Just released! BiCon's Handbook for attenders
When you register for BiCon you'll be given a BiCon 2011 Handbook [650Kb PDF] which has information about the following and more:
- Where to find food from nearby shops and takeaways
- Local area info including banks, opticians, pharmacies etc
- Sources of assistance including GPs, dentists, walkin centre and A&E as well as some useful helpline numbers
- Useful info for first timers
- Session descriptions & facilitator bios
- Information about exhibits and entertainments
- and some site maps and building plans
If you’re new to BiCon, welcome aboard!
BiCon is a weekend-long gathering for bi people, their friends, partners and others with a supportive interest in bisexuality. We don’t all use the labels “bi” or “bisexual” or even agree on what it means to be bi, but bisexuality is the common theme. A typical BiCon might have 250 participants, of which about 60 are at BiCon for the first time.
BiCon usually uses a university venue not because it's an academic event but because it is cheap! You won't find a flat screen TV in your bedroom, but you will be able to make your own meals.
What happens during BiCon?
BiCon 2011 runs from Thursday lunchtime to Sunday afternoon. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday there are discussion groups and other sessions during the day, with social space and entertainment in the evening. There are usually between five and ten different sessions happening at once, each lasting around 75 minutes, so there’s plenty to choose from. Having got your pass (one-day or whole event), you’re free to attend as much or as little as you like.
Some discussions cover bi-related themes, e.g. coming out, our experiences of the lesbian and gay communities, and lots with a title like “Bisexuality and X”. Other topics have ranged from parenting to “Live Action Space Invaders”. Some sessions are more academic in nature or cover sexual health issues, and some are action more than talk: e.g. in past years belly dancing, sign language and massage.
Each evening there’s a bar and social space, with performers, a band or a DJ, plus quieter space for chatting, reading, knitting, playing board games or simply chilling out. If you like to dress up, bring your party clothes!
Where do I stay?
Most people stay on-site in self-catering student residences, booked in advance. This year we have a choice of standard or ensuite rooms – please see the accommodation page for more details. If you know anyone else who’ll be coming to BiCon, you can ask to be in the same flat or corridor (if they have requested the same type of accommodation). We also ask on the form whether you'd like a 'quieter' or a 'party' flat, to help us put you in a space with people who share your ideas about a sensible amount of sleep!
We have wheelchair-accessible rooms available; if you’re likely to want one of these, please let us know in plenty of time. More info on the access page.
What do I wear? Or, “Who are these people in the strange clothes?”
One of the wonderful things about BiCon is that it’s a very non-judgemental place when it comes to dressing up. Leather, latex, purple velvet; corsets, drag, sparkly things; BiCon’s seen it all (especially in the evenings). Sometimes it’s easy to get the impression that these dressed-up people are of a different cooler species, or indeed strange alien weirdos! However, we’re mostly much the same as anyone in ordinary life, as you’ll find out if you get chatting to us. In true BiCon diversity, you’ll also see plenty of people in their favourite ordinary comfy clothes, especially in the daytime but even on the dance floor.
What about my family?
Not everyone at BiCon identifies as “bi”. Non-bi partners and children are welcome too! Childcare provisions and activities are organised subject to demand – so if you’d like to make use of them, do get your booking form in soon.
How much does it cost?
Ticket prices range on a sliding scale (based on income). For full details see the Registration page. Day passes start at £10 (unwaged) and passes for the whole event including accommodation are available from £115 (unwaged).
An equality fund exists for people who might not otherwise be able to come to BiCon. Tick the box on the booking form, send us a few details and we’ll do our best to help. When you contact us it would be useful if you could give some idea of the level of support you require. We can often make a sizeable reduction to your BiCon booking fee, but unfortunately we are unable to contribute towards travel or other expenses.
How do I book? Can I just turn up?
If you want to come along for the whole event and to stay in the on-site accommodation, you must book in advance. But if you’re only a short journey away or staying locally, you’re welcome to just turn up on the day. You can buy non-residential passes or day passes at any time including at BiCon itself. Day tickets cover all the activities in a particular day including the evening entertainments.
If I book a place, do I get an information pack?
Once we receive your booking you’ll get an acknowledgement within 30 days and be added to our mailing list for important information and updates. You will also receive an information booklet about two weeks before the event. This contains practical details about the venue, directions, and the all important “BiCon Code of Conduct” which ensures that BiCon remains a safe and tolerant space for everyone who attends.
How do I find out more?
We’ll be putting up more information on this website over the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, you might want to check out some of the links on the right of this page. There’s a wealth of community information at Bi Community News, and The Bisexual Index offers a lot of great resources about bisexuality in general.
If you have any queries, please do get in touch with us. Our contact details are on the contact us link at the top of this page.
Still undecided? “My First Bicon” – True stories
Friends persuaded me to attend my first BiCon, telling me that the parties were good and some of the discussions might be interesting too. I was extremely nervous and wondering why on earth I’d want to spend this time with people I only had bisexuality in common with.
Meeting people I knew in the registration line helped. I was welcomed in to dinner in one of the flats. I had many conversations that made me want to repeatedly say "Yes, I think that too!" I had more thoughts and connections than would reasonably fit in just a few days.
By the end I was tired and happy, feeling like this was home and already knowing I’d miss my new friends whom I felt I’d known for years, not days.
I was overwhelmed by the unconventional appearance and dress of many of the attendees and thought I would never fit in, that I couldn’t be as pretty or as outrageous… and that I needed to raid vintage clothing and/or fetish shops to stand a chance. Gradually over the weekend I began to feel that actually it wasn’t necessary, that most people were dressed the way they were, not to fit in, but because that was how they liked to dress and they were free to do so here.
I was exhilarated by the gradual dawning that here, in this space, it was OK to just be me. And that people might even be interested in me, the real me. And that maybe the real me could try to express herself in new ways and have some fun even. I’ve kept coming back.
Some people who first met me at one of my later BiCons might be surprised to hear what I’ve just said!
I was bowled over by the event. Everyone was so friendly and despite being involved a bit in the Bi community in London I had the most steepest and most enjoyable learning curve I’ve ever had. It was the beginning of me being me and accepting me and not being frightened of being bi.
BiCon was the turning point from me creeping anxiously in to Gay pubs to feeling able to shout "Oi you! I’m bi and I’m proud"