates of poor mental health in this group are shocking. They confirm we need to do more to support bisexual people.”

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