Bisexuals unite against arms trade funding and military recruitment
The UK’s national Bisexual Convention, BiCon, has become the first major LGBT+ event in Britain to rule out funding from the arms trade or military recruitment stalls.
The new policy was passed in an 81 percent majority vote on Saturday (August 3).
The vote, which took place at a BiCon gathering in Lancaster, comes a week before Pride in Surrey takes place – with British defence firm BAE Systems as lead sponsor.
After the vote passed, Symon Hill, the bisexual who proposed the new policy, said in a press release, “The pinkwashing tide is turning. Arms dealers and militarists must now know that LGBTQ people will resist their attempts to misuse our movement for their own ends.”
“Militarism is rooted in violence, obedience and conformity and can never produce queer liberation,” he said.
Peace Pledge Union congratulates bisexuals
The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), a UK-based pacifist network, congratulated BiCon on the decision in a statement, which said, “Pro-military organisers of Pride events have responded to critics by saying that no national LGBTQ event in the UK has a policy of ruling out all arms trade sponsorship or armed forces stalls. Following today’s decision, this is no longer the case.”
BiCon’s new position is a major development for the No Pride In War campaign, an alliance of groups including Lesbians And Gay’s Support the Migrants (LGSM), the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and the London Bi Pandas.
Bisexual writer and PPU member Jess Amy Dixon, who was present for the vote in Lancaster, said, “I’m so proud of the bisexual community for this step. It’s one that I hope many other LGBTQ organisations will emulate.
“We cannot let these organisations, who profit by directly contributing to the persecution of our queer siblings in other countries, co-opt our movement and pretend to be our allies. I am so happy that today BiCon said no.”
BiCon’s new policy forms part of its guidelines and states: “No financial partnership shall be entered into with arms companies or armed forces. For the avoidance of doubt, people employed by such bodies are of course welcome to attend BiCon as individuals, on the same basis as anyone else.”