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Internet Release: Booked your holidays yet?
Press Release: Phoneline Funding - Line Bi Line
Press Release: Brits Save World Bisexual Convention!
Press Release: BiCon Comes To Manchester

Bi Community News March 2000
DELGA magazine March 2000
Rainbow Network February 2000
Unique magazine February 2000
Bi Community News November 1999

 

Not included here:

Pink Paper page 2 story May 2000
Radio interview on GMR GayTalk March 2000
Pink Paper front page story February 2000, page 2 story May 2000
Rainbow Network January 2000

We want your BiCon clippings!
(Especially from overseas journals)

 

What They Said

 

Bi Community News: March 2000 [Return to top]

Jenni Yockney, Top Dog of BiCon 2000 answers a few concerns about taking on an International BiCon (IBC):

What practical changes will it mean?
There'll be a stream or two (subject to demand) of international workshops. There will hopefully be slightly more people coming. We're making it as clear as we can that the conference will be in English and not poly-lingual.

Will the number of overseas visitors spoil BiCon?
I doubt it. We're starting too late to do a really big overseas putsch and our approach to what BiCon should involve is driven by UK ones, not IBC's. You can still expect silly games and so on - it's not about to become a weekend of heavy intellectual seminars on research and liberation (though there will perhaps be a bit more of that sort of thing.)

Will it bankrupt BiCon, what with the extra space and promo work?
No. We have some extra spaces for workshops which we can use for free. The drawback is they're on the 1st and 2nd floor of a building with no lift, so less accessible.

In the past facilitators at IBC had had free registration and suchlike. We intend to carry on the UK BiCon tradition of not doing this, rather than adopt a practice which we think encourages people to lead sessions for the wrong reasons.

It looks good for IBC not to skip a year but are there any benefits to BiCon?
Yup, credibility if nothing else - e.g. we made the front page of the Pink Paper which normally does its best to ignore BiCon. We will also hopefully see what a slightly bigger BiCon feels like compared to the 200-ish attendances of recent years.

...and what about Mardi Gras?
It looks like Manchester Mardi Gras is back on again after being cancelled last year. We're talking to the people who are making the new festival happen and hope to join up, even if just for a parade or something like that. With it being a smaller Mardi Gras than usual a bunch of bisexuals joining in can make an even bigger impact!

DELGA Magazine

February 2000

[Return to top]

A Different Kind Of Festival…

BiCon, the annual national gathering of bisexual people of all ages and genders, is held in Manchester this August. Indeed it will be bigger than usual this year as the organisers have taken on the mantle of the 6th International BiCon, so more overseas BiCon’ers than usual are expected.  But while it is the bi community’s equivalent of a Pride or Mardi Gras festival, BiCon has a very different structure.

For a start, it’s a paying-only event, and nobody argues it should be free.  But that’s because nobody makes a profit from running it: there are no paid staff, and any surplus after the costs are paid is given back to the poorest attenders to make the weekend more affordable to them.  Run by a team of volunteers in a new city each year, and with the participants in a space together for three or four days, it has far more to do with making new friends and building a community than milking the "pink pound".

The gathering is invaluable for the networking opportunities it provides.  Workshops at recent BiCons have acted as the springboards for the first youth work projects focussed on the needs of young bi people; for academic research and discussion around sexuality; and for creating the monthly bi magazine BCN - a year-round lifeline for isolated bisexuals. Where the internet reduces how isolated we may feel through mailing lists like uk-bi, BiCon turns that virtual community into a three dimensional reality.

But it’s not all networking and politics: in the 1999 programme the session on bisexual representation in the mass media took place alongside a space for men to discuss masturbation (fortunately not in the same room!)   There are silly games workshops, and separate programme “tracks” on issues – for instance the transgender track would cover issues from “TG for beginners” to radical gender theory discussions for those who really know what they are talking about.

It’s not a strictly bisexual event – which helps given the debate over what constitutes being bisexual.  BiCon defines itself as being a bisexual gathering for "bisexuals, their partners, friends and allies".  Provided you have come with an open mind about bisexuality and respect the different lifestyles and values of the people there, it really doesn't matter whether you are gay, straight - or even bi!

