Take some time to reflect on Bi-Visibility Day

This month, on September 23, we celebrate Bi-Visibility Day: A day to admire those in the bisexual community, as well as bring attention to the hardships bisexual people have both faced and overcome throughout history and today.

This day has been celebrated since 1999, and is growing in importance as the LGBTQ+ community grows.  It also marks the start of Bisexual Awareness Week.

Biphobia can put those hurt by it under a lot of stress and anxiety. Bisexuality’s validity is always in question by both the non-queer community as well as the LGBTQ+ community, which can be hard to manage mentally.  This can make bisexuals feel alienated by all of their peers, leaving them possibly more stressed-filled and anxiety-ridden.

It’s not for attention; it’s not a phase, and it’s most certainly not because we “just like sex.”  Here are some reasons why Bi-Visibility Day is important:

Bi Erasure. This is bisexuality being ignored in the media, history, and mostly society. This is probably the biggest challenge the bi community faces, and is at the root of almost every other issue there as well.

Continuously “Coming Out.”Every time a bi person changes their relationship status, someone is there to check them, wondering if the “phase” is over­­—if they’re “back to being straight.”  Just because a bi person is in a heteronormative relationship, doesn’t mean they’re any less gay.

Another problem that I personally have faced is that I’m “too pretty to be gay” or “you don’t look gay.”  Many in the gay community, especially femme women and masculine men, are often mistaken for straight just by their appearance, so constantly having to come out becomes a normal everyday hassle, especially if they are in a heteronormative relationship.

Alienation. This is a big one. Most bisexuals are pretty used to taking discrimination from the non-queer community, but coming from the same people that have also faced judgement just for being who they are, is astonishing.

There are many in the gay community who don’t acknowledge or accept bisexuality as a part of their world.  They view bisexuality as a “stepping stone” to coming out as gay or lesbian.  There are some instances where this is true, and that’s just fine, but most bisexuals are comfortable being bisexual, and don’t plan on changing their mind.

Dating is another battle.  Some people in the LGBTQ+ community steer clear of dating a bisexual, because they don’t want to be an experiment.  Dating for me was hard when I first came out.  Women were worried about me not taking the relationship seriously (mostly because I’d never dated a woman before,) and men immediately turned to the classic “wanna have a three-way?” line.  While some people are just experimenting, and others are down for a three-way, this isn’t true in every case.

It can be extremely frustrating not being given a chance because of a few people who ruin it for the rest of us.  The LGBTQ+ community is supposed to be a safe space for EVERYONE involved. Although most people are very welcoming and non-judgmental, it does still happen.

Validation.  This one, for me personally, is something I struggle with the most.  Being a bisexual woman in a heteronormative relationship is tough sometimes.  Although I am very comfortable in my relationship and in my sexuality, it doesn’t take much to make me feel less than my peers in the community.  It can be easy to feel invalid in the community if you’re not in a same-sex relationship.  Taking my boyfriend to Pride wasn’t something I felt comfortable with; I didn’t want to be judged, or feel invalid.

As I said earlier, being in a heteronormative relationship doesn’t make a person “more straight.”   That’s like saying straight single people are less straight than straight people in a relationship.  Bisexual people are always going to be 100% bisexual—no matter what relationship they’re in.  Bisexuality works on a spectrum; you don’t have to be on either one half, or the other.

Biphobia is something that needs to be erased, and that is why Bi-Visibility is so important!  We should be supporting one another, making everyone feel welcome. I want to make it abundantly clear to anybody reading this who is, or might be bisexual, that YOU ARE VALID.  The B in LGBTQ+ means something—no matter the relationship you’re in, the way you dress, or the pronouns you feel comfortable with.  You are a valid human being, and a valid bisexual.

If anybody reading this is feeling alone, confused, or wants to branch out into the LGBTQ+ community, DMACC has a Rainbow Alliance meeting every Friday at 12:15 in Building 2, Room 19. Feel free to email me at trthomas2@dmacc.edu, or contact our wonderful advisor at  kpchristiansen@dmacc.edu if you have any questions.  Another resource is Fenway Health, a LGBT helpline and peer-listening line if you’re not quite ready to be out publicly.  The Toll-Free number is 800.399.PEER or visit fenwayhealth.org for more information.

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