Systemic Racism at Bicon – an apology from Kate

Hi folks โ€“ I wanted to do a proper update on why I personally as an organiser made a big mistake in 2016 and to say sorry for it.ย I wanted to get bicon 2020 over with first so this wasn't a case of 'making it about me' or trying to centre myself (a white cis woman) in anti-racist work, but I also wanted to show I do take accountability for my actions in 2016.

I was one of the organisers mentioned in Bi's of Colour statements. In 2016 one of our organising team made really inappropriate jokes at a cabaret night. A member of Bi Continuity tried to speak to me about it, but I didn't listen – I felt like they hadn't spoken to me all year and didn't know who they were or why they were there trying to intervene in something which wasn't their 'place' (two of the systems I want to help to improve/change). I didn't understand that having the offending team member say 'sorry' and that they had learned wasn't enough. I didn't listen to the impact on attendees of having someone who had made jokes about sexual abuse as part of the organising team. I probably didn't fully get the impact of my actions on their own until I read the Bi's of Colour statement in June or July 2020 when I looked at my mistake together with others collected as a group.

Reading the list of undeniable systemic racist mistakes year after year did hit me hard (rightfully). I am committed to working hard on our community systems and procedures to try and stop this type of thing happening again, and I hope that at least working in this way will try to ensure others don't suffer from that same type of mistake again. I had it on my list to do a large explanation of why I understood this now but not at the time and each time I tried to write it, it just sounded like excuse making and there isn't an excuse for it. I'm sorry.

I hope to continue to try and work to fix some of these issues and try to resolve some of the problems I've been responsible for creating, and to work for better structures and systems in future so that my mistakes aren't made again.

Thank you – Kate