Bi+ Ireland has taken the decision to have a presence at both Dublin LGBTQ Pride and Alternative Pride and we encourage anyone who falls under the bi+ umbrella (bisexual, Panromantic etc) to join us at whichever event you are drawn to.
Regardless of if you were at Alternative Pride or Dublin LGBTQ Pride or neither, all bi+ people are invited to join Bi+ Ireland in the Iveagh Rose Garden at approx. 3pm for a community picnic.
Bi+ Ireland at Alternative Pride
Bi+ Ireland at Dublin LGBTQ Pride
Want a new flag for the event? Head on over to our shop!
We want to let you know everything that’s been going on and the reasoning behind why we’re planning on doing things the way we are, and this is a profoundly complex issue.
We- the Bi+ Ireland volunteer team- have been listening deeply to the conversations you’ve been having as a community around Dublin LGBTQ Pride and Alternative Pride. Many of the volunteer team have taken part in those conversations as well, and have shared our often nuanced, always deeply-held views in those conversations.
We as a volunteer team hold deeply to our responsibility towards all of you as a community present here, and also towards the bi+ people in Ireland who aren’t currently part of this group. We know that we have a duty to always be mindful of the fact that we are an immensely diverse group. We do our best, and always work to learn to do better, in being a group which is inclusive and accessible and who puts the needs of our multiply-marginalised members at the front and center of our decisions and practices.
And we are profoundly concerned, as are many of you, by the decision of Dublin LGBTQ Pride to invite the Garda Siochana to march in uniform as a group this year. We also agree that the inclusion of RTÉ- who only a few months ago gave their platform to a notorious transphobe, and whose remit requires them to air the views of homophobes, biphobes and transphobes- is simply not appropriate nor respectful to the people in our community harmed by those bigots.
This is where things get difficult. Because this is where our responsibilities towards our community send us down two conflicting paths.
You see, we have a responsibility to be present at Dublin LGBTQ Pride. We are, as you know, the only organisation on the island of Ireland with the goal to specifically represent all of us under the bi-plus umbrella. That umbrella is one which, we know, makes up more than half of the LGBTQIA+ population.
Dublin LGBTQ Pride is the biggest and most visible gathering of that population. And every year when we march and are visible, something magical happens. We see faces in the crowd who see our flags, our colours, our big bi+ logo and their eyes light up and they point to us and grab their friends and wave like their lives depended on it. We see people coming up and asking can they march with us, who are so damn excited to finally see other out, proud, happy bi+ people.
And we see people- every year- who come to us because somewhere else in that parade someone said or did something biphobic to them. And then they saw our flags. And they knew that we would give them somewhere safe to be.
We have an absolute responsibility to be present and create that space for the bi and pan people who may need it this year. Because there will be people who need it, and we can’t let them down.
At the same time, we have an absolute responsibility to the bi+ people who do not feel that they can attend Pride because of the presence of uniformed Gardaí amongst the marchers. Those of you who, due to multiple marginalisations, experience the Gardaí not as a safety net, but as a deeply threatening and sometimes traumatising force. There are those of us within our volunteer team who share this feeling and these experiences.
We feel that it’s important that Bi+ Ireland are present at Alternative Pride. We want to be a strong, visible voice for the bi+ community there. We want to be clear that we do not shove the concerns of our people whose experiences of the gardaí are traumatic ones, nor the experiences of those of us who have been harmed by RTÉ’s platforming of biphobes, transphobes and homophobes, under the rug. And- let’s be honest- there are simply some of us in the volunteer team who don’t feel comfortable personally attending Pride this year and who still want to be with our bi+ community that day.
So we’ve made the decision that we would like to handle this in classically bi+ fashion: we realised that we can do both.
We still want to have a group marching in Dublin LGBTQ Pride. We’re going to be visibly bi+ to the biggest audience that this country offers us, and we’re going to offer that safer space to the bi+ people out for Pride who need it.
And for those of us who aren’t comfortable going to Dublin LGBTQ Pride this year: we’re also going to have a group behind our banner at Alternative Pride.
We will also have a picnic following both prides in a seperate location (Iveagh Rose Gardens) that provide a space for our entire community to gather as one.
We hope you can understand and appreciate how difficult a decision this was for us to make and we can only hope that we have made the best decision of all of those in our community and those who have not yet discovered Bi+ Ireland.
We hope to see many of you on the day!
Our friend Jon Hanna passed on Monday the 11th of March 2019. We are heartbroken.
Jon was a parent, a husband, an activist and so much more - to so many. Jon was a coordinator with Bi+ Ireland, and as a community we are deeply saddened by his passing and still reeling from this news.
In his ‘We Exist’ story, Jon tells us he was “Bisexual, Irish, cis, white, male, pagan, witch, parent, kinky, pro-choice AF, occasional depressive, rape survivor, of a working-class Northern Irish upbringing”.
