This month we’re on the road with GCN Town Hall Talks, travelling west to Galway to be part of the annual Bi+ Visibility Week events there.
National LGBT Federation board member, Dr Chris Noone will be chairing a discussion on bi+ visibility in Ireland, both within and beyond the LGBT+ community, and the specific issues facing bi+ people here.
Panelists for the talk will include: Cllr. Fiona Ryan (Solidarity); Bi+ Ireland founder and coordinator; Aoife O’Riordan; Bi+ Ireland coordinator, Sharon Nolan; Danny Pio Murphy of Spirituality Ireland and Janet O’Sullivan from the Abortion Rights Campaign.
We’re grateful to NUI Galway Student’s Union for facilitating this talk, which will take place in Áras na Mac Léinn, with a reception in the College Bar afterwards.
Space To Explore
Some of the issues that bi people in Ireland may face include bi erasure and biphobia. In last month’s issue of GCN (Issue 332), members of the Bi+ Ireland Network spoke about the need for a space where they explore their identities.
Aoife Fitzgibbon O’Riordan, the founder of Bi+ Ireland, became “really aware that there was a problem where members of the LGBT+ community didn’t feel like they could be out in LGBT+ spaces”.
The former head of one college’s LGBT+ society, Sharon Nolan, found that “bi+ people didn’t seem to be as welcome under the LGBT+ umbrella” as she had first thought.
Another member discusses the widespread insistence on a sexual binary. “I was actually out as gay before joining the group, but in retrospect I was always bisexual,” said Paul Dennan, a member of Bi+ Ireland.
“Unfortunately, bi+ erasure is an issue. I think it feeds into people not really knowing bisexuality exists, into that notion of you have to be either gay or straight.”
Not assuming everyone in a queer space is gay would be a start
“Bisexual people or non-mono-sexual people who identify as pan or variations on queer make up a significant portion of the LGBT+ community, but not many people know that.”
How can bi erasure be combatted? Dennan indicates that the LGBT+ community can help by changing some simple assumptions.
“It is going to take the queer community speaking up to make the difference. Not assuming everyone in a queer space is gay would be a start.”
GCN Town Hall Talks: Bi+ Visibility is on at 7:30pm on Friday, September 22 in Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Tickets are available now for free by registering on Eventbrite.
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