It’s Bi Visibility Day and there are shocking reasons why it’s more important than ever

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  • With biphobia impacting many bisexuals' mental health, Bi Visibility Day is shining a spotlight on the harmful effects of discrimination

    How is it that bisexuality still gets a bad rap? All too often labelled ‘greedy’ or facing daily assumptions about whether bisexuals prefer men or women, almost half of bi men and a quarter of bi women confess to feeling they can’t be open about their sexual orientation to friends and family.

    Whether it’s through the lens of negative stereotypes or the lack of belief that bi people even exist, a huge proportion continue to face the harmful effects of biphobia. A recent report by Stonewall indicates 72% of bi women and 56% of bi men have battled anxiety over the last 12 months.

    ‘Bi people are often forgotten in the LGBT acronym, and our experiences assumed to be the same as lesbian and gay people’, said Irene Lorenzo, Digital Engagement Lead at Stonewall. ‘Bi identities are frequently erased, or dismissed as something that doesn’t exist, by people both inside and outside the LGBT community. And biphobia can take many forms, including offensive myths, stereotyping and bi invisibility.’

    ‘The challenges bi people face can have a huge impact on our lives and mean we may feel unable to be ourselves, even among close family and friends. Stonewall research shows that only one in five bi people (20 per cent) are out to all their family compared to three in five gay men and lesbians (63 per cent). This is likely to be worse for bi people with other marginalised identities, like bi people of colour and bi people of faith.’

    On top of this, adequate representation on screen has still a long way to go. Despite UCLA’s Williams Institute reporting bisexuals make up 52% of the LGBTQ+ community within the States, bisexual characters make up only 26% of the LGBTQ+ characters on prime time TV.

    That’s why Bi Visibility Day is vital. Launched twenty one years ago, every September 23, Bi Visibility is an annual celebration of bisexuality aiming to highlight negative misconceptions fuelling biphobia. By dispelling damaging stereