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Erasing Bisexual Invisibility

Erasing Bisexual Invisibility

September 23rd is Celebrate Bisexuality Day or Bi Visibility Day. The event, which was started in 1999, is an opportunity to combat myths about bisexuality and help people find the bisexual community.

Bisexual Invisibility

While bisexuality is included as the B within the LGBT acronym, people in the bisexual community often feel that their sexual orientation is misunderstood. A lot of people believe that sexuality is binary and that people are either attracted to people of the same gender or people of the opposite gender. However, bisexual people are attracted to people of the same gender and of the opposite gender.

Bisexual invisibility is a result of many of the misconceptions about bisexuality, including:

  • Doubt about the existence of bisexuality
  • Bisexuality being seen as confusion or just a phase by people who haven’t yet figured out their true sexual orientation
  • Famous bisexual people in history being assumed to be lesbian or gay, rather than recognizing their bisexuality

Even within LGBT communities, some organizations do not truly support the bisexual community and their materials, events and support are all geared towards people in or seeking same-sex relationships.

Biphobia

People in the bisexual community often face discrimination from the straight and gay/lesbian communities. According to an essay on Biphobia by Robyn Ochs:

Bisexuals are frequently viewed by gay and lesbian-identified individuals as possessing a degree of privilege not available to gay men and lesbians, and are viewed by many heterosexuals as amoral, hedonistic spreaders of disease and disrupters of families.This “double discrimination” by heterosexuals and the gay and lesbian communities is seldom recognized or acknowledged as a force of external oppression, yet this oppression is real and has many damaging effects on bisexuals.

Bi Pride

Bi Pride is evident in the events that are planned each year for September 23rd, as well as the participation of the bisexual community in broader LGBT pride events. The Bi Social Network’s YouTube channel also includes numerous ‘I am Visible’ videos by bisexual individuals who are speaking out about their sexual orientation.

Bi Education

It is important to teach our children and other members of society that they can love anyone they want. Last year, on Bi Visibility Day, I wrote about what we teach our children about love:

When I talk to my kids about love, as in romantic love, we talk about sweethearts. Not boyfriends or girlfriends. Not husbands or wives.† I donít want to teach them that heterosexuality is the default. I donít want to teach them that marriage is the default either. When I talk about their future, I talk about the possibility of them having a sweetheart, who could be a man or a woman. I want them to know that they can love women or men or women and men. I want to teach them that before society teaches them something else. I want to teach them that long before they are at the stage of feeling romantic love and perhaps feeling that their love is wrong or misplaced if they love people of the same gender or if they love people of both genders.

Ensuring that our children understand the options that are available to them and the options that are available to others is critical to building a society that accepts and values diversity.

Bi Visibility

Is your community doing something to celebrate bi visibility this September 23? Are you doing something to celebrate bi visibility in your own life?

Related Stories

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Anna Paquin on Bisexuality and Prejudice

Prop. 8 Case Summaries: Defense Argue Bisexuals Constitute Potential Harm to Marriage

 

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Photo credit: nerdcoregirl on flickr

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64 comments

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12:30PM PDT on May 22, 2012

Hopefully someday bisexual/polygamist marriage will be legalized.

6:38AM PDT on May 20, 2012

I still don't understand the idea of bisexuality being an excuse to be promiscuous! Who I am attracted to doesn't dictate how many people I will sleep with! Promiscuity depends on the individual, not the sexual orientation. Why would being bisexual go against monogamy? If you're straight, you can be attracted to other people while being in a monogamous relationship. That doesn't mean you will cheat. Same goes for bisexuals.

12:05PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Hey Cit - it's not that I'm disagreeing with you, but call it anything you want - I call it an excuse to be promiscuous. NOT THAT THAT'S A BAD THING, necessarily.
I'm just saying to be honest with one's self.
And boy do I have the t-shirts to prove it, LOL!

2:13PM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

surely people shouldn't have to announce their sexuality to feel whole and accepted in society. My sexuality is none of anyone else's business and i certainly don't feel the need to shout it from the roof-tops. I don't understand why people feel the need to share what is so private and only relevant to themselves and their sexual partners.

