Take home reflections from UK Bi Pride 2023

As this was the first Bi Pride UK I’ve attended, I thought I’d share my thoughts on what to expect, especially how Bi Pride differs from regular Pride events.

I attended Bristol Pride earlier in the year and found the march to be a really wholesome experience, but the celebration in the afternoon on Clifton Downs wasn’t really for me. I can see that it could be fun, and perhaps it was the bad weather that dampened it, but it didn’t suit me.

In contrast, Bi Pride UK at the People’s Palace in Mile End was an amazing experience. Marcus Morgan hit the nail on the head when they highlighted how rare it is for such a specific part of the LGTB+ community to share the same space (I appreciate the irony of labelling bisexuality as specific when it is by definition so unspecific).

Bi Pride is much less song and dance (although the cabaret still had plenty of that), it is much more emphasised on the subtleties that apply to bi and m-spec people specifically. (That’s really obvious when I write it..). This applies to more introverted personalities and I felt much more comfortable. The time flew by and I really enjoyed the panels that I attended.

I travelled up to the event with one of the participants from my Affinity project and met a handful of friends from a Discord server. Having meaningful conversations with likeminded people about topics such as Multisexual Media in pop-culture obviously aligns with my own projects and bi-activism but there is a really nice balance where I felt as though I was celebrating my identity as much as exploring and learning.

This is all great, but I did have a conversation with Ashley Bryne (from Bisexual Brunch) the other day and we agreed that the bi community is notoriously bad at treating sex as a taboo. Do we perhaps prioritise bisexual academia over sex too much? The final talk on the I Am Proud stage about Bi identities in the Adult Industry was the only panel that seemed to celebrate the sexual component of who we are.

To pay devil’s advocate however, does this priority given to identity over sexuality within Bi Pride reflect the fact that many aro, ace, non-binary, queer people fit under the bisexual umbrella and themselves prioritise their identity. There’s of course characters such as Zachary Zane who do a brilliant job of deconstructing the taboo about sex, does there need to be more?

I for one explore my bi identity through connections and friendships instead of sex and I doubt I am alone in this – because so many m-spec people are in monogamous relationships.

TL:DR Bi Pride 2023 celebrated the organic fluidity of the bisexual community. It celebrated the idea that we do not fit into binary boxes and that is why I had such a memorable experience. I felt totally unjudged all day and I loved seeing so many people that were not immediately obviously queer speaking openly about their wonderful bisexual identity.

Mike French at Bi Pride 2023 at Mile End
Meeting a bunch of Discord friends at Bi Pride 2023