Happy Bi Visibility Day!
Bi Visibility Day has been held on 23 February each year since 1999, when it was known as “International Celebrate Bisexuality Day”, created by three bi activists from the USA: Wendy Curry, Michael Page, who also created the bisexual flag, and Gigi Raven Wilbur. Variously known as Bi Pride Day, Bi Day and Celebrate Bisexuality Day, the term Bi Visibility Day was coined by Jen Yockney in the UK before spreading across Europe and then the rest of the world. It is now celebrated in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Bi Visibility Day celebrates the existence and progress made advancing the rights and needs of bisexual or “bi” people. Bi people are romantically and sexually attracted to more than one gender presentation. Originally the term was used to refer to people who were sexually attracted to both men and women but it has become increasingly obvious in recent years that the arbitrary assignment of people into two genders is a crude and oppressive simplification of the rich diversity of human gender diversity. Approximately 1.7% of babies are born with both male and female anatomical traits and are, often arbitrarily, surgically assigned a gender, at least in part to allow them to comply with the social model of binary gender. In a world where gender identity does not necessarily align with anatomical gender, where many people do not identify strongly or exclusively with any gender, where gender identity may be fluid and change over time, understanding sexual orientations has become more complex.
Why being bi is often not easy
Bi people suffer higher levels of discrimination even than homosexuals, with 55% of bi people concealing their sexual identity at work, compared to only 8% of gay men and 6% of lesbians. Bisexuality is often confused with polyamory and promiscuity, being the sexual orientation most associated with loose living, at least in the US, to the point that organisations exist to promote the concept that ethical and monogamous bisexuals exist. Slurs, that bi people are ‘confused’ or somehow ‘greedy’ for being attracted to more than one gender presentation are sadly all too common. Often misidentified as either heterosexual or homosexual based on the presenting gender of their current partner, many bi people accept this misidentification in order to ‘fit in’ and avoid conflict, which ultimately fails to satisfy their need to be recognised.
Bi people also find their voices drowned out and the unique challenges they face lost among the discussions on LGBTQ+ forums, the evidence suggesting that bi people only really benefit from social networks where they can connect easily with other bi people and share experiences without interference.