BiCon 2000 will be in Manchester across the Bank Holiday weekend, 24 - 28 August.  The organisers would love offers of workshops or plenary speakers!  For more information send an SAE to BM BiCon, London WC1N 3XX or email BiCon 2000 email address removed

 

RainbowNetwork queer web site:

February 2000 Dead link to rainbownetwork.com removed
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Brits Save World Bisexual Convention!

The international bisexual conference, "IBC6", was due to take place in the Netherlands this summer. It will now be held in Manchester, England on the weekend of Manchester Mardi Gras.

The event is held every two years, each time in a different continent. 2000 is Europe`s turn, but the Rotterdam team had run into difficulties in recent months. They sent out a plea for help to other European bisexual organisations and the team behind the UK-wide bisexual gathering, BiCon, stepped in.

BiCon Director, Jenni Yockney commented: "We are the people best placed to take over. We had already laid the groundwork for an event with several hundred bisexuals, their friends and partners in Manchester next summer. Taking on the global BiCon just means thinking that bit bigger."

BiCon will be open to the partners and friends of bisexuals as well as bi people themselves. More information and booking forms are available from:
Website: http://bi.org/~bicon
Email: BiCon 2000 email address removed
Mail: BM BiCon, London, United Kingdom, WC1N 3XX (send an SAE/IRC)

Unique issue 2:

February 2000 Dead link to www.zyworld.com/UniqueMagazine/ removed
[Return to top]

Bisexuals on the Prowl...

Fancy a long weekend away with a few like minded souls? How about a few hundred? That's the plan behind BiCon, a national gathering of bisexual people of all ages and genders, which is held in Manchester this August.. The outline of the programme includes four days of workshops, panel discussions and silly games, and an evening programme of discos, live music from performers like Tom Robinson, and arts events in collaboration with the It's Queer Up North festival.

The organisers feel pretty confident that it will be a rewarding weekend away as well - this is the eighteenth year it's happened. But the gay press tend to shy away from reporting what goes on in the bi community, so Unique readers may not have come across this annual celebration of bisexual diversity.

To start with, why have a separate bisexual event when there's already things like the Pride and Mardi Gras festivals?

It's because a lot of bi people still don't feel very welcome at lesbian & gay events. Telling a woman you meet at a gay club that you're bisexual is still one of the fastest ways of making sure you don't pull her! At the 1999 Manchester Mardi Gras bisexuals on the march faced a barrage of abuse from the crowds thronging the streets - not from straight bigots, but from gays telling them they were filthy perverts who should get stuffed! So it's good to create a space where being bi is the norm, and we don't have to explain that part of ourselves to anyone we meet.

BiCon is also invaluable for the networking opportunities it provides - workshops at recent BiCons have acted as the springboards for the first youth work projects focussed on the needs of young bi people, for academic research and discussion around sexuality, and for creating the monthly bi magazine BCN - a year-round lifeline for isolated bisexuals. Where the internet reduces how isolated we may feel through mailing lists like uk-bi, BiCon turns that virtual community into a three dimensional reality.

BiCon has a fundamentally different feel from the gay festivals as well - being run by a team of volunteers in a new city each year, and with the participants in a space together for three or four days it has far more to do with making new friends and building a community than milking the "pink pound". If the event makes a profit then those in most need who attend actually get some of their money back!

Of course there will be plenty of bi women reading this thinking "it all sounds very well, but my girlfriend's not bi and is she really going to trust me away for the weekend with a few hundred other bisexuals!?" All I could say is, "then bring her!" BiCon isn't about separatism in the way that for instance some womyn's organisations build walls around themselves to keep all but the 'pure' out.

Each year about twenty or thirty people come who are gay or straight, but they come because either they are with their partner, or because they find the bi community a more comfortable and less judgemental place than their own peer group.

BiCon defines itself as being a bisexual gathering for "bisexuals, their partners, friends and allies". Provided you have come with an open mind about bisexuality and respect the different lifestyles and values of the people there, it really doesn't matter whether you are gay, straight - or even bi!

