Your nominations have been collected, heated discussions have been had and disagreements have been thwarted, and now we are proud to be able to present the first ever Biscuit Purple List.
The Purple List was conceived as a reaction to the bi-erasure of similar honours lists, which neither recognise the work done that specifically benefits the bisexual community, nor the importance using the word ‘bisexual’ to describe the non-monosexual people who do appear in them.
We think that it’s important to make a really big deal about the awesome people who give their time, energy, cash and resources to make life a little bit better for bisexual people. As a group we have lower rates of well being than gay and lesbian identified people. We’re more likely to commit suicide and to self harm. We are more likely to misuse drugs. Our teens have higher rates of bullying, truancy and depression. Scientist have actively tried to disprove our very existence. Our experiences are constantly undermined in the media, in academia, in the workplace and in public services. Some of the worst biphobia we face comes from the lesbian and gay community. So those who do make the world a little brighter for bi* people really ought to be applauded. We might not all benefit directly from their actions, but as a demographic they are invaluable to us.
The Purple List was judged by Biscuit’s editoial team, and Edward Lord OBE. Nominations were collected from the bi* community via Biscuit’s website.
Meg John is a writer, researcher and academic specialising in sex and relationships. They were the lead author on The Bisexuality Report (.pdf), published in 2012, which has become the key document informing policy and practice surrounding bisexuality in UK. Meg John is a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and has published many academic books and papers on topics including non-monogamous relationships, sadomasochism, counselling, and mindfulness, as well as co-editing the journal Psychology & Sexuality.
Meg John is also a founding member of BiUK and a UKCP accredited counsellor specialising in working with gender and sexuality diverse clients in their London practice.
For – Ongoing contributions to bisexual research
Surya Monro’s book, Bisexuality: Identities, Politics and Theories, is out this summer. The book ‘speaks to’ the massive gap in recent bisexual writing about activism, our relationships and families, the commodification of bisexuality, and other issues. It engages with academic theory but makes this accessible, drawing out the important bits for understanding bisexuality and for helping us be more politically effective (the book is expensive but if you can get your library to buy a copy that would be great, if enough copies get sold it will be published in paperback).
Jen has been editor of Bi Community News, the only print publication for the UK bi* community, since 2001. Through BCN, Jen has nurtured the bisexual community in the UK. She’s one of the most prominent bi* activists in the UK, initiated both the Bisexuality Report and the Bi Research Guidelines, and through BCN provided the only bi* voice to the Scottish Parliament’s consultation on same-sex marriage.
Jen also leads BiPhoria, which is the UK’s longest-running bi organisation, providing bi space and voice including social/support groups, research and outreach.
Alongside them she runs the @bisexualhistory project and September 23rd events hub www.BiVisibilityDay.com.
For – Schooling Larry King
The star of HBOs True Blood publicly came out as bisexual in 2010, when her video for the Give a Damn campaign appeared in YouTube for the first time. She has used her platform to educate people on bisexuality, famously schooling Larry King following ignorant remarks made as part of a 2014 interview.
Eliel Cruz is a speaker and writer on religion, (bi)sexuality, media, and culture at The Advocate, Mic, and Religion News Service. He is the co-founder and former president of Intercollegiate Adventist Gay-Straight Alliance Coalition, which advocates for safe spaces for LGBT students at Seventh-day Adventist colleges.
Eliel is the originator of the #27bistories hashtag campaign which encourages bi* people from all social backgrounds and of all ages to speak out against the misconceptions they have faced. He’s also credited with making The Advocate a much safer space for bisexual people.
For – Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution
Shiri Eisner is an activist and writer living in Occupied Palestine. She ran the Tel Aviv bisexual organization Panorama – Bi and Pansexual Feminist Community. Shiri’s book, Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution was published in 2013 reflects the shift in focus of bisexual politics from primarily assimilationist to primarily radical, and, along with the accompanying blog, has brought those politics to a much wider audience.
Shiri is currently working on her MA thesis about bisexuality on TV.
Alan Cumming was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2009 for services to services to the arts and to LGBT activism. He is an outspoken critic of circumcision who supports numerous LGBT charities, among them the Humans Rights Campaign, GLAAD, the Equality Network and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Alan came out as bisexual in 1998, and has been vocal against bi-erasure since then. This year he told The Advocate. “I see a worrying trend among LGBT people, that if you identify yourself in just one way, you close yourself off to other experiences. My sexuality has never been black and white; it’s always been gray. I’m with a man, but I haven’t closed myself off to the fact that I’m still sexually attracted to women”.
For – Visibility
Margaret Cho is an actor, writer, comedian, dancer, performer and blogger who frequently addresses LGBT issues in her material. She has been outspoken in her bisexuality, referring to it in her stand up for more than two decades and promoting bi inclusion at LGBT events across the US.
In 2014, Margaret urged bisexual men to come out, saying “I know that they are out there, I know they exist. It’s a lot harder for the men to feel like they have that freedom and I don’t know what it is — this kind of phobia is in place that keeps them from being able to identify as bisexual as readily as women are. That is always something that I will be curious about”.
Marcus has been a part of UK bisexual activism for more than two decades. He is the founder and chair of The Bisexual Index, and co-founder of SM Bis and Bisexual Underground. In 2010 he chaired the International Conference on Bisexuality.