9:00AM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

Many of the preceding critical comments reflect an implicit and deeply rooted belief that monogamy is the only viable and permissible way for people to develop and maintain ~intimate and sustainable~ sexual-love relationships. Many bisexuals (about 50% of those I’ve met), however, feel a strong need to be exchanging ~love and~ sexual pleasure with members of both genders, in order to be fully “true to themselves”. By analogy, ~some~ heterosexual, gay, and lesbian people also feel that they are being most “true to themselves” when they have the option to share their love and sexuality with several different partners in parallel, time-shared relationships

Most people following this path come to it through a conscientious process. of “soul-searching” and :”learning who they really are”. And most of them end-up seeking friendships / relationships that blend emotional intimacy, mutual support-and-caring,
and potential for sustainability ALONG WITH sexual interest. Aren’t these the same pillars-of-connection that monogamous people seek when they court and chose mates??

Since the late 1970s, a small but growing subculture, along with a set of related practices, has grown up around this belief-system and now bears the label “Polyamory”. This word ~IS NOT MEANT TO BE~ any kind of cover label” for the chaotic, whim-driven pursuit of promiscuous sexual activity that lacks emotional connection., or for people wh

12:12PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

Christian and Don? You guys need to chill the F out! You read way more into his comment than there was. I could be considered Bi for my behaviors and emotions and for the most part, I totally agree with TOM.
His first paragraph was cute, but meant little more than as an exercise to hear himself wax cleverly. You took him literally, which I believe was a mistake. I agree, though a little too cute for Tommy's own good. As for the rest? He uses the term "Hedonism" while I simply insert the word "Kinky". And I'll tell you why
. It has to do with being honest to one's self. I'm not saying you can't love both genders, but in your heart of hearts, when you close your eyes and picture your ideal love, you generally don't picture a hermaphrodite. (Oh great, now they'll be all over my sh*t, LOL!)
You picture one or the other and that's your true sexual identity. Saying you are Bi is a cop-out, plain & simple. You're one or the other. Anything else is indulgence. AND I'm NOT saying that indulgence is a bad thing, quite the contrary if you're so-minded. But just be honest with yourself. Saying one is Bi is just making excuses. Just be Kinky and enjoy yourself!
I get defensive only because my gay friends, & there are MANY, all talked about the first time they knew. That's how basic sexual identity is. It starts when you're a toddler. Bi is a decision you cognizantly make when you're aware of your sexuality. I believe using the term "Bi" is denigrating to

4:51AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

Tom Y.. "What it comes down to is, how can a bisexual be monogamous?"
I can tolerate, and disapprove of most homophobic people...it goes against their morals, it goes against their religion, whatever.
But if your concern is that a bisexual can't keep it in their pants and be capable of love, that's just downright wrong and prejudiced.

People like you need to realize that humans define their sexuality, sexuality does not define what is human.

Bis are people too, and people are capable of love and loyalty.

4:37AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

Tom Y.. "What it comes down to is, how can a bisexual be monogamous?"
I can tolerate, and disapprove of most homophobic people...it goes against their morals, it goes against their religion, whatever.
But if your concern is that a bisexual can't keep it in their pants and be capable of love, that's just downright wrong and prejudiced.

People like you need to realize that humans define their sexuality, sexuality does not define what is human.

Bis are people too, and people are capable of love and loyalty.

7:35PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Tom Y. ,
If you want to fight against losing some of the 7 billion people on the earth, and you truly care about society, then I suggest that you consider spending your energies trying to stop war and disease, and yes even violence against bisexuals.
Do something positive with your life.

Bisexuals are distinct from lesbians and gays because they don't fit into either category.
The ones that I know are not "hedonistic", they're regular people who have normal, boring lives and just happen to be attracted to whatever degree to both male and female.
Why does that bother you so much? Why are you filled with so much fear?

7:35PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Tom Y. ,
If you want to fight against losing some of the 7 billion people on the earth, and you truly care about society, then I suggest that you consider spending your energies trying to stop war and disease, and yes even violence against bisexuals.
Do something positive with your life.

Bisexuals are distinct from lesbians and gays because they don't fit into either category.
The ones that I know are not "hedonistic", they're regular people who have normal, boring lives and just happen to be attracted to whatever degree to both male and female.
Why does that bother you so much? Why are you filled with so much fear?

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