23rd September is Bi Visibility Day, also known as Celebrate Bisexuality Day. Today is an opportunity to celebrate and promote the diversity of the bisexual+ community.
Bisexuals are people who are attracted to more than one gender. It’s an umbrella term that encompasses other identities that are attracted to one or more genders, such as pansexual and queer, and includes attraction to those beyond the gender binary. Bisexuality has a rich and varied history, community and people, but is an often misunderstood and maligned identity.
Bisexuality is commonly erased in both the straight and LGBT communities, despite bisexuals and those who identify under the bi umbrella making up nearly half of those who identify as LGBT. It’s mistaken for a transient identity before someone “picks a side”, and while this is true for some people, it’s deeply damaging for bisexuals to be told their identity is less permanent and less legitimate than other identities.
Bisexual people often have their bisexuality overlooked and re-labelled as “gay” or “straight” depending on their current partner, rendering their bi identity invisible in society.
Alongside and as a consequence of this ongoing discrimination and erasure, bisexual people are more likely to experience mental health problems than the gay, lesbian and straight populations. and find it harder to access support that recognises the specific issues bisexuals face. Bisexual people are less likely to be open about their sexuality at work compared to their lesbian and gay counterparts and are at a higher risk of domestic or sexual abuse than the straight population.
On top of this, there’s a pervasive sense of biphobia in the media, publishing articles with headers like “would you date a bisexual?” and reeling off stereotypes of indecisiveness, greed, or sexual promiscuity.
The loudest way to combat such negative stereotypes is through vocal support of bi identities, providing a welcoming and visible community for bisexuals and those questioning their sexuality to express their true selves.
This is why Bi Visuality Week is so important! It helps open up a more informed conversation about bisexuality, combating harmful myths and enabling bisexuals to take pride in their identity. There have been great steps in LGBTQ+ equality in recent years but there is still more work to be done. Bi Visibility Day aims to support and raise the bi community, as well as to encourage the rest of the world to join together to celebrate and respect bi identities.
We here at LGBT Foundation want all Bi+ people that you are valid and we are here to support you! We run our Bi Programme in which we aim to create a safe, social place for all Bi people where they can meet, make friends, and improve their own wellbeing. If you would be interested go please go to https://lgbt.foundation/bi.