Why do we need Bi Visibility Day?
23 September is Bi Visibility Day. Bi people are often the forgotten part of the LGBT+ community. Their experiences are commonly assumed to be the same as lesbian and gay experiences, and their identities are frequently made invisible or dismissed as something that doesn’t exist, by people both inside and outside of this community.
They face a number of negative stereotypes, the primary ones being that they’re greedy, manipulative, incapable of monogamy and unable to make their minds up – the last of which is the same as saying who they are isn’t real.
The assumptions about bi people are also gendered. Bi women are more likely to be viewed as ‘actually straight’, their sexual orientation merely a performance to attract straight men, whereas bi men are frequently seen as going through a ‘phase’ on the way to coming out as gay.
Added to the above is also the problem of media representation. Depictions of bi identities are still extremely rare on screen, and when they do feature, they often fall into the usual pervasive negative stereotypes. In fact, the general public are as likely to have seen negative portrayals of bi public figures as they are to have seen something positive.
The challenges bi people face, often unshared by lesbian and gay peers, can also have a huge impact on their lives and frequently mean they feel unable to be themselves, even among their friends and family.
Research by Stonewall published last month showed that almost half of bi men (46 per cent) and a quarter of bi women (26 per cent) aren’t open about their sexual orientation to anyone in their family, compared to 10 per cent of gay men and just five per cent of lesbians.
This means a huge proportion of bi people are facing the harmful effects of biphobia in their daily lives – the stereotypes, the invisibility, the lack of belief that bi people exist – without the benefit of support, reassurance and acceptance. This is why we need Bi Visibility Day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate diverse bi identities, raise the voices of bi people, and call for positive change.
Inspirational Manchester LGBT+ choir up for major award
A LGBT+ choir in Manchester has been nominated for a prestigious award from the National Lottery.
The Sunday Boys was formed in 2016 as a way for low voice singers to sing, perform and meet like-minded people with shared interests in the city.
The group, which has quickly become an important voice for the LGBT+ community, has beaten off stiff competition from more than 1,500 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards.
They are now one of 17 shortlisted groups vying for a £3,000 cash prize and, of course, the iconic National Lottery Awards trophy for ‘Project of the Year’.
Michael Betteridge, Artistic Director of The Sunday Boys, said the shortlisting had been the culmination of a difficult last year which had only further highlighted the significance of the group.
“The Sunday Boys were created to give Manchester an inclusive LGBT+ choir for people to learn how to sing great music, perform and of course make friends,” Michael says.
“It’s amazing to see the impact the group has on not only its members, but the people we perform to as well.”
The group, which recently performed at Manchester Pride’s candlelight vigil, regularly perform around the country and meet up every Sunday at their base in Ancoats to rehearse.
Michael adds: “Pre-Covid we were performing around the country and it was such a privilege to work with guest workshop leaders, rehearsing to help the choir focus and improve whilst taking great pride in supporting other artists.
“We are really proud of the work we’ve done in the local LGBT+ community and the funding received from the National Lottery has been pivotal to our success, especially during the pandemic.
“Regardless of the outcome, it’s been incredible to be recognised for everything that we do – it’s a real honour and we really hope people will get behind us for the vote and beyond!”
Jonathan Tuchner, from the National Lottery, added: “The Sunday Boys have done some fantastic work within the LGBT+ community and they thoroughly deserve to be in the finals of the National Lottery Awards Project of the Year 2021.”
You can vote for The Sunday Boys here. Voting runs until 5.00pm on 4 October.
Too Desi Too Queer
Wednesday 29 September 2021 at 6.30pm at HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN
Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival is proud to return with its super-hit Too Desi Too Queer programme, a dynamic and thought-provoking selection of recent LGBTQIA+ short films exploring the lives, experiences and well-being of South Asian LGBTQIA+ communities in the Subcontinent and diaspora.
The films screening as part of the Manchester Indian Film Festival will be:
Stray Dogs Come out at Night (11 minutes / Punjabi with English subtitles)
Iqbal, a ‘maalishwala‘ by profession, cannot come to terms with his illness. He convinces his uncle to take a day trip to the beach, desperate for respite. The Arabian sea beckons.
Wig (26 minutes / Hindi with English subtitles)
Arkita believes herself to be modern, liberal and most importantly independent. An unprecedented encounter with a transgender sex worker questions her beliefs.
Compartment (5 mins)
A closeted young man’s inner desires are unleashed after a chance encounter with an effeminate person.
Ekaant (6 mins / Marathi with English subtitles)
Manasi, a poet, and Sudha, a housewife, are deeply in love with each other but the restrictions of their society has put chains around their relationship.
I Know Her (3 mins)
In the afterglow of a seemingly fated hookup, two women realise that perhaps they have a little too much in common.
Vaidya (23 mins / Hindi and English with partial English subtitles)
After a chance encounter while on holiday, Kabir and Vaidya’s whirlwind romance is brought crashing down when Kabir has to return home.
Timeline of LGBT History in Manchester
We have added a timeline of notable events in the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community in Manchester here.
If there are any additions or amendments please contact us here.