September 20, 2013

IconCelebrate Bi Visibility Day!

September 23rd marks the 15th annual Bi Visibility Day. Wait, what? You’ve never heard of Bi Visibility Day? Well that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Bi Visibility Day was created not only to celebrate bisexuality, but also to increase awareness and acceptance of bisexuals around us.

According to the Bisexuality Report released in 2012, while many people engage in bisexual behavior, and even more people experience bisexual feelings, only a small number will actually identify as bi.

In a study done in 2010, 3.1% of adults polled checked the bisexual box, and 4.9% of adolescents identified as bisexual. Part of this stems from the negative stereotypes surrounding bisexuals that keeps them feeling on the outside of both heterosexual and homosexual. It is also due to the fact that the percentage of bisexuals in the LGBTQ community is still very small, making it harder for people to ascertain where they fit in, because they have less people with which to identify. This is yet another reason that it is important to spread the word of Bi Visibility Day.

What is bi invisibility? According to the Bisexuality Report, “bisexual invisibility is a type of biphobia which generally takes the form of a conventional view in many western cultures; that people’s sexual identity is defined by the gender that they are attracted to, and that people are only attracted to “the other gender” or ‘the same gender’.”

Simply put, when I was dating a boy last year, people assumed I was straight. Now that I am dating a girl, people assume I am gay. Even when I tell them, my friends included, that I am bi, they occasionally make comments like, “Don’t you think you might actually be gay?” or “I think you’re really straight, but you just like having a girlfriend for now.” These are all examples of bi invisibility.

So what does Bi Visibility Day look like? Well, it depends on where you live, and it depends on your involvement. If you live in the UK, there are a variety of options to choose from, hopefully one near you.

If you live in Manchester, there are events starting on Friday and going through Wednesday, including the main event on Monday evening that will be hosting a few speakers, including a lead author on the Bisexuality Report, Dr. Meg Barker.

If you live in the U.S., and more specifically, anywhere near Los Angeles, you should definitely check out “The Bi Chill: 2013 Bi Arts Fest and Social” in the afternoon at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza.

If, like me, you don’t live anywhere near a city that is hosting an event over the weekend, you can still join in on the discussion and the pride by posting about it on Facebook or joining the Twitter storm on September 23rd.

Do you have a purple, pink, and blue flag? Hang that baby over your desk and be proud to support bisexuals. Start a conversation with someone who maybe harbours those aforementioned stereotypes and help erase the everyday invisibility.

Celebrate Bi Visibility Day, and feel good knowing that you are doing your part to increase awareness that “yes, there truly are such things as bisexuals”, “no, they are not just confused”, and “yes, they often end up in monogamous relationships with either same or different gender partners, but it does not mean they are suddenly no longer bisexual”. Someone you know may be struggling with their own identity, and by creating and joining in on the conversation, you could potentially create a safe and encouraging stepping stone. Don’t forget to spread the word!

1 Response to Celebrate Bi Visibility Day!

Maria Burnham

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