Finding Winnipeg's Bi+ Community
"Bisexual people have a much harder time finding community and safe space. ... [E]ven when there's an established LGBTQ community, it's often not fully inclusive of bisexual-identified people."
— Bisexual activist Robyn Ochs
When Mandi (she/her) moved back to Winnipeg from Toronto, she struggled to find the connection and support in Winnipeg's bi+ community, which was a stark difference from the connection and support she'd found in Toronto. She knew she couldn't be the only one.
Mandi explains, "I surveyed 15 bi+-identified people who live in Winnipeg or had lived in Winnipeg in the past. Based on the survey, it was clear that there was definitely a need for a network specifically designated for bi+ people."
With this informal research in hand, alongside a determination to close this gap in services, Mandi called up Rainbow Resource Centre's Volunteer Coordinator Jonah (he/him) to solve this problem.
"As a bi person, it can be difficult to feel accepted, included, and understood in both general society and the 2SLGBTQ+ community due to biphobia and bi erasure," Mandi says. "I figured I couldn't be the only one in the central prairies that needs a bi+ support system."
And she's right. Rainbow Resource Centre has long recognized the need for a bi+ group, but for various reasons, such a group never came to fruition. Until now. Jonah was delighted to learn of Mandi's offer to start the Winnipeg Bi+ Network.
While the group is in its infancy, Mandi sees a lot of room for growth and incredible potential for connection and community. The plan is to start with a monthly support group, a private online group, a Facebook page, and an extensive bi+ resource list, which will include everything from bi+-friendly therapists and STI testing centres to books, media, and podcast recommendations.
As the group grows, Mandi sees additional meetings and outings throughout the month, with some of them focussed on fun more than support. Mandi explains this could include "live events, outdoor activities, recreational sports, arts events, restaurants, and even a book club."
"It is my hope that by creating a bi+ support system, the bi+ people of Winnipeg can find community, support, and resources whenever they need."
Mandi is a multidisciplinary artist, cat mom, self-proclaimed pun queen, 90s kid, and 2SLGBTQ+ advocate with a background in film, theatre, administration, and communications. And she's bi! In her spare time, you can find Mandi in escape rooms, playing badminton, sending too many memes to loved ones, and attending screenings of the cult classic The Room.
The Winnipeg Bi+ Network will meet monthly on the fourth Thursday. Please watch our social media or upcoming newsletters for the official launch and first meeting of the Winnipeg Bi+ Network.
The Winnipeg Bi+ Network serves bi+ adults of all ages. Bi+ includes bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, polysexual, biromantic, queer, two-spirit, fluid, questioning, and any other identity under the bi+ umbrella.