In October 1992, the first Australian National Bisexual Conference was held in Perth. From this conference, a set of 14 resolutions were developed, calling for authentic bi+ inclusion and support across key health and social areas.

We’ve made some progress since then, and we also have a long way to go. Research from around the world continues to show that bi+ people experience higher rates of poor mental health compared to straight, gay, and lesbian people. We also experience higher rates of sexual and domestic/family violence. We encounter stigma, discrimination, and violence – even from within the LGBTQI community. Of course, all of these issues are compounded for bi+ people from additional marginalised backgrounds. Recent data from the US shows that bi+ communities only receive a small fraction of funding that LGBTQI grant-makers award every year. Bi+ people are still erased from organisational names, decision-making, and programming.

If you’re not bi+ (or questioning!) and you’re tired of hearing this information, imagine how tired we are of living it.

The thing is though, we won’t stop fighting for our community. We are more than just a letter in an acronym. We are people who deserve to feel a sense of belonging, safety, and space where we don’t have to justify or legitimise our existence. We deserve happiness and celebration.

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 So, 28 years after the first Australian bisexual conference, bi+ organisations across Australia and New Zealand have come together to celebrate community, visibility, and expression through the Stand Bi Us Conference. There are 37 events, ranging from virtual meetups and discussion groups, to panel discussions and performances. Some events are specifically for the bi+ and questioning community and others for people who want to learn more about how they can support us. The conference also provides a space where we can reflect on our experiences, the achievements we’ve made, and discuss where we need to go next. And, of course, because it’s a bi+ event there will even be a pun competition.

Events like these remind me of how proud I am to be part of the bi+ community and to connect with people who continue to push back against societal norms, binaries, and injustice. They also encourage me to interrogate my own thoughts and actions around bi+ politics and liberation, which pushes me to keep learning. There’s nothing like being in a bi+ specific space, even virtually, and I’m so excited for what Stand Bi Us will bring.

Remember that bi+ people have always existed. We’ve always been active members of the LGBTQI community and we’re not going anywhere.

You can be bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, omnisexual, biromantic, panromantic queer or questioning. You can use any other label or prefer no label at all. And you don’t even have to be out. There’s room for you in our community.

The Stand Bi Us Conference will be held September 18-27. For full program visit www.standbius.com

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