ILGA EUROPE 2005 (traduction en cours)
Bi’Cause was invited to give a workshop during the ILGA conference which took place in Paris last November.
Catherine Deschamps (invited guest) and Didier Rouchon( member of Bicause) presented the workshop. Marie Revathaire (President of Bicause) who was initially meant to coordinate the event was unfortunately sick and could not attend.
The issues which were adressed were first focused on the lack of visibility of bisexuals. Invisibility was underlined as being the greatest battle that bisexual people have to face, together with the pernicious invalidating of their identity.
Catherine made us aware of the fact that being unable to have a clear image, a logo, a rationnal definition of bisexuality, which could fix itself in our collective understanding of bisexuality, makes it difficult for most people to validate our existence as it makes it impossible to stereotype a bisexual person. It is obvious that a task of bisexuality is to challenge our monosexual culture’s assumption that sexuality can be identified by appearance or by the gender of one’s partner. it brings another issue to our community : What kind of images can we create for ourselves ? How do we define our own place in the world ?
Amongst the audience, people got the chance to question theirs assumptions and prejudices against bisexual people, such as :
- bis should not complain because they get the best of both worlds
- bis are safely confortable behind their hetero cover up
- bis hide their repressed homosexuality
These statments underlined the difficulty to trust bisexuals because they do not really belong to us.
It helped to illustrate our lack of community, of support, of a group which could embrace, validate and mirror our experiences. The conference was the opportunity for me to feel the genuine interest from a group that belongs to the gay and lesbian community. This aknowledgement was very constructive, it made me contact my yearning for a safe haven that honors the fluidity of sexual identy. I felt the potential of a community where people can freely choose the labels that fit them best or no labels at all, without the fear to loose the community they call home. In the audience 3 of us could be witnesses of the painfull distress, the pressure to choose where one belongs, create within us. As the audience got to feel the inner pressure imposed by both communities to identify with them or be thrown out, it became clear that to be bi is not as simple as it seems, as fantasies let it imagine. The difficulty to fully identify with either communities gives a strong feeling of inadaquacy and confusion.
The president of the conference was very enthusiastic about the participation of the bisexual community and suggested that it would be a good initiative to renew the participation in Geneva next year.
Catherine and Didier were touched by the curiosity of the audience as well as the sharings which were generous and personal. It was human, deep and simple. It was a chance to undo some negative associations, create new meanings and open possibilities of lowering the fear content which contribute to the prejudices we encounter.
It was an invitation to understanding and acceptance between communities.