helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

BiCon 2006 - Sunday & Monday

Sunday 16th July started with me managing to win the fight with my bed almost in time to get to Bisexuals in the Media, but they'd closed the session already. So I faffed about for a minute and decided to go to Sharing the Clothes run by Sian - a workshop supposedly about crossdressing partners, that I had a passing interest in despite no experience. This proved to be a very good idea. Although only a small group (about 8 people), it was a fascinating workshop that ran over by 15 minutes, and the only reason I left was because it was lunch time and I really needed food! We talked about why people cross-dress, whether crossdressing always leads to transitioning, gender issues associated with transvestites and transsexuals - and then ran into gender issues associated with people of non-variant gender identity, and how these are expressed by the clothing you choose to wear. There was a wonderful digression about body hair and shaving and how people feel about hair on themselves and their partners.

AnnaMaria talked about how she loves to dress up as a drag queen - despite being female underneath it! and also about a Lap Dancing workshop she'd attended, which featured participants who were mostly lesbian and bisexual women, with some transmen and a handful of bio men. Everyone had to dance for everyone else, with the usual rules that the dancer may touch the dancee as much as they like, but the person receiving the dance must not touch the dancer - and what this meant in gender-variant space where you might be dancing for someone who wasn't attracted to you or vice versa. Some of the participants weren't keen on the idea that everyone should dance for everyone else - a lot of the transmen wanted only to dance for other FTMs - but they were talked into it and apparently went on to enjoy it. She said that she'd found it was most effective for the recipient if she touched them in places that reaffirmed the gender they were presenting as - so while she would touch women on the shoulders, waist or breasts, she'd touch men and FTMs in places that asserted their masculinity, such as the collar of a shirt or the upper arm muscles. I'm not sure what you'd do with girly boys or androgynes - after the workshop when I was describing this to someone else, he said that while he identified as male he wouldn't want his masculinity to be affirmed in that way, but I'm sure that within a workshop like that it would be possible for people to explain briefly their gender identity if it wasn't obvious from appearance. Certainly, if you were paying for a dance professionally, you should be able to ask for whatever you like. Various people decided there needs to be a workshop like that one BiCon, and would quite like someone to volunteer to run one, please!

On Sunday afternoon was the Decision-Making Plenary, ably run by djm4, where we made decisions about future BiCons that are to be held and who is going to be in charge. After that was the Official BiCon Group Photograph, but it seems that while some people stayed away because they don't want to be "out" publicly, a lot of other people missed it because they didn't realise it was happening. I'm mentioning this because it was the only organisational cock-up I'm aware of - which is actually a damn good thing and a great credit to this year's team - but it should be fairly easy to avoid in future. (The photograph was mentioned very briefly in the programme booklet under the heading "About plenaries", but did not appear in the programme apart from that.)

I'd thought about going to the Multi-Faith Worship at 3.30pm, but I needed to wash my hair - yes, I know that's a pathetic excuse, but I was feeling tired and grubby. When I got back to the halls, I found there was no hot water in either of the showers, or even in the sink. That was mildly traumatic, as it's been a long time since I've lived in shared accommodation and had to fight everyone else for hot water! But I boiled a kettle and somehow managed to wash my hair in the sink, despite it having only room-temperature water and being entirely the wrong height for me - and even managed not to injure my back in the process! Kudos to me, but ugh.ing

Then I went to barakta's Sign Language workshop, which included general Deaf Awareness. It was interesting because there were five people present with reasonable knowledge of BSL, who were all learning in different parts of the country. So we saw several regional variants of signs, particularly for place names. I remain convinced that I have the wrong kind of brain to learn much sign language, but it's still good to try.

For dinner I had nasty Chinese takeout but good conversation with faerierhona, aster13 and plumsbitch about workshops we'd like to see in the future, perhaps including things like Ethical Consumerism and Alternative Menstrual Products. The evening entertainment was a Ceilidh with a "Scottish" theme. Many people arrived wearing some degree of tartan, although there were also several lovely non-tartan corsets - most noticably Becky's. Ciaran turned up as "Crocodile Dundee" with a 6 foot stuffed crocodile (not an opblasskrokodil!) who tried to eat dino!! (dino had gone over to greet him as a fellow furry reptile, but he decided dino looked like a tasty morsel. I did not get photos of this. Grrr). Alexa got her hair braided into many little plaits by someone who, in typical bi community small-world syndrome, has been friends with fluffymormegil since university.

The Ceilidh itself was fun to watch - it's one of these things I've always wanted to go to but not done so because of leg issues - but too loud, due to the "punk" ceilidh band who played everything at high speed. So after speaking to a few people about their costumes, I went through to the "quiet" bar, and stayed there for a couple of hours, chatting with various people including Alexa, Nickie and David, until it stopped being quiet. Then I went back to my room for chocolate & snuggling with Ludy.

On Monday 17th July I did not get up in time for Re-entry, the workshop about how to cope back in the real world, but I did get to the Closing Plenary and see the bi community "Cake" award presentations. Then I packed, and hung out on the grass with various people, mostly x_mass. Then I was on the train with conflux & the_kumquat, having a quiet BiCon comedown and a touch of travel sickness.

All my BiCon photos are here, and the gallery is a mixture of public & friends-only photos depending on who they're of and if there are other people in the background. Let me know if you want the classification changed on any of them.
Tags: bicon, lexa, ludy

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