Scotland’s annual gathering of bi+ people was held recently in Stirling. Lorna Ward of the Scottish Bi+ Network writes for Pink Saltire on her experiences of the event.
On Saturday 22ndSeptember, over 100 bi+ people and their allies descended on Forth Valley College in Stirling for BiTastic!
BiTastic is a one day event with workshops, fun and games, and a chance to socialise with other bi+ people and their allies. This free event was fully accessible, with a BSL interpreter as well as a quiet space for those with autism or who needed a break from the crowds.
It started with everyone gathered together for a welcome session, and sitting in a room with that many supportive people is a strange yet wonderful feeling, as many bi+ people can go weeks, months even, without seeing another visibly bi+ person in public, let alone talking to them.
For a community that is often invisible, just knowing that you are not alone is affirming. Especially since a lot of us are unable to make it to Edinburgh or Glasgow where there are monthly peer support groups. Online support can fill the void, but there is something about face to face interactions that a text chat struggles to match.
One of the attendees (who asked not to be named) said, “As someone who is not able to be open about my sexuality, it was liberating to spend the day with so many like minded individuals.”
There were 16 workshops that ran throughout the day, given by volunteers from all walks of life, and some of them couldn’t have attended without the financial support of the organisers.
There was something for everyone: from Polari to poetry, activism to arts and crafts, with everything else in between. But most important of all, was a chance to socialise with other bi+ people in a safe and non-judgemental space.
Personally for me, the importance of this event is learning more about a community that I didn’t know existed two years ago.
The inclusive atmosphere of the event is highlighted by the number of trans and non-binary people at the event who felt comfortable being out and talking openly about their experiences.
It is like an alternate universe, and I hope that it is proof that one day the rest of society can be as supportive and accepting as the attendees at BiTastic this year.
Until then, I am safe in the knowledge that I have a community behind me, and the many others like me across Scotland.
BiTastic was made possible thanks to: Equality Network, Scottish Trans Alliance, Stonewall Scotland, and CSREC (Central Scotland Regional Equality Council).
Pic credits: Scottish Bi+ Network