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Social media can help increase the visibility of bisexuals, but sites need to understand their responsibility

Published: 23 September 2019 Tags: By Joe Nellist

By Lewis Oakley

Recently someone told me how the only place they could be out as a Bisexual was on Twitter hiding behind an avatar.

It got me to thinking how vital social media is for some bisexuals, particularly today which is not just Bi Visibility Day but the 20th year we have celebrated it.

We know that day to day almost 90% of bisexual men are in the closet but perhaps online platforms have allowed them to have a voice not previously possible?

Hiding behind an aviator and a fake name, bisexuals can talk about their issues and meet others like them without dealing with the anxiety of doing it in the real world.

I’ve long said that one of the things which makes me most sad for bisexuals is that with so many in hiding most bi people rarely get to have conversations with other bi people.

I truly believe most of our issues could be solved if more bi people knew others like themselves, could talk through issues and not feel so isolated.

If social media has become a way for bisexual people to work towards that then I’m all for it.


My only issue is that Twitter must seek to demonstrate more responsibility towards bisexuals. Twitters algorithmic biphobia has been well documented over the years.

In 2017 Twitter actually blocked the word Bisexual from appearing in search results.

They did this because the word is “typically associated with adult content” and therefore blocked.

This saw any pictures with the term bisexual in images hidden from being searched.

At the time this was hard for the bi community to deal with, to have a place you’ve been cultivating appear to turn on you and actually limit Bi people from interacting was outrageous.

The issue was resolved eventually, although it took some loud bi voices to apply the pressure.


But Twitter seemed to forget that lesson pretty quickly. As 2019 rolled in so did the term ‘20biteen’ which Twitter quickly blocked from showing up in photos and videos.

Twitter can blame coding and algorithms all it likes but it’s pretty clear the bias of the people writing these codes and algarithms is seeping through.

That’s why this Bi Visibility Day id like to see Twitter and other social media sites show the leadership needed to protect and grow their bisexual users.

This year I hope to see bisexuality trending and I hope all reading this, bisexual or not will take to your channels to help make bisexuality as visible as possible.

Follow Lewis Oakley on Twitter - @lewyoaks