Aug. 14th, 2017 01:45 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
I"m settling into a pattern of weeks with very little to do and very low mood, and then being very busy and mostly happier on the weekends. This is really bad for me and no fun but I don't feel able to get myself unstuck yet.

On Friday I babysat for a four-year-old, A, so his parents could have a night out here, which actually sounds awesome because it's full of the only kinds of video games I can play (my ability to obtain enough visual information from a video game interface to play it stopped around Tetris I think! but I'm amazing at that). My friend told me it's £15, but it's only £10 if you don't want VR games and yeah, there's absolutely no way I'm going to try virtual reality when I'm struggling enough with this one, so it looks like a fun cheap night out.

A fell asleep on the sofa where he'd been watching cartoons with his dad just before they left. His mum said once he was asleep, he was asleep so to leave it a while and then try to see if he was interested in the shower, food and bedtime routine I'd just been updated on .

So I watched TV for a while and finally put my own dinner in the oven because I was starving. I figured this would probably wake him up so I wouldn't be able to eat it. Sure enough, he did and he was inconsolable because his mummy wasn't there. He went upstairs for a wee and then sat on the landing sobbing. It was heartbreaking but if I went near him the tears were screams instead of sobs and I couldn't get him to move, couldn't get him interested in doing anything else. I told him his mummy would be back after his bedtime so eventually he said he wanted to get ready for bed so mummy would come home, like she's Santa or something.

And from that point he snapped into his normal self, talking to me about his pajamas (Batman) the story he wanted (dinosaurs), the things he'd done at preschool that day, more about dinosaurs...He didn't like being left alone in the dark but we put on a little light he has over his bed and I sat with him for a few minutes which seemed to help keep the "shadow monsters" away.

Then I had my slightly-overcooked ready meal and watched Pride again, getting to the end just as my friends returned.

I was staying over so quickly installed myself in the spare room, with the comfy bed, the robot alarm clock and the lamp with colorful airplanes on its shade. It was pretty great.

I was there because next morning Simon and I were driving to Leeds for BiCon and it made no sense to get me home late at night just to go pick me up again the next day.

We got there, found the part of the campus we needed with only a little hassle, and as soon as we walked in the main building found people we knew, hugs and excitement, which was pretty fun. It took us both a while just to get as far as the check-in desk what with standing around talking and whatnot.

I feel like I skimmed across the surface of BiCon, didn't really go to any sessions (though I went to the picnic so I could see a friend and her twice-as-old-as-when-I-last-saw-him kid, and I was at a session where I got photographed reading a BCN in front of the bi flag that was flying over the venue, Leeds Beckett University.
A couple of my friends also posted pictures of the flag or themselves standing in front of it, and more than one said that the university people did this uninvited. Which really surprised me because, without even realizing it until then, I'd assumed BiCon had asked them to do this, because I've seen or heard of bi flags flying from town halls for Bi Visibility Day or whatever on the odd occasion, but it's always been because bi people asked. This is the first time I can remember us not having to ask.

Mostly I was there to see friends and catch up with people, and I did! Too-briefly as always, and there were a few people who'd talked about wanting to see me who I didn't, but 'twas ever thus.

Luckily I also missed the Home Office, whose LGBT network had a stall at the "marketplace" on the Friday.

Different people/groups were there on Saturday and it was more like somebody selling candles to fundraise for their bi group, people selling badges, stuff like that. Much more like I was used to. The bi community, inasmuch as it even makes sense to talk about such a thing, is strongly connected to DIY/zinester cultures: people who are lucky if they have a shoestring budget. Nothing's corporate or commercial because society's still at such a biphobic state that those kinds of groups know there's no money in bothering to figure us out.

So having the Home Office's LGBT network there was honestly a shock to me. I'm not used to the marketplace thingy anyway; apparently it happened at BiCons before I started going and one that I missed, but I hadn't been aware of it as a possibility. But BiCon is totally volunteer-run (see above re no money in bisexuality) and by a different team every year, so I get that the shape of the weekend will change from one year to another.