Jon Hanna was uncompromisingly and unapologetically himself. He was a leader for our communities, someone who led the way for many of us, whether literally at a march giving us sun cream, badges and a sure stride to follow, or inspiring with reassuring words in our community spaces, both on and offline.
It’s hard to believe that Jon won’t be at Pride this year, or the March for Choice. Jon, who inevitably had a child in one arm and the other arm free for a hug. Jon who would be ready to chat, and ready to march with his children by his side, who would proudly carry a flag while pushing a pram.
Jon was also an incredible active member of RQR - Radical Queers Resist. He worked tirelessly in partnership with them in the lead up to the referendum on the 8th amendment. Jon and his leather jacket and Repeal jumper was synonymous with him making a space safe for the all of us
This Saturday (March 16th) at 2pm we will gather at Newlands Cross Crematorium to say goodbye to Jon. At the request of the family, please no flowers - donations can be made to Abortion Support Network or Rape Crisis Centre. - rip.ie. If you can, please wear your Repeal jumper or Free Safe Legal tshirt, or a Bi+/LGBTQIA pin or flag.
We know that people may have all sorts of different reactions, and they are all valid, and it's ok to let yourself have those feelings. Whether you knew Jon for a decade or met him once, or just chatted with him online, your grief is valid. Everyone is welcome to the funeral.
If you want would like to join our community to attend the funeral, please do. There is a group meeting at 12 pm on Saturday at the Olympia Theatre, Dame St, and getting the bus to the crematorium. Bring bus fare and look for the bi flags.
A paypal has been set up to help his partner and their kids with the practicalities of these difficult times. If you would like to make a contribution you can do so at https://paypal.me/pools/c/8cXeElETIG.
If you wish to add your condolences or share your memories of Jon, we’re collecting them here and will pass on to his family.
We are all struggling with this news, and know that we will for some time. Please take the time to seek additional support for yourself if you feel like you might need it, and know that our community will be here for you now and into the future.
For additional supports:
LGBT Helpline 1890 929 539, https://lgbt.ie/
Samaritans 116 123, https://www.samaritans.org/ireland/samaritans-ireland/
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 1800 77 8888 http://www.drcc.ie/
Pieta House 1800 247 247 https://www.pieta.ie/
Now that the date has been set for the referendum that will allow us to repeal the 8th, the deadline is also set for the Supplement to the Register of Electors.
Any additions or amendments to the supplement must be made more than 14 days before an election (excluding Sundays and holidays). In the case of the referendum on the 25th of May, this means you MUST have submitted the form by the 8th of May at the very latest. Ideally as soon as possible.
Registering requires form RFA 2 available here.
Change of address from that you are already registered under requires form RFA 3 available here.
Now that the date is set, if you are still 17 but will be 18 on or before the 25th of May you may register now, using form RFA 2 above. It is advisable to include a photocopy of your birth certificate.
This also means that if you are going to need a postal vote and are not yet registered for one, you must register by the 27th of April.
If you require a postal vote due to physical disability or illness you need form PVS 1 available here.
If you require a postal vote due to circumstances related to your occupation (which includes some students) you need form PVS 2 available here. Check with your employer or institution to be sure you are eligible.
Postal votes are only available within the country, except for some cases where you are abroad on State business (military, Garda or diplomatic service).
We at Bi+ Ireland welcome the news that Minister Bruton has called for a review of the RSE (relationships and sexuality education) curriculum, has identified consent as a priority, and also that LGBTQ+ issues will be addressed.
The current curriculum is sorely lacking in both of these regards, which is failing the young people of this country. We look forward eagerly to learning of what improvements will be made.
Our Bi+ community has grown so much over the last two years! We now run a variety of events on a regular basis, all over the country. We aim to be an all-ireland, inclusive organisation. We’re looking for community members to join our coordinator team, specifically to help grow and support our events.
We would specifically welcome people who can join existing teams in Dublin, Limerick and Galway, but we welcome interest from anywhere in the country. We would like help with any and all of the following:
Bi+ Ireland were recently invited into Whitehall College of Further Education as part of their LGBTQI Awareness Week
Our coordinator Sharon gave a presentation to staff and faculty on Bisexuality 101 which included bi+ language, ways to support and stand up for the bi+ community, and how to support friends and students who may be bi+, and Sharon's own personal experiences with being bisexual.
The talk was a huge success, and Bi+ Ireland were honoured an proud to be invited to partake in the college's LGBTQI Awareness Week. We'd like to offer huge thanks to Paul Rudden and Conor Kelly for the work and dedication for organising it.
Bi+ Ireland are available to facilitate workshops, talks and to help educate about bi+ issues and the bi+ community in Ireland. Would you like us to work to your organisation? Get in touch!
We at Bi+ Ireland are disappointed to see the recent Twitter change that has filtered out community content and resources from the #bisexual hashtag.
On November 3rd, the introduction of search filter changes on the website included steps for the blocking of potentially sensitive material. This change is believed to have lead to the blocking of photos, video and news searches on #bisexual and related hashtags.
