It’s 2019 and unfortunately society is still confused about bisexuals. The very concept of bisexuality seems pretty simple: being attracted to both males and females, right?
However, bisexual people often feel misunderstood and even rejected. They can tend to feel like misfits because gay people have been known to label them as “too straight” to be gay and straight people can label them “too gay” to be straight. These leaves them permanently stuck in a phobia rich paradox which can make things like finding a partner challenging.
Bisexual’s realised that they had to do something to raise awareness and make themselves more visible and acknowledged. Bi Visibility Day also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, has been celebrated since 1999 in many countries. Each year the list of the countries expands with the ultimate goal of spreading worldwide awareness and fighting biphobia.
Australia was one of the first countries to recognise the importance and impact of such an event. Bi Visibility Day is traditionally marked on September 23, but dates may vary from country to country and from city to city. This year, four cities hosted events across Australia.
On September 9 the first event took place in Melbourne, followed by Perth, Sydney and Melbourne (Day 1 of the weekend long event) on September 22. One day later Canberra and Melbourne (again for Day 2) participated. This years’ Bi Visibility Day ended on September 27 in Sydney for a second event with a jaw-dropping show in The Red Rattler Theatre.
These events included visual and performing arts, food, drinks, markets, friendly chatting, supporting each other and exchanging thoughts and ideas. Apart from these fun and engaging activities, some serious topics were also addressed in a panel discussion. The topics included mental health, loss, chronic illness, suicide and domestic violence. It’s vital to speak up about the struggles of bisexual people because awareness is the first step to resolving the problem.
International Celebrate Bisexuality Day is incredibly important as bisexual people are often faced with social marginalisation, oppression, and discrimination. These issues need to be resolved and bisexual people need a safe space where they can feel accepted. Straight people are usually blissfully unaware of the everyday problems of people from the LGBTQI+ community. If these problems don’t affect them directly, they will go unnoticed. But once they get familiar with them they will feel more connected and become more accepting and empathetic. Proper education is the key.
To make the matter worse, even some people within the very lesbian and gay community discriminate against bi people. A 2016 study conducted by Roffee and Waling shows that bisexual people often face bullying and microaggression from people within the lesbian and gay community. They are often labeled as – “indecisive” and “confused” since they don’t conform to binary sexuality.
It’s no wonder bisexual people sometimes feel invalidated and insecure. Being unacknowledged and rejected takes a big toll on people’s self-worth and self-confidence. This can lead to an increased risk of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
Bisexual people matter and their voices need to be heard. We as a society must become aware of their problems, break the stigma and give them a helping hand and warm acceptance. One day per year is not enough, but it’s a good start. We should practice continuous education and point out all the important issues which we must tackle, united, as a community.
Nobody deserves to be shunned or rejected because of their sexuality. Instead of fighting, we should embrace and appreciate our differences. Luckily, people are becoming more and more aware of bisexual people and their needs and more and more countries are marking Bi Visibility Day. The reach is amazing and according to public reactions, which are increasingly positive, we can be optimistic about the future.