Bi Visibility Day, Tiny Car and authenticity

Today is Bi Visibility Day so here’s a shout out to all my fellow bi and pan sexual beings, it’s great to be out there and part of the vast variety of human experience. I don’t know about you but I was both pleased and vindicated by the publication of a recent study into sexuality* that not only showed there were 5 DNA markers associated with sexual behaviour, and none with the power to predict the sexuality of an individual, but also obliterated the Kinsey scale as the way of determining and boxing up one’s sexuality. Attraction, like life, is not linear. It rarely thrives when bound by strict rules and cut up into small boxes into which one is forced. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to force someone to do something they didn’t want to, if you have: did it work, and more importantly what did your relationship look like afterwards?

Gender is, to my mind, like sexuality. There are those who are very clearly one gender (and I include those who are comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth and those who transition to the other binary gender) and then there are those for whom gender is more mutable.

For me, as non-binary, my gender is a flexible thing, influenced by my body, my genetics and yet also my social conditioning, it is fluid, it is queer (a word that I own respectfully knowing it is not everyone’s word). Non-binary people, like bisexual people, may have been partly obscured by the greater need of binary sexuality and gender people to be seen, to be recognised and to be respected and that’s OK. Just because people haven’t been at the front of the queue doesn’t mean they weren’t waiting patiently to be served.

To carry on that analogy, and because I’m both British and fond of the odd tipple or two, think about that waiting at the bar: firstly there was the majority, they got there first, perhaps by bus; then next came the thirsty, they needed to be served and in their need they forced the management to expand the bar, put on extra staff; now we the non-binary, the ones who can be more fluid in their expression and understanding can flow into those spaces created. And look! No one has had to step back; everyone is being served and everyone is recognised for who they are. Isn’t authenticity wonderful? Yeah, as analogies go that would could probably do with a bit of work but I’ve a lot to cover today (I even wrote notes) and so I’d better move on. If you’re reading this and want to join me at the bar, whatever your gender or sexuality, then drop me a message, I’d love to hear your views, perhaps we can pull up a couple of stools together.

What else did I have to write about today? Apologies, I think this might be a long one, so much happening, so much to tell you!

Tiny Car! Little Tiny Car has been missing from this blog for a while, never fear our adventures continue, tomorrow we’re scooting off to Bournemouth for supervision and meetings about the next Chrysalis Conference date for your diaries Tuesday 14th April. Saturday was Mabon in the Pagan calendar, the equinox when we have equal day and night, a time of change, a time of moving forward and recognising that the cycle of the seasons continue. It’s possibly no coincidence that Saturday was wonderfully sunny and Sunday was really rather yucky. I hope you enjoyed your Saturday and were somewhere nice and dry for Sunday. What has this to do with Tiny Car? Well today we needed fuel, Tiny Car is mighty and now does 300miles to the tank (when we first bonded we did only 250 so some kind of magic has happened) but it still needs fuel, so I stopped on the way into work and treated us to some screenwash too. This reminded me of my friend Matt who always puts a post up at this time of year reminding us non-car people to check our tyres, fill up the screen wash, grab some spare bulbs and generally do a bit of that TLC that we’ve neglected over the warm summer months. “Hi Matt if you’re reading this, now some more people know your words of wisdom.”

Transgender Day of Remembrance is Nov 20th and Chrysalis will be involved in events to mark this day across Hampshire and Dorset, my inbox is starting to fill with discussions about and how we can all work together to raise awareness of the crimes still being perpetuated on trans people across the world as well as take a moment to publicly remember those close to us who have lost their own fights, those who we still miss, who are never far from our thoughts.

Jobs! Chrysalis is hiring. If you are interested in joining the office team helping us with projects and the meeting centres then check out the job adverts www.chrysalis-gii.org/vacancies or on Facebook. We are looking for two people or one person to do both roles. You’ll be primarily office based, answering the phones and providing that essential first contact but there will be some travel too.

What’s on and what’s been on – a quick summary

Last week was plenty of office time, enjoying my new tidy office space and getting to catch up with Dawn, Sheila, Kevan and Jane. Dawn and I had a good Plate Spinning meeting on Friday which turned into a strategy and priorities meeting, watch this space for information about our next Chrysalis Away Day. And whilst we are very sad that Jane is leaving us we are really happy to be able to welcome Laura and Melissa to the Southampton team as well as congratulating Alex on getting his new full time job and welcoming Ross to the IT strategy and development group.

The University of Portsmouth Freshers Fayre was great, thanks to another new volunteer Amy for her able assistance in telling people about Chrysalis and giving out pronoun stickers. It was a great day with so many wonderful new faces as well as a few who we recognise from being out and about at Pride.

This week is shaping up to be about 50/50 supervision and one-to-ones with the fantastic counsellors and facilitators and office-based strategy and training development. To be honest that’s just how I like it. Not too much of the same thing, plenty of time to sit and listen to how people are getting on in their roles, and the time to work on developing Chrysalis and increasing acceptance and understanding.

I’m going to sign off now, I did have more notes about washing flags (it was dusty at Freshers); about Unis of Southampton and Bournemouth Freshers fairs and about Gareth Jones coming out about living with HIV, what it means to be able to be honest and why people lie to themselves and others about their gender identity and sexuality and so many other things, but for now you’ll have to say those words in my voice but inside your own heads. Until next week, bye for now and enjoy this last week of September.

*Nature.com/articles/d1586-019-02585-6