BiCon 2000 will be in Manchester across the Bank Holiday weekend, 24 - 28 August.

For more information and booking forms, send an SAE to BM BiCon, London WC1N 3XX, look on the Internet at bi.org/~bicon/bicon2000 or email BiCon 2000 email address removed

Be sure to mention you read about BiCon in "Unique"!

Bi Community News:

November 1999 [Return to top]

We spoke to Jenni Yockney, Director of BiCon 2000

Who are you? (Has this changed since you took on the job?)
It's a team of two halves - the Locals and the BiCon Hacks! In the formercamp are myself, Kerry, Kate, and a few people from the Manchester group are going to end up doing specific jobs. The Hacks are Kate N'Ha Ysabet, Sandra, and Marc & Jean from the 1998 team. The speaking-and-signing team from 1999 of Marcus and Howard looks set to return, so you can all look forward to another go at memorising lots of rude sign language. The team has changed slightly but mostly it has grown as a mammoth task is easier divided up among lots of people. I love them all.

Have you done this kind of thing before?
Plenty - both queer conventions and more mainstream events, in a variety of roles from Top Dog to Lowliest Gopher. About half a dozen or so in total, but the biggest was about 100 people so BiCon is much bigger and scarier!

What did you like about BiCon 1999 (or previous ones) that you would like to see continue?
The 1996 team got outside sponsorship for the programme booklet - I'd like to get outside funding for those bits of BiCon that I can in order to reduce the prices for people on low incomes. BiCon is too expensive at first glance, even though the Equality Fund makes it much cheaper for those who really cannot afford to pay much, and that puts people off.

What new directions are you aiming in?
We are working hard on making it more accessible to people with children and providing activities for them on site. There's also a big piece of risk taking in that we have extended BiCon for an extra day and held it to coincide with Manchester Mardi Gras, which we hope will attract more people as it'll be a case of paying to come to BiCon and getting the Mardi Gras thrown in more or less free. It might fall flat on its face but I hope it will help boost attendance.

What arrangements have you made so far?
Howard has agreed to do some signing, someone is working on creche facilities for us, oh and the deposit on the venue has been paid!

How are registrations going? How many are you aiming for?
17 so far - better than this time last year. Edinburgh got 200, I think Manchester should get 250 - I'll be dancing if we break the 300 barrier!

What support can the bi community give you at this stage?
Give me all your money! Seriously, we want more input about funding, entertainment, and my favourite thing - new routes for publicising BiCon. There are millions of bi people out there who have never heard of it, please, please, please help us to find them! We also need to know as early as possible about special needs; accessibility is much easier to arrange with a year to plan it.

What are you hoping to get out of BiCon 2000 personally?
The right to bitch about everyone else's BiCons!

How would you like to see BiCon evolve over the next 5 years?
It's excellent news that we are now planning two years ahead with BiCons instead of six months. The difficult trick to pull off will be to get attendance back about 300 - nearer to 500 - without losing the atmosphere. It'd be great to get someone like Ani DiFranco playing BiCon but making it more of a festival event could mean sacrificing the role it plays in creating and maintaining community activism. Maybe a lottery grant could get us a paid worker to put the whole thing together - then the community can at least have an official scapegoat!

The International Bisexual Conference will be happening fairly close to the date of BiCon, how do you see this affecting BiCon?
Well, it's there as competition for BiCon every two years. I think it will work in our favour - people from the USA, Australia and so on will be more likely to come to BiCon, while I don't think we will lose many people from the UK who decide to just go to IBC. In August we started swapping emails with the IBC 2000 people about sharing publicity costs, including fliers for our event in their mailings and vice versa.

 
Internet Release: Booked Your Holidays Yet? [Return to top]

Announcing the 6th International Bisexual Conference,
Manchester, UK
24 - 28 August 2000

Have you booked your summer holiday this year? If not, then here's a chance to have your cake and eat it. The 6th International Bisexual
Conference will be taking place in Manchester in the UK, in late August. The weekend, also coincides with Manchesters Mardi gras celebrations, so
the city will be teeming with colour and celebrations. The Conference, will incorporate a long weekend of socialising, fun, debate, talks as well as
entertainment and site seeing, a chance to meet old friends and make new friends.

