DIVA met with the director of the bisexual advocacy group Biscuit 


To kick off this year’s Bisexual Awareness Week, we spoke to none other than the director of the bisexual advocacy group Biscuit – Libby Baxter-Williams. 

In the 2021 Census, 1.3% of the population identified as bisexual. Despite this encompassing a whopping 628,000 people, bisexual visibility within the LGBTQIA community – and the straight world – is shockingly low. 

In pop culture, we’re seeing a rise of celebrities talking about their bisexual identity such as Tinashe, Megan Fox and Demi Lovato. And we can’t forget the fantastic representation that Netflix’s Heartstopper has given to the community. However, for those away from the public eye, biphobia has often left the bisexual community feeling isolated. 

That’s where Libby – director of Biscuit – comes in. DIVA spoke to the fabulous Libby about her journey. 

What was your coming-out story like? 

I came out several times! I first came out as a lesbian when I was 14, and I held onto that identity for quite a while. I knew that attraction was broader than that, but I didn’t have a word for it. I was pretty sure that it was just confusion and it would go away because as far as I was concerned if you liked girls you were a lesbian, and that’s all there is to it.

When I was 18 I started to hear people using the label bi. I had come to terms with the label but I had a shame around it. It felt like it was a failure on my own part. It felt like I was performing queerness incorrectly. 

But then I met a girl. We had a bit of an on-and-off fling, and she was bi and she was out. She introduced me to other bi people, and more specifically people who were active in the community. That gave me the bounce that I needed to come out, claim this label and take it back. I decided that it wasn’t any of the things that I had heard it was, and I could make it my own. It wasn’t a failure, and it was perfectly natural. 

My coming out story and my introduction to advocacy are the same story. When I met those friends, a lot of them were doing bits of bi work for the community, and so I was introduced to the label and doing the work at the same time. 

Why do you think there is such shame around being bi? And why do you think that as bi people we struggle to speak up about our queer identity? 

There are so many different things that feed into the shame. You feel like you have to make a choice, and often that choice is viewed as a political choice. Bi people – bi women especially – are viewed as suspicious because of our proximity to men. It’s “impure” queerness. 

Especially in queer women’s groups, a lot of bi women in relationships with men will not feel comfortable talking about them. It’s partly out of respect for the space which centres queer love and queer feeling, but also it’s because we do get side-eyed. 

So after you met this amazing group of bisexual advocates, how did Biscuit come to fruition? 

Biscuit came from Lottie Dingle, who unfortunately passed away last year. Lottie was primarily a writer, and her story was very similar to mine. She had been out as a lesbian as a teenager and then had grown into bisexuality into her twenties. So we clicked instantly. 

I was doing things like getting involved with running Bi-Con and little projects like that. I was looking for something else to do. Lottie set up Biscuit online as a magazine in its first iteration. In the first year, she ran it single-handedly. It then became too much work, and it was difficult to find people to write content for free. That’s when I got involved. 

My intention was to help Lottie who was running the site just as a resource for entertainment and advice. It was going to be for six months to get her off the ground. And then Lottie decided that she didn’t want to do it anymore. I was left with this brand which had a lot of goodwill behind it. I thought if that’s what Lottie can do with this brand in a year, what can I do with it? 

So I took over by myself. All I knew is that I wanted to transition Biscuit from entertainment and advice to action and support. Eventually, the magazine got wound down completely and we rebranded as a community organisation. That was nine years ago! And suddenly we’re here! Biscuit will be 10 in January. 

What have been some of the proudest moments over the time that you’ve had Biscuit? 

I really enjoyed putting a float in Pride in London just from a visibility standpoint. Attending Pride is one of the most stressful but rewarding parts of running Biscuit. Meeting all sorts of different people, talking to them in their towns, giving them flags, showing them literature that we’ve produced.

The B With The T campaign is something I’m really proud of. We launched that with Bi Survivors Network when the LGB Alliance came into being. We’ve given out about 8,500 stickers to people to cover up transphobia in their streets. It’s putting power into people’s hands, and showing how easy activism is. 

There is more visibility now than ever but how do you think that the bisexual community could feel more advocated for and seen?

In queer spaces, where we are accepted we are accepted conditionally. And that’s not to say that’s true of everyone. We’re talking about the extremes, and we’re talking about the minority. But it is a vocal minority. It’s a conditional acceptance. When we are in a same-sex relationship, when we are wearing the queer uniform, when we are androgynous, when we are visibly queer, we are accepted. 

When we go off that track, we get side-eyed and viewed with suspicion. If I am in a straight-passing relationship that’s going to get me eyed with suspicion as an interloper and someone who is draining the resources of the community because I am not entitled to be there. 

The kind of acceptance we need is of the whole of us, and not just conditional on us acting in the “right way”.

What are some of the challenges for the bisexual community that you wish people were more aware of? 

I think there’s some really basic stuff that I realise that people don’t know when they meet me. People are surprised that there is a bi community because they’ve never thought about the fact that there needs to be one. People also need to realise that biphobia is not “Homophobia Light”. It’s not diet homophobia. It’s a whole thing by itself. We do experience homophobia when we’re in same-gender relationships or if we’re visibly queer. Biphobia is a different thing. It’s directly to do with our duality, our bothness, our otherness from the alleged norm. 

On a more positive note, what has given you hope for the bi community recently?

I see people doing the work. I see community organisations cropping up. I see local community groups hosting coffee mornings and making spaces for each other. I see institutions like Bi-Con doing anti-racism work with their attendees. I see funders finally copping on that we don’t have any money. It’s lots of cumulative dots of joy that tell me that we’re in the right direction. We are getting there. 

There’s so much desire and heat to push for change and make noise. That’s fabulous. It makes me so proud of the community to see them band together and really push for inclusion. We’ll see the fruits of it very soon. 

DIVA magazine celebrates 29 years in print in 2023. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQIA media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.