Archive for September 24, 2015
Image by Shiri Eisner at bidyke.tumblr.com
More commonly called Bisexuality Visibility Day or Celebrate Bisexuality Day, September 23 and the week of September 20-26th is a time to recognize and affirm multi-gender attracted identities- bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, polysexual, pan/biromantic asexual & demisexual, queer, fluid and so forth, and issues facing multi-gender attracted people.
Often-times our identities are erased and ignored, and people make assumptions about us based on who our current partner(s) happen to be. Misunderstanding in both broader heteronormative society and the gay and lesbian communities can lead to more isolation for bisexuals.
Statistics about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people (or sometimes just GLB) have typically been lumped together, making it difficult to understand differences among these distinct groups. Wait, hold on. Statistics? Demographics? That’s boring, that’s not sexy, Mariah! Post a bi flag with a sparkly unicorn and talk about how awesome it is to be bi! Yes, I know statistics may seem boring and irrelevant to you personally, but here’s why they matter. They give us information about what bisexuals are experiencing, and the data we are starting to gather is showing us many serious health and economic disparities, even in comparison with gays and lesbians. (Trans people, who come in all orientations have it even worse) And in spite of this, bisexuals make up more than half of the GLB demographic, but specifically bisexual organizations and programs receive very little funding, and gay and lesbian led organizations that may include a “B” in their acronym, still may not understand how to serve and truly include the B.
Bisexuals this, bisexuals that. What about pansexuals? Yes, pansexuals and people who identify with other labels (or none at all) and attracted to more than one gender are included in these numbers. Or maybe they aren’t, it depends on how the questions in surveys are worded.
I have to say, that it still surprises me when I look at polls and see how many people don’t understand bisexuality. I came out when I was 16, 17 years ago, and have been fortunate enough to usually be around people to whom, I could at least educate about bisexuality, and at best reply to me “Well of course that’s a thing! I’m bi too, or my partner/friend/co-worker is bi”. I think we really need to expand awareness in broader heteronormative society- by heteronormative I mean, places and contexts in which people will generally assume everyone is heterosexual until proven otherwise. I feel that’s a much more accurate description than “straight community”.
Why are you so hung up on labels? Why can’t we just be people? I really wish the world was as open-minded as you, or as you believe it to be! Yes, ultimately we would like to live in a world in which we only really need orientation labels/identities when trying to indicate what sort of partner we are interested in. I think that is already happening with the younger generation, many of them just date or have sex with people, without being concerned about how the gender of their partners reflects on their identity! Many of them feel very accepted and affirmed in this, but some of them don’t- and that’s the problem. Bi/Pan/Queer youth suicide is a big issue, one we can’t tackle alone in GLBT communities- most parents are outside of our communities, and we need to communicate with parents, their schools, educators and bi/pan friendly therapists and make sure all these supports are in place everywhere- not just in big cities, and even in big cities we still lose our youth.
More to read!
Bisexual community has unique needs, starting with more and better data– commentary by BOP’s very own Camille Holhaus!