Setting up a bi group in 1989
Chris talks about setting up a bi group in Leeds in 1989 and recalls how bisexuals were marginalised at that time.
TRANSCRIPTCHRIS: In 1989 I was involved along with several others in setting up, as to my knowledge, the first bisexual group in Yorkshire. Leeds Bisexual Group which was set up with four people who met in the Whitelocks pub in Leeds and we went on to form a group which ran for about five to six years.
INTERVIEWER: And what sort of activities did you get involved with as a group?
CHRIS: Well we had various social activities, I mean, we had discussions, we had some parties. We had – we did some walks as well. We’d go to places like Hebden Bridge and walk. We also went to the annual BiCon conference which is held for bisexuals in different parts of the country.
INTERVIEWER: And can you share any more of your experiences about being bisexual and living in West Yorkshire, in general, at that time?
CHRIS: Yes, I’m what you might call a late developer. I come from what I would think of as a ‘straight’ background of having relationships with the opposite sex. But, I mean, I think I’ve always known really but I had – at that time I didn’t really acknowledge it. But I was, I was wanting to meet other people like myself. And I went to a BiCon conference in London which was in 1988, October 1988 and met up with other people there and we exchanged phone numbers and eventually got a group set up in Leeds.
INTERVIEWER: Fabulous. So, since 1988 when you started being involved, how do you think the bisexual community has changed or developed?
CHRIS: Well I think at that time bisexuals felt very marginalised, even within the LGBT sector. There was quite a – there was hostility from some sections of the gay community. I think the London Gay Switchboard or centre wouldn’t allow bisexuals, self-identifying bisexuals, into their premises at that time. Of course, it’s changed a lot since. Of course, also about that time there was the AIDS crisis and Section 28, the Conservative government, and there was hostility towards gay people and bisexuals and sometime bisexuals were blamed even more for spreading HIV. But, I mean, that aspect as we all know has got – has changed a lot. The bisexual community has kept going and every year they, the national group run, well, a group run in every different part of the country run a BiCon – bisexual convention.