Tag Archives: lgbt

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Zine Fairs, or a Blizzard on a trestle table

I started making zines on Christmas Day 2014.  There was no snow, no blizzard then; that was reserved for later wen I started selling zines at fairs.  Zine events are white; really white, no matter where they happen in the U.K.  With a couple of exceptions* I’m often the only black person tabling, though there are usually a some POC attending as shoppers. The Blizzard Scale explained: http://j-applebee.tumblr.com/post/160014567848/the-blizzardscale

I’ve had discussions recently with a few organisers of zine fairs held in different parts of the country about the lack of diversity at their fairs.  Their responses showed a powerful ignorance of the needs and issues facing zine creators who are marginalised or oppressed (POC, Disabled, Working Class, Older, and LGBT+.  All these groups are likely to be poorer, so costs for tabling, production and travel to the events will be difficult to budget for.

Issues and Solutions:
Finding out about zine events is another issue, as plenty of fairs attract tablers by word of mouth or invitation only, so marginalised creators are unlikely to find out about these events until the publicity for attendees goes out.  I’ve been told by a one-woman zine fair organiser, “We can’t force marginalised creators to approach us for tables!”  This way of thinking is plainly ridiculous.  If organisers truly want diversity, then they have to make an effort to attract us.  This could be as simple as doing a general call for tablers, but stating you’re looking for marginalised creators too; having a quota, or offering tables for a reduced fee (even if that reduction is small).  These things show that you’re aware of us and want us at your zine fair.

Access:
I’ve tabled at zine fairs held in the basement of a pub, where zero customers visited.  The space was down a steep staircase, making it inaccessible to creators and customers with mobility issues.  This lack of consideration made me despair.  Accessibility isn’t just just for those in wheelchairs – I’ve also tabled at a fair in the back room of a noisy pub where my tinnitus played havoc the whole time.**. On one horrible occasion, a zine fair was held in a London bookshop which had a racist book prominently displayed there.

The U.K is a place with marginalised and oppressed people living in every part of it.  Zines are at its heart a tool created for these groups whose voices are often ignored and silenced.  Nobody would know that from the makeup of most zine fairs though.

*Thanks to:

NW Zinefest https://northwestzinefest.wordpress.com

Weirdo Zinefest https://www.facebook.com/events/865940280157674 (2017 event)

 DIY Cultures http://diycultures.tumblr.com 

Penfight Distro https://penfightdistro.com/zine-events/ has a calendar of Zine fairs throughout the year.

@POCZines http://poczineproject.tumblr.com is a mainly U.S based group that supports Zinesters of Colour

for actively encouraging marginalised zine creators.

**There is NO REASON to hold events in a pub nowadays.  Yes, pubs can be cheap or even free, but the majority of pubs are also very unfriendly/off-putting/inaccessible for:
Women & Femmes
LGBT+ folk
Disabled
People of Colour
Religious people (esp if they wear religious dress)

Link

If you’ve had as much trouble finding this book as I have, here’s what it looks like.  I’ve had several issues with this book when it was just a kickstarter: the title seemed inappropriate to the large numbers of bisexual and queer Christians I know, but the biggest problem was the lack of awareness of ethnicity and bisexuality.  I asked about this when the book was being put together, and was given the tired line: “We couldn’t find any Bisexuals of Colour”.  I was later told that there is indeed a black bisexual in the book, but it still hurt me to see this shoe-horning of a silenced group at the last minute when they realised the whole project was a #Blizzard.

Bisexuals of Colour deserve better than that.

And Ian spoke unto the publishers of The Bible and said.. – BiFurious

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TW: Sexual Assault, Biphobia

Long-term Victim Blaming & why it sucks especially bad for Bisexual women.

This post refers explicitly to women and femmes who have been victim to sexual violence from men.  There are some very different things male & masculine victims have to deal with, when violence comes from other genders.  Also women and femmes who are victims of violence from other women, deal with even less understood/talked about effects.

Most people are aware of victim blaming that comes up shortly after a traumatic event where sexual violence is reported.

“What was she wearing?”
“Why didn’t she fight back?”
“Why did she leave it so long to report it?”
“Why was she so quick to report it?  She must be doing it for attention/money.”
“She must have led him on.”

All of these things are hurtful, damaging and designed to put the blame on victims, and deter other victims (regardless of gender) from coming forward.  But what is not often considered or spoken of, is the effect of long-term victim blaming.

“She said she was raped, but she’s out there going to clubs!”
“Her boyfriend’s in prison for attacking her, but look at her kissing someone else!”
“How can she be so happy, after what she said happened?  She must be a liar!”
“She ruined his life by reporting him for sexual assault!  Now she’s always smiling in photos!”

The above examples all reinforce a nasty myth: once something bad (sexually) happens to a woman, she must remain in mourning for the rest of her life.  No smiles, no sex, no new relationships (especially not lesbian or bisexual ones).  It also plays into the myth of the ‘Almighty Dick of Power.’ And of how it can affect you permanently.  This is the same myth that states “One dick can turn a queer woman straight!”

The truly sad thing is, many women believe these myths too.
“How can you go out to a party/Wear that short dress/Talk about positive sex?  Do you want to be assaulted again?”

And when these women are lesbians, it sometimes colours their view of bisexual women and other lesbians who have been raped/sexually assaulted too.  The “Almighty Dick” means that if you’ve been with one man, consensual or not, you’re tainted for life.  The Almighty Dick is partnered with the Gold Star Lesbian.

Bisexual women have higher rates of sexual assault than either straight women or lesbians. See Bisexuality Report 2011, Open University.  https://bisexualresearch.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/the-bisexualityreport.pdf But when long-term victim blaming is aimed at us, we have few places to turn to.  Racism, Fatphobia and Disability definitely makes things worse, as respectability politics comes into play as well.

As a bisexual femme, and survivor of multiple rapes and 20 years of sexual abuse, I implore EVERYONE to think before they say hurtful things like the above.  I still have nightmares & flashbacks to awful things that happened to me, both as a child and an adult.  Biphobia is toxic, just as victim blaming is toxic.  If I have fun or wear a short dress, it doesn’t mean all the hurt has gone away.  It doesn’t mean I was lying or exaggerating about my experiences.  You have the power to make the world less shit for me.  For God’s sake, do the right thing.

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Help me attend this bisexual conference!

I’ve been a bisexual activist for over 20 years.  I’ve campaigned widely across the UK and Continental Europe for better treatment and visibility of bisexual people of colour.  I’d love to go to BECAUSE, but airfare is ridiculously expensive from the UK to the US.

Please donate at Paypal.me/ACrystalGem and help me go!  However if I don’t raise enough, all money will be put toward the B’is of Colour book fund http://bisofcolour.tumblr.com/post/152552451453/bis-of-colour-book-edited-by-asha-jacq-and-nila.