Marcus delivers training on bisexual awareness and inclusion to academic and professional institutions and is often called on to be speak on behalf of the UK bisexual community to the media.
For – The BiCast
One of the few voices from across the pond to feature in this list, Lynette describes herself as a ‘latent bisexual’ who came out later in life after many years of self-denial. She’s a self-taught podcaster who started the BiCast, an intersectional broadcast focused on supporting the global bisexual community and reaching the most isolated of us, 18 months ago and has produced and co-hosted the show ever since. The BiCast is now a mixed-media cross-platform organisation producing content for and by bisexual people.
Lynnette has recently been elected to the board of governors for BiNet USA.
Jacq Applebee is a writer, poet, zinester and activist. She is a founding member of bis of colour, a social and activist group founded in 2010 to address the particular needs of people of colour, including those of mixed heritage, in the bi* community.
As well as offering social space both online and at monthly meet ups, Bis of Colour offer talks and workshops that focus on foregrounding the issues faced by queer, trans and intersex people of colour as well as those faced by the wider bisexual community. This year, she authored the first Bis of Colour History Survey Report.
Jacq was applauded by the bisexual community for standing down from her position of BME Peoples’ Rep following Pride in London’s handling of UKIPs application to march in the parade.
For – Research and Publications
Caroline is a research associate of BiUK and Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Middlesex University. She has written about bisexuality across a wide range of subjects, including the workplace, BDSM and mental health. Caroline has co-written leaflets on mental health and bisexuality for NHS services, therapists and service users and has delivered talks at events such as EuroPride in Oslo, Norway in 2014. She also co-authored the invaluable BiUK guidelines for researching and writing about bisexuality in the Arts and Humanities.
In 2012, Caroline was part of the team running BiReCon, an academic conference on bisexuality. In 2016, she is reprising her role and taking BiReCon International. You can find out more about the event on the BiUK website.
Sarah Foster is Stonewall’s Major Partnership Manager. She has been central to Stonewall’s transition to a bisexual-inclusive organisation, pushing them to visibly and meaningfully support the bi* community, and setting up the working group for Stonewall’s Bi Visibility Day activity.
As Major Partnership Manager, Sarah’s work has focused on making workplaces in the UK more bi*-friendly by delivering targeted bi-inclusion training to institutions and organisations throughout the UK.
Sarah has also written for DIVA on the issues facing bisexual women in the the workplace.
For – BiCon
Rowan has been a part of the BiCon community since 1988. They have been a part of the team running the event on seven occasions. Rowan is considered by many to be one of the elders of the UK bi* activist community, and is a font of useful advice for anyone taking on the task of running a bi* event. She is the reason BiCon now has a Code of Conduct and wrote the first guidelines for what a BiCon should be and how it should be run, two things that the BiCon community now takes for granted.
Rowan also co-edited Bifrost, a monthly magazine for the bi community, between 1991 and 1994.
BiCon 2015 will be held 13-15 August in Nottingham. Tickets are available online.
Gracey Morgan has recently graduated from Goldsmiths, where she was LGBT* Officer. She was also NUS LGBT* Officer (Black Women place). With personal experience of the system, Gracey advocates for bisexual asylum seekers, who are frequently told by caseworkers to lie to the courts regarding their sexuality because bisexuality is ‘not understood’.
In only a few years, Gracey has become a figure of great inspiration to the bi* activist community, arranging visibility and inclusion events, speaking about biphobia and spearheading online activism.
For – Improving Access
Natalya Dell is a bisexual and disabilities activist. She is responsible for making BiCon more accessible to people with disabilities year on year. Although she’s officially been involved in running six BiCons, unofficially she has worked behind the scenes on a lot more. Natalya also offers advice and mentorship to people new to bisexual activism. In 2011, she was shortlisted for a Homo Hero award for Volunteer of the Year.
Natalya is also a frequent contributor to Bi Community News.
For – Backstage with Bella
Bella Qvist is a vlogger and journalist. She has written on bisexual issues for DIVA and The Guardian, and contributes to DIVA’s HiBi tumblr. The issue of Grazia containing her piece on labels and bisexuality is on the shelves now. Bella’s revels in questioning the way sexuality is portrayed in the media. Her Youtube channel,Backstage with Bella, is a hub of queer culture online. You can read her blog at bellaqvist.com.
Bella is also the chair of E.D.E.N Film productions, which teaches LGBT+ people filmmaking skills and coaches them as they produce their own films.
Check back next week for Biscuit’s commentary on the Purple List: why we did it, who it’s for and why it matters.
Image 1 “Purple Glitter Backdrop” by unknown. Shared under CC BY 3.0. Via ChristmasStockImages.com
Image 2 courtesy Meg John Barker
Image 3 courtesy Jen Yockney
Image 4 courtesy Eliel Cruz
Image 5 “Alan Cumming at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival” by Nehrams2020. Shared under CC BY 2.0. Via Wikimedia Commons.
Image 6 courtesy Marcus Morgan
Image 7 courtesy Jacq Applebee
Image 8 courtesy Gracey Morgan
Image 9 courtesy Sarah Foster
Image 10 via instagram (Bella_Qvist)
Edited and owned by Libby Baxter-Williams
Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.