I just got back from Bicon, and as always my mind is buzzing (What's a Bicon? Read this and find out). There must be so many different Bicons. All those different sessions to attend - you could pick a theme and dip in and out; try lots of entirely new things; or just sit around chatting to people and catching up with the friends you might not see for another year.
One that stuck with me this year was around the idea of stereotypes and how we present ourselves to the world. The stereotype of bisexuals is that we are greedy, indecisive, promiscuous.
So it's tempting when talking to people to say: "not all bisexuals are like that! Person X has been with her girlfriend Y for 10 years and they have two kids! Person Z is married and respectable and runs their church choir!" (these are not real examples, I am just worried that if I make up names they will also belong to people who go to Bicon...)
I don't think we help to create that world by pretending that the best bisexuals are those who look the least like the stereotypes.
I have encountered this before in feminist circles. By saying: "not all feminists have hairy legs and don't wear bras! It's ok, we're safe, join us," there's an implicit criticism of those feminists who do do those things. Meanwhile there are other women claiming it's impossible to be a feminist if you wear lipstick or like dresses, as if these choices were more important than beliefs and activism.
I do understand the urge to 'normalise' ourselves - I do not want to tell someone I'm bisexual and have them immediately start quizzing me about my sex life.
But I also want to live in a world that accepts gender variance; where heterosexual monogamy isn't seen as the only (or even best) relationship choice; a world that accepts difference and diversity and realises that not everyone has had the same experiences. And I don't think we help to create that world by pretending that the best bisexuals are those who look the least like the stereotypes.
Maybe that's why I love Bicon so much - there are so many people there who (whether it's just for the weekend or not) are being themselves and in the process modelling every conceivable way of being bisexual. There's no point-scoring (that I've seen), and each year I leave just that tiny bit braver and tiny bit more willing to go and shout about these things.