So this was the first I heard about it, a tweet that says "How can you say it's a safe space for people of colour then promote the Home Office's LGBT group at #bicon?" It is quoting a tweet from that group, Spectrum, saying "We're at @BiConUK, come say hi!" with a picture attached of two smiling white men standing behind a table full of leaflets. Like they were any one of a million groups and charities and companies I'd seen staffing stalls at a million Prides and other such events.

I really felt sick. I'd also seen on Twitter that people of color were being asked "Where are you really from?" and other such microaggressions when BiCon tries to be safe and welcoming. I agreed that bis of color (regardless of their immigration status) didn't need this. Neither did I; It honestly made me feel sick.

Not that the smiling white men themselves were any danger to me, but the people who okayed this didn't think it'd be a problem and that made me feel really distant from their experience, really isolated. We could look at the same picture, the same facts, and see two totally different things. I hate the Home Office. I'm basically writing a whole book about how much I hate the Home Office because if they didn't make immigration so dehumanizing, stressful, expensive and hostile, I wouldn't have anything to write about! Honestly I was more worried I'd be a danger to them, or that I'd yell something that goes against the BiCon code of conduct and get myself in trouble. The Home Office has always been a faceless organization to me and being presented with some faces is the kind of experience I couldn't trust my animal brain to behave itself for.

I got into a twitter argument I really tried to avoid, too, because one of the other replies to "how can this be a safe space with them here?" tweets really wound me up. "People who work for the home office can be LGBTQ. The left wing do not own Queerness" has several things wrong with it, if you ask me. First of all, with a bi boyfriend who used to work for the Home Office I'm well aware of this. Secondly, I don't like the way that this dichotomy, not only lefties are queer, implies the Home Office are right-wing. I think they are, of course (and have been under previous governments as much as this one) but I don't want to concede that without challenging it. Most importantly, it still doesn't justify their presence at BiCon. Were they hoping to run into queer Home Office employees who didn't know about them already? Do they do some kind of outward-facing work? I genuinely would like to know the answers to questions like this. I do wonder what was on those leaflets on their table.

Anyway they weren't there on Saturday, and while a few people suggested I complain, I have no enthusiasm for talking to a team that will be replaced by all different people this year, about a thing that I hope is unlikely to happen again. I was angry, and I was hurt, but now I'm just sad and tired.

So I was quite glad that my plans had changed such that I could go to Brighouse that night. I was tired and a little emotionally wrung-out with one thing and another. It didn't help a lot though as after a blessed day off Twitter I was catching up on Charlottesville. I spent way too much time reading what it felt like I couldn't look away from but also couldn't fix. But I was heartened to see a lot of white people talking about how unhelpful attitudes like #ThisIsNotUs were, ignoring that this is what America has always been so we can feel better about ourselves.

Andrew came over to Brighouse too yesterday, for Sunday dinner and terrible films. It was really nice having all the best people around.

Now I'm home where all the cleaning and laundry have been neglected for quite a while even before I was away because my mental health has been so bad. I've done a load of laundry I'm about to go hang up and put another one in. It'd be nice if I could clean some things. And I have to write down volunteering admin and stuff I need to do before it all falls out of my head. Better go and do all of that, then!

Here's hoping this week is better than the last two.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-15 09:01 am (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
I hope this week is better for you.

I only saw you so briefly at BiCon! I hope we can see each other more often and for longer soon.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-15 11:25 am (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
Glad to hear it. x

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-15 02:11 pm (UTC)
magic_at_mungos: (st trinians by iconzicons)
From: [personal profile] magic_at_mungos
I saw you in the distance on Saturday so was sad not to say hello. (You looked deep in conversation when I saw you so I didn't come over)

Also I am sending some bits on behalf of Bis of Colour to the team as to why people found it ropey to the team so future teams can do better. Am happy to wrap some of your thoughts into this if it helps? I don't have the spoons to even start thinking about it until I get back from Copenhagen on Monday so drop me a DM or email?


hollymath: (Default)

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