On November 4th, the results were noticed by bi+ organisations and individuals worldwide. They have since been highlighting the issue on Twitter.
Bi+ Ireland Coordinator Sharon Nolan states "This move from Twitter, accidental or otherwise, is damaging to the bi+ community. Due to the high rates of isolation within our community, many of our member's only opportunity to connect to other bi+ people is through the likes of social media. Making it harder for bi+ people to connect is unacceptable."
"The removal of photos from the #bisexual hashtag is likely related to Twitter trying to remove adult content" continues Nolan. "There is still a hypersexualisation of the bisexual identity, which has historically lead to our community being dismissed and misunderstood. We are not just our sex acts or porn, but a community of people who deserve supports and to be able to openly exist."
Currently there is a Change.org petition calling for Twitter to remedy the situation, and many media outlets including the BBC, Pink News and Alternative Press are covering the issue.
There has yet been a public response from Twitter about the situation.
We talk a lot about visibility in the Bi+ community, but there’s only one way to be visible in the ballot box, and that’s to register to vote and to make it to the polls.
There are several elections planned for 2018 in Ireland (four referenda, including one on the 8th Amendment, and the Presidential election) so it is particularly timely for Irish citizens resident in Ireland who are over 18 or will be on or before the 15th of February 2018, to register.
Registering to Vote
If you register before the 1st of November 2017 you should be included in the Draft Register of Electors 2018/2019 which will be published on that date.
Even if you are already registered to vote, you should check that draft register when it comes out, as people are sometimes removed in error.
You will be able to apply to change your details in the draft (including adding yourself if you were not included) until Friday the 24th of November 2017. The Register will be published on the 15th of February.
If you change address, or if you did not manage to register by the 24th of November, you can join the Supplementary Register at any time up to 14 working days before an election, including if you are not yet 18 but will be when an election takes place.
Who can Vote
Since the upcoming elections are all constitutional referenda and a Presidential election, it’s worth noting that only Irish citizens who are resident in the Republic of Ireland are eligible to vote in these elections—other residents can vote in different types of government election depending on their citizenship, but only citizens have a say on the constitution or the presidency.
If you were born anywhere in Ireland, including Northern Ireland, you have an automatic claim to Irish citizenship and can tick “Irish” when registering to vote. Likewise, if you have a parent who was both an Irish citizen and born in Ireland.
If you have either a parent who was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth but who was not born in Ireland, or if one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, then you can apply for citizenship through Foreign Birth Registration. This can take up to six months.
If you previously registered to vote under another citizenship you should use from RFA2 to change your registration to note that you are Irish. It may be wise to contact your local authority.
Otherwise becoming an Irish citizen requires that you become one through naturalisation, and then use form RFA5 to have your electoral registration reflect this change in citizenship.
If claiming Irish citizenship, note that Ireland allows dual or multiple citizenship with any other country and does not require that you renounce your other citizenship(s). Not all countries allow this from their side though, so check the rules of the citizenship(s) you already have.
You cannot vote if you live abroad with two exceptions:
Pictures from the GALAs 2017
A video of Sharon Nolan's acceptance speech, GALAs 2017
Bi+ Ireland represents a diverse group of people, with a whole spectrum of opinions and life experiences. We want to best represent our community, but to be an inclusive space we also want to offer solidarity to the marginalised communities that intersect with us.
Back in September 2016, requests were made from our members regarding whether we would be involved with the March for Choice. While many of our coordinator team are passionately pro-choice, we were aware that there would be an implied stance of our entire organisation if we took part in the event. We did not want to impose this on our members without their input, so we asked them about their thoughts on Bi+ Ireland taking a stance on the 8th amendment, and whether we should publicly back the campaign to Repeal the 8th. We polled the group, and 94% of you voting in favour of us publicly supporting the campaign! Following this, we joined the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment and are working with 100+ other groups and organisations to secure a referendum. You can check out our member profile on their website too.
The discussions we had show that reproductive justice and the fight for access to abortion in Ireland is a LGBTQIA+ issue. The 8th Amendment directly affects bi+ women, lesbians, trans men and AFAB non-binary people too.
In the Burning Issues 2 report, more than 90% of respondents believe our LGBTQIA+ community should support equality for those who face discrimination. The issue raised the most was support for repealing the 8th Amendment. For some, it’s because they want to support more progressive social issues. For others, it’s to do with their personal bodily autonomy. Ensuring the right to bodily autonomy has always linked the LGBTQIA+ community with the push for reproductive justice and abortion rights. So much of the homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and heterosexism we experience is down to a disrespect and disregard for bodily autonomy. Anyone fighting for bodily autonomy is our ally, as we are theirs.
Join us on Saturday, September 30th as we March for Choice. This year will be our second year marching in the Abortion Rights Campaign March for Choice and we couldn't be prouder to be represented at the event.