We’re really proud to be an inclusive employer. Today on Bi Visibility Day, we’ve invited a member of PRISM – our award-winning LGBTQ+ Staff Network – to feature on our blog and share their experience with us.
Hello! I’m Bethan – I joined the Welsh Government in May this year, on secondment from the UK Government’s Crown Commercial Service, and I’m extremely pleased to be here.
As you might expect, given that my role is in Communications, visibility is very important to me – I’m working to make sure the Welsh Government’s messages are communicated clearly and heard fully, everywhere they need to be. And those of you who work from the CP2 office might have noticed I’m pretty visible myself, given my love of bright colours (especially pillar-box red) and collection of nerdy accessories.
What’s perhaps not so visible, if you don’t know me well, is that I’m bi.
That lack of visibility isn’t unusual – it’s actually a recognised and familiar issue in bi circles, where it’s usually referred to as ‘bi erasure’. In other words, bi and pansexual people* (see definitions below) are frequently ignored, forgotten or minimised in discussions of queer issues, even though numerically there are probably more of us than any other identity under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. Perhaps that’s no surprise, given that if we’re in mixed-gender relationships, we often ‘seem straight’ to outsiders – while if we’re in same-gender relationships, we ‘seem gay’. Spoiler alert: whatever relationships we happen to be in (even none at all) we’re still bi! This isn’t a football team – when it comes to the people we’re attracted to and form relationships with, we choose a person, not a side.
Bi Visibility Day takes place around the world every year on 23 September. It’s a chance to remind the world that we exist – along with setting the record straight (pun fully intended!) on the stereotypes that tend to arise when you’re not as visible as some other groups might be. For example: no, we’re not ‘secretly just gay’/’just doing this because it’s trendy’/’confused’/etcetera…
This year, on the twenty-fifth annual Bi Visibility Day, I’m very proud to become the PRISM Network’s new Bi Champion.
I’m very much looking forward to building on all the great work that has already been done – this will include continuing our Bi+ Support Group for all Welsh Government members of staff who identify as anywhere under the ‘bi umbrella’. It’s a discreet and safe space to meet your bi+ colleagues, whether you feel able to be ‘out’ at work or not.
As I’m on secondment from UK Government, I am currently also continuing to run socials for all LGBTQ+ civil servants in Wales – and that includes Welsh Government staff – in my ongoing role as Wales Rep for the UK Civil Service’s LGBTQ+ Network.
Our next social is in Cardiff on the 28 September, so whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or as an ally, please do get in touch with us at PRISM@gov.wales if you think you’d like to join us!
Stonewall defines Bi is an umbrella term used to describe a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender. Bi people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including, but not limited to, bisexual, pan, queer, and some other non-monosexual and non-monoromantic identities. Pan refers to a person whose romantic and/or sexual attraction towards others is not limited by sex or gender.