Bi Visibility Day 2016
Published: 22 September 2016 Tags: community, bivisibility, biphobia By John Walding
Friday 23rd September 2016 is Bi Visibility Day, also known as Celebrate Bisexuality Day, and 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 also often have their bisexuality overlooked and re-labelled as “gay” or “straight” depending on who their current partner is, rendering their bi identity invisible in society.
This invisibility can have severe ramifications. In an extreme case, a bisexual man was denied asylum in the UK for years because he wasn’t “gay enough”, despite facing biphobic abuse and imprisonment in his country of origin. It was only after a prolonged legal battle and protests but the LGBT community that this decision was overturned, and demonstrates just how deep-seated the misunderstanding of bisexuality is across 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 Visibility Day is so important; it helps to open a more informative conversation about bisexuality, combating harmful myths and enabling bisexuals to take pride in their identity. There have been great steps in LGBT 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 encouraging the rest of the world to join together to celebrate and respect bi identities.
In support of Bi Visibility Day, LGBT Foundation invites you to a series of events:
Community workshop, ‘Biphobia and Erasure’ led by TransLeeds activist. Open to all bisexual, pansexual and other non-monosexual people to share their experiences and discuss strategies for dealing with biphobia and erasure. Sat 24th Sept, 11:30am
This Bi Visibility Day, LGBT Foundation invites you to show your support in three ways:
- Come along to our Bi Visibility Day events
- Buy a raffle ticket (or 3!) to raise money for Biphoria (a local bisexual social and support group) at all our Bi Visibility Day events.
- Tweet using #BiVisibilityDay and share the stories and messages posted by LGBT Foundation in celebration of the day!