Building a bisexual community, one voice at a time
- Credit: Jack Parker
Kim Scopes wants you to think differently about bisexuality.
As a bi woman, she feels she has been stereotyped and marginalised - people who seem otherwise enlightened see her as ‘greedy’, ‘indecisive,' ‘confused’, and expect her to be unfaithful.
Now the actor and puppeteer stars in a self-penned one woman comedy, which aims to challenge these notions with honesty and humour.
Staged at Kentish Town's Lion and Unicorn Theatre, Somewhere to Belong weaves together the testimonies of more than 40 bisexual, pan and queer people from around the world with Scopes' own journey around her sexuality.
The 33-year-old Hackney resident knew as a teen that she was bi, 'came out' in her 30s, but "still didn't feel like I qualified as being queer."
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After making the call out on social media to those who identify as being attracted to more than one gender, Scopes conducted most of the interviews via Zoom to create a show that in both subject and form is very contemporary.
“I got to talk to so many bi, pan, and queer people from completely different backgrounds, intersections and walks of life. It helped develop my sense of community," she says.
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Indeed the show sheds light on common themes including feeling dismissed and lacking a sense of community.
The Bisexual Report into inclusion, found that bisexual people experience a higher rate of mental health difficulties including anxiety, self harm and depression, that is linked to biphobia and invisibility.
Scopes says historically the media has played a role in perpetuating two dimensional ideas around bisexuality.
"The representations in the media are very poor but are getting better. Over the past few years there's been more of an effort to create bi characters who are fully rounded. In the past it has been in porn and bad dramas. Their sex life was the drama and that was all they were about. Or they were a plot twist in someone else's drama. This is where myths about bisexual people have come about.”
Scopes can understand the frustration of those getting to grips with a multiplicity of sexual identities because "it feels like there’s something new to learn every day".
"But there’s nothing wrong with asking ‘what does that mean, I don’t understand, I’ve never met someone who identifies as that before.’ I think everybody has the right to identify as they wish to and ask for that to be respected. Some people find that overwhelming and that brings an aggressive response sometimes. But there is also a lack of understanding or wanting to understand.”
Optimistic that the UK is moving forwards, Scopes points to the sheer number of conversations taking place as an indicator that social change is slowly taking place, and believes LGBTQ+ equality has to come from positive representations, encouraging people to ask questions, and like the show, "building a community of voices through just talking."
"This is a really fun, silly show exploring the ridiculous stereotypes about bisexual, pan sexual,and queer people. It's not a preachy show it's a celebration, an exploration of all the joy in the community with fantastic banging tunes.”
Somewhere to Belong runs at The Lion and Unicorn theatre July 27-31.