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?

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Photo credit: nerdcoregirl on flickr

69 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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T.L. H.
T.L. H5 years ago

Hopefully someday bisexual/polygamist marriage will be legalized.

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Samantha Hodder
Samantha Hodder5 years ago

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.

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Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W6 years ago

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!

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Karen A.
Karen A.6 years ago

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.

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Citizen G-Karl
Karl Heinemann6 years ago

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

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