The Conference is open to all Bisexuals, friends and allies. More information including booking forms for UK and USA/Canada can be found
at the Conference web site, alternatively contact the organisers with any questions about the conference BiCon 2000 email address removed

come.to/bicon/ (dead link)

PRESS RELEASE PHONELINE FUNDRAISING - LINE BI LINE [Return to top] PRESS RELEASE
Date: As Above
Embargo: immediate

An art exhibition and auction are being organised to raise funds for the national bisexual helpline. "Line Bi Line" is seeking contributions to be displayed during the international bisexual conference BiCon in Manchester this summer, which will then be auctioned to raise funds for the national bi phoneline and related bi community causes.

Submissions can be in any media - text, drawings, photography, computer art, etc - so long as they fit inside a 10" by 7" comic bag, and should be sent to Line Bi Line, BM BiCon, London WC1N 3XX.

Last year a similar auction at Edinburgh BiCon produced around £500 for bisexual community causes, with contributions including original artwork of cartoons from the bisexual comic "Red Hanky Panky". For more information phone 07946 092xxx or visit come.to/bicon (dead link)

ENDS.

Notes for editors:

o Further information is available from BiCon 2000 email address removed
o The bi helpline runs every from 7.30 to 9.30pm Tues & Weds and from 10.30am - 12.30pm Sats, tel. 020 8569 xxxx
o The sixth International BiCon will be in Manchester from 24 - 28 August 2000

PRESS RELEASE BRITS SAVE WORLD BISEXUAL CONVENTION!  [Return to top]

PRESS RELEASE
Date: As Above
Embargo: immediate
 

 

A UK team has stepped in to save the premier bisexual event in the world from collapse.  This will make BiCon 2000 the biggest bisexual event in Britain ever.

The international bisexual conference, "IBC6", was due to happen in the Netherlands this summer.  It will now be held in Manchester, England on 24 to 28 August: the weekend that the Manchester Mardi Gras festival was to be staged.

The event is held every two years, each time on a different continent.  2000 will be Europe's turn, but the Rotterdam team had run into
difficulties in recent months.  They sent out a plea for help to other European bisexual organisations and the team behind the UK-wide bisexual gathering, BiCon, stepped in.

BiCon Director, Jenni Yockney commented, "We are the people best placed to take over.  We had already laid the groundwork for an event with several hundred bisexuals, their friends and partners in Manchester next summer.  Taking on the global BiCon just means thinking that bit bigger."

BiCon will be open to the partners and friends of bisexuals as well as bi people themselves.  More information and booking forms are available from the web site come.to/bicon/ (dead link) by emailing BiCon 2000 email address removed or from BM BiCon, London, United Kingdom WC1N 3XX (send an SAE/IRC).

ENDS.

Notes for editors:
o This will be the sixth International BiCon or "IBC".  The last was in the USA near Boston in the summer of 1998 and attracted over 1,000 people from across the world.
o The UK BiCon has been staged annually for 17 years.  In 1999 it was held in Edinburgh with over 200 people taking part.

 

PRESS RELEASE

BiCon Comes To Manchester [Return to top]


 

The annual national bisexual convention BiCon will be held in Manchester over the August Bank Holiday weekend, 24 - 28 August 2000.

The residential weekend attracts hundreds of bisexual people, their partners (gay or straight) and friends from across the UK every year for a programme of live music, discos, workshops, games and networking.  BiCon 2000 runs for an extra day since it coincides with the Bank Holiday.  This will be the 18th BiCon, and is the first time it has been held in Manchester.

Further information is available from BM BiCon, London WC1N 3XX, on the web at bi.org or by emailing BiCon 2000 email address removed

ENDS.
 

Note to editors:
o The BiCon 2000 logo may be found on the web as a hi-res JPEG file at http://2000.bicon.org.uk/resource/biglogo.jpeg
 

 




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