Every September 23, Bisexual Visibility day is celebrated to recognize and celebrate bisexual people, the bisexual community, and the history of bisexuality – but why is needed? Why is it important?
Firstly, it’s important because it helps to tackle biphobia, which is the discrimination that bisexuals face. According to Pew Research Center, 40 percent of LGBT Americans are bisexual. The Office for National Statistics suggests 0.8 percent of the British population are bisexual. However, the same research also shows gay men and lesbians are more likely than bi people to be out.
Furthermore, part of the reason why bisexual individuals face discrimination and stigma, which doesn’t allow for them to come out – a 2017 study by American University found that stressors had more of an impact because bi people face what researchers described as “double discrimination” – from both queer and non-queer community.
We also need Bisexuality Visibility Day because the experiences of bisexual people are often forgotten or ignored, because our experience are assumed to be the same as lesbian and gay experiences, and our identities are frequently made invisible or dismissed as something that doesn’t exist, by people both inside and outside of this community, which is “double discrimination.” We also have negative stereotypes – the big ones being that we’re greedy, can’t make up our minds, more likely to cheat – as well as more negative stereotypes.
The issues that bisexual individuals face is also gendered – Bi women are more likely to be viewed as ‘actually straight’, their sexual orientation merely a performance to attract straight men, whereas bi men are frequently seen as going through a ‘phase’ on the way to coming out as gay. But please remember, anyone of any gender can identify as bisexual!
Finally, if you want to step up as an ally to bi people this Sunday: remember we exist and we are valid, remember the stereotypes and assumptions we face daily, and think of one thing you can do in your daily life to help – I will be posting bisexual visibility related content on Twitter, so be sure to follow me @CaseyBrowne4.