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BiCon 2006 - Saturday - helen-louise
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baratron
BiCon 2006 - Saturday
Saturday 15th July started with me once again failing to win the fight with my bed. (The whole of BiCon, I've been having very strange & surreal dreams even by my standards, so feeling very out of it in the morning despite getting 8-10 hours sleep.) So I didn't make it to either What's Your Bi Name? or the Flash Mob Bisexual Snog-In. The former was run by Peter (syllopsium) and was about different worldwide names for "bisexual" and alternative words that can be used that do not focus on the two binary physical sexes, such as "sapiosexual" and "pansexual". Although I was too sleepy to make it to the workshop, I spoke to Peter about it later and was told some of the alternative slang terms he found on the internet included "half chips half rice" and "wizbit" - from the terrible UK children's show of some time ago featuring a theme tune with the words "ha ha this-a-way, ha ha that-a-way, ha ha this-a-way, my oh my". Please, clean my brain out now!

The Flash Mob Bisexual Snog-In was run by Bethan (bethanthepurple)and apparently was going to involve people going into town and snogging, kissing, hugging or shaking hands, depending on their preferred levels of bodily contact. I've no idea what happened, but it did sound intriguing!

I did make it to Sainsbury's and obtain bread, juice & fruit, and went with Ludy to the Bi Mental Health lunch run by Alex (ippola) along with Meg and dr_d. This included a mixture of psychologists, counsellors and people with mental health issues. We talked about people's experiences in the mental health system and producing a Good Practice Guide for mental health professionals. We also discussed a recent report from Australia that more bisexuals have mental health problems than gay men or lesbians, and whether this was actually true, and if so what the reasons might be. It could be on the one hand that bisexuals are more likely to suffer from mental health problems due to bisexual invisibility and biphobia from both the straight & gay communities, or that we're no more likely than anyone else to be sufferers, but the openness of the bi community means that we're more likely to be open about it and seek help. All quite interesting stuff, and while I'm not really in a position to help do the research I can certainly be a volunteer subject and answer questions.

In the afternoon, while I was tempted by Make Your Own Bisexual, I was still feeling like a serious discussion, so went to Intersexuality and Bisexuality run by Jennie. As I was already aware of intersexual conditions, I didn't learn a huge amount about the biology or physiology (Jennie specifically said she was trying not to make it too scientific), but there was discussion about intersexuality worldwide and communities of people where it is normal for genetic reasons, such as the guevedoce ("penis at 12") community in the Dominican Republic, where many children appear to be girls until they reach puberty. People who weren't already aware were (quite rightly) disgusted by the "corrective" surgeries done on children too young to consent for purely cosmetic reasons, that can greatly reduce those people's ability to receive sexual pleasure when they reach adulthood - as well as the terrible potential for the doctors to "choose" the wrong biological sex for the child's mental gender. We also mentioned the appalling John/Joan case and its ramifications for both intersexual and transsexual people, not least of all how that one case and its horribly flawed "theory" was used to shape the treatment of many hundreds of others. Some thoughts were expressed about the links between intersexuality and transsexuality, whether either is a choice, and about people who choose not to live in either binary sex (hello 36).

After that I was quite worn out, and nothing in the later afternoon slot really appealed (there were three workshops running simultaneously each of which I could have gone to), but I was feeling the need for internet connectivity, so artremis and I went back to the halls of residence for some online time - hence the two previous livejournal entries about BiCon I posted.

In the evening I was doing reception desk duty again while Ludy and nitoda knitted, then there was supposed to be a Poly Meal at 7pm. But the person running it had decided that no one place was going to suit everyone, so it was pointless trying, and after 20 minutes the group had fragmented into four smaller groups. Although I love Chinese food and it's my usual "default" preference, I didn't want to go to a Chinese buffet place that cost £10 and mentioned "mixed fried vegetables" as the only vegetarian dish, nor did I fancy a Mongolian barbecue that hadn't been tested by a veggie working party to ascertain whether they kept meaty and veggie food well separated. The other option was a tapas bar which are usually fine for lacto-ovo-vegetarians, but have little or nothing vegan. Also, Ludy really wanted to try Mono (despite her minor worrying about it being named after mononucleosis!). So I cycled down to quiz the staff about the soya content of the various menu items while artremis and oilrig walked down, and we met 36, Geoff, and some others there. I had a vegan sausage sandwich with organic orangeade followed by another superb cheesecake. Ludy had country vegetable soup followed by fruit salad, and Paul had chickpea and aubergine curry, because he "never passes up a curry".

The evening entertainment was the DIY Disco, which was VERY LOUD. I went along dressed in my evil dolly dress, but found hardly anyone else was dressed up (they were saving their costumes for Friday's Rocky Horror and Sunday's Ceilidh). Grant had a pretty blue shirt, and on top his departmental sweatshirt with the slogan "Physicists - Confusing The Public Since 1669. Now with Added Social Skills!". I laughed. I talked to a large number of people that I didn't previously know about things such as past and future BiCons. Then sweinhodge did some fire juggling, but I couldn't watch it for long because the paraffin made me wheezy :(

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