By Jenny Crocker, Care and Support Service Manager and Co-Chair of Spectrum
Since 1999, September 23 has been a day to recognise and celebrate bisexuality, bisexual history, community and culture.
But why do we need Bi Visibility Day?
Research shows that bisexuals are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, domestic violence and homelessness that straight, lesbian or gay peoples.
The Bisexuality Report (2012) found that attitudes toward bisexual people are more negative than those toward lesbian or gay people. And 66% of bisexual respondents only feel ‘a little’ or ‘not at all’ part of a LGBT community.
Many said that biphobia and bi-erasure within their LGBT communities limited their full inclusion. And 69% of respondents only feel ‘a little’ or ‘not at all’ part of a straight community.
Some stated that they are misread as straight and therefore are assumed to be part of a straight community. This leads to the process I have had to go through myself, of coming out on an almost weekly basis due to people’s assumptions. It’s not so much coming out of the closet as installing a revolving door!
With few visible role models and a lack of representation in the media, the issues bisexuals face have often faded into the background. The representation that does exist tends to reinforce those negative assumptions, with characters rarely being openly bisexual rather changing between straight and gay – Samantha from Sex in the City – or ‘finally’ settling on one or the other – Alice in the L Word – and bisexuality, either explicit or implicit, often being shown as going hand in hand with moral flexibility and promiscuity.
I once had an ex-girlfriend, early in the relationship, assume I was a lesbian and tell me she would never go out with a bisexual because you never knew where you stood with them and they would invariably cheat on you.
Luckily awareness and support continues to grow as we work to address this. So let’s give bi visibility a great kick-start.
There are many ways you can help spread the word on Bi Visibility Day. Thunderclap is launching a Big Bi Tweet here, you can find out what is going on in your local area on http://www.bivisibilityday.com/ and Biphoria has produced a great guide to coming out as bi here.