Bi Online: Finding Your Community Without Leaving the House

laptop typingLet’s face it, if you’re bi it can be pretty tough going living in a world where heterosexuality is the norm. Most of the time your sexuality is completely erased and you’re assumed to be gay or straight depending on the gender of your current partner. When you’re not being erased you find yourself being othered for not fitting neatly into one of the gay or straight boxes. Having a space where bisexuality is the norm is important to give one a feeling of validity and belonging.

But what if there are no bi majority spaces that you can access? In the UK the main event in the bisexual calendar is BiCon, but this only happens once a year (and, as it happens, I can’t make it this year). There are BiFests happening throughout the year and regular bisexual meet up groups, but all of these are too far away for me to get to. And even if they were nearer I am often so busy and/or exhausted that actually getting there would be a struggle.

I’m lucky that I’ve been able to access these sorts of spaces in the past and make friends there that I have stayed in touch with, so I don’t feel completely isolated, but it’s still tough. And for someone who may not be able to access these sorts of spaces at all it must be even tougher.

In most large towns and cities there is some sort of LGBT community, but these tend to be very much L and G focused. Participating in these spaces can be rewarding, but they’re often erasive of bisexuality and at their worst they can be actively hostile. Either way, they’re not really a place a lot of us can truly feel at home.

One suggestion might be to set up your own local bi group, but for most of us that involves time and energy that we just don’t have. The way I’ve managed to get a sense of community is by finding the bisexual community online. It’s out there if you look for it! And you don’t even have to look that hard – just typing ‘bisexual’ into Google will give you around 145,000,000 results.

Often when a lot of us think about the bi community, we think of the group(s) of people who attend events such as BiCon, or maybe people who attend a local bi group – often we default to thinking of community as being a physical space and experience. But community isn’t just about bricks and mortar and bodies, it requires a psychological sense of community as well, probably best described by psychologists David McMillan and David Chavis as ‘…a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together.’

Talking to other bisexuals online and reading what they have to say has helped me stay sane and feel less isolated. There’s been a bisexual presence online since folk started getting onto the internet, in the form of Usenet groups and mailing lists. As the times have moved on so have the bisexuals, and you’re more likely to find them in places such as Twitter and Tumblr these days. Below, you’ll find a round-up of some of the best places to find a community online, as well as our suggestions for specific accounts to follow. But don’t just stick to our suggestions – hit up google and find exactly the community you need.

Having had a smartphone for a few years now I’ve always got the internet with me and can quickly connect with other people at a moment’s notice. There’s always someone out there if I’m stuck awake in the middle of the night. With the internet I always have some sense of bi community and I’m never alone.

community

Mailing Lists

These tend to be used for less for general chit chat and more for serious discussion, and are worth looking into if you’re interested in academic research and or activism. There are also mailing lists dedicated to, for example, Muslim bisexuals, bisexuals of colour,  bisexuality and disability and countless others.

A lot of local groups also have mailing lists for announcements between meet ups, so if there’s a group that you might be able to get to occasionally it might also be worth joining their mailing list to keep up to date with meeting times etc.  Yahoo! Groups so this is a good place to start.

Biscuit likes: BiNet USA discussion group, UK-bi-activism

Twitter

A lot of the time Twitter feels like a conversation in a pub, sometimes with other random people joining in; sometimes it can feel like a bar room brawl. As tweets are limited to 150 characters it’s brevity means that it’s fast moving. Either way, you can find content of interest by searching using hashtags such as #bi or #bisexual and can always find new people to engage with and follow through the retweets of other people that you follow.

Biscuit likes: @BIWOC, @StillBisexual, @LarkerAnthology, @mikethebiguy, @elielcruz 

Facebook groups

Groups on Facebook are very much like the Livejournal communities of old, where people will make a post and ensuing discussion will take place in the comments. Although the discussion will normally have some sort of theme relating to the topic of the original post, the discussion in Facebook groups tends to be a lot more informal than that on mailing lists. Searching for groups on Facebook is easy (just use a keyword like ‘bisexual’) and because so many people use Facebook it means that there is a lot to choose from. As well as groups a lot of events, such as BiCon, will have a page that people can post to as well.

Biscuit likes: Bisexual Community, Miles the Bisexual, Bisexual People of Faith

Blogs

I’m not going to insult you by explaining what a blog is, as I’m assuming you must have some degree of internet savvy to be reading an online magazine. There are a lot of bloggers out there, many of whom are bisexual. Blogs will usually have a comments section under each post where you can engage in discussion with the blogger and other commenters; many bloggers will also have links to other places that they can be found on social media eg Twitter so you can follow them and engage with them there. If you’re not sure where to start then try the Bi Bloggers feed run by Bi Media.

Biscuit likes: Bi Radical,  The Bisexual Bangladeshi, Bisexuality and Beyond, Consider the Teacosy

Tumblr

It could be argued that Tumblr should be categorised as a blog, but to be honest I think it’s a beast of its own kind. It’s a cross between a blogging site and social networking, where users can follow each other and share content. There are over 100 million accounts on Tumblr, including many bi themed accounts where users either create their own content or curate material from elsewhere, and it’s easy to search for posts by tag. Tumblr is also a good place to start if you’ve always fancied the idea of publicly posting your own writing but found the idea of a blog too daunting.

Biscuit likes: facts about bisexuality, LGBTQ-bi, Fuck Yeah! Bisexuals

Instagram

All the above suggestions are a bit text heavy – sometimes you want to see a friendly face as well. Instagram is a social networking site where users post their pictures (and, despite complaints, it’s not always of their dinner…), often with some text. Like Twitter you can search by using hashtags and add followers to your feed; you can also comment on photos that people have posted.

Biscuit likes: Bisexual Quotes, _bi.sex.u.whale_,  youngbisexuals

Other websites

Sometimes you don’t particularly want to interact with anybody, you just want to find out useful information, or have the comfort blanket of knowing that there’s someone out there who understands you. Apart from Biscuit, it’s worth checking out the following:

Bisexual Community News – This is the website for the UK’s longest running bisexual print publication and has lots of articles from previous issues online

The Bisexual Index  – Lots of information on bisexuality – really useful for biphobic myth busting, or preparing yourself for coming out to someone.

Bi Media – A UK-focused news and opinion site for bisexuals, with lots of bi and bi-related news.

r/bisexual subreddit – All things bi are discussed on this wide-ranging discussion board. Browsing threads can be a real revelation.

 

Which corners of the internet have you found community in? Let us know in comments!

The following two tabs change content below.
mm

Cat Rocks

Cat is in her mid 30s (and is rapidly approaching her late 30s at an alarming rate) and has identified as bisexual for longer than she cares to remember. In between working, being a parent, knitting and battling a Frijj addiction she occasionally finds time for writing and other forms of activism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *