Hear from some of our previous Bi+ Empowerment Programme attendees.
I attended Stonewall's Bi-Empowerment Programme in 2019 with the hope that it would connect me with other members of the bi+ community in a positive and celebratory way. The course far exceeded my expectations, allowing me to make lifelong friends whilst learning about our community's history, inclusive practices for the workplace, and brilliant tips for self-care and support. The instructors were kind and informed, and the atmosphere was so welcoming. I'd highly, highly recommend the programme to bi+ individuals, and those who want to be better allies to the community.
I never felt gay enough to be queer. I had always been in straight passing relationships, and I felt like the queer community wasn’t for me - even though I knew I was never really straight. I only very recently felt like I had enough ownership over my queerness to publicly live it. So many Bi+ people feel this way, so to meet so many other people who felt the same way was incredible.
The Bi+ Empowerment programme gave me the confidence in my identity to be able to live it more publicly, and to help others around me embrace theirs. I felt I learnt a lot about the Bi+ umbrella and all the intersecting identities that live underneath it, and was given the tools and the language to advocate for the group. I really got a lot of validation from the programme; it cemented my feeling of belonging in the queer community.
Discrimination prevented me from coming out when I was younger. Seeing and hearing people act so negatively toward the LGBTQIA+ community meant I hid my feelings, not fully getting to grips with what they might mean for me until I went to college. I also face discrimination from the LGBTQIA+ community due to being both bisexual and in a polyamorous relationship that includes partners of multiple genders. I have been made to feel like I don’t belong within the community because one of those partners is male, and I therefore have the privilege of ‘passing’ as straight when out in public. Seeing what happens to other members of the LGBTQIA+ community at home and across the world, I know I could have it so much worse.
Now when I look back, I only wish that I had embraced who I was earlier and stood beside those around me who were facing discrimination because of their sexuality. This is what the Stonewall Bi+ Empowerment Programme did for me. It allowed me to be in a room full of diverse Bi+ individuals and feel entirely valid. It allowed me to see that I have every right to stand up as a proud queer person, that I can be an activist for my community in calling out abusive behavior and showing support for those who need it now.