Bi Visibility Day has been held on 23 September each year since 1999 to celebrate bisexuality, highlight the biphobia that exists today and to help people find the bisexual community.
There has been much misinformation about bisexuals over the years, with biphobia not always coming from the straight community. Unfortunately, we also often face biphobia from others within the lesbian, gay and trans community.
I have personally heard from acquaintances: “There is no such thing as bi, they’re just gay (lesbian) who won’t admit to it.” On top of this celebrity stars can do more harm to bisexuals by their own ill-informed rants. To quote Christopher Biggins during a conversation about homosexuality on a major TV show, the openly gay star said: “The worst type though is, I’m afraid to say, the bisexuals... what it is is people not wanting to admit they are gay.” He was also seen agreeing with another guests comment that “You have to pick a team.”
Bisexual people are not gay, and we do not need to pick a team. It is no wonder that many bisexuals still do not feel confident to come out and be who we are when we face attacks from both out with and within our own community. This is why Bi Visibility Day is so important. The more we as bisexuals stand up and openly declare who we are, the more others will feel able to do so and challenge the unacceptable marginalisation by both the straight and the rest of the lesbian, gay and trans communities of which we are a part.
My article earlier this year for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBiT) shows how a major organisation chooses to marginalise the Bi community by omitting us it from its Acronym – IDAHOT. Thankfully many in Britain, and others around the world, are beginning to refer to the day as IDAHOBiT (including PCS) ensuring it is fully inclusive and acknowledges bisexuality related issues.
Even when discussing important issues such as hate crime, bisexuality is often sidelined. Too often reports and discussions will focus on the victims of homophobic and/or transphobic hate crime, essentially erasing bisexual hate and victims from the conversation. While many of the experiences for L and G victims may be the same as bi victims, there are also many unique aspects and it’s important that these are acknowledged as part of the wider conversation.
So until the Bi is no longer omitted from simple things, such as acronyms, we as a community still have a fight ahead of us. I have yet to receive a response from the IDAHOT organisation, let alone an acknowledgement of my letter to them, which only adds insult to injury that they do not seem to see this as a valid concern.
I am proud that we in PCS Proud are not so blinkered. Proud acknowledged the absence of Bi visibility in the union, and several years ago took the bold step to introduce the Bisexual Representative post to the National Committee, ensuring the voices of our bisexual members are heard as part of Proud’s day to day work.
So as part of this year’s Bi Visibility Day please remember, bisexuals are definitely not confused. We are not greedy. We are no more unfaithful than straights, Lesbians and Gays. We are not having a phase. We are not 50:50, but vary on a wide spectrum of attraction to either sex. We are not sitting on a fence. We are very much real and we need your support and understanding.
I implore and encourage my fellow bisexuals (and those who support us), please take courage from others and wear purple on the day in solidarity with the bisexual community. The more we show our determination in putting right the misinformation going around the more visible we will be and able to change perceptions of others to the bi community.
Further information on Bi Visibility Day can be found on the main website: www.BiVisibilityDay.com
Bi Community News magazine – a glossy bimonthly published since 1995, subscribe to get it through your letterbox and read lots of old articles they have available online http://www.bicommunitynews.co.uk/
Bisexual Index has lots of articles explaining bisexuality and bi life http://bisexualindex.org.uk/
BiMedia news site has a page of UK bi history dates as well as general UK bi news http://www.bimedia.org/tag/bi-history/
Proud Secretary & Bisexual Members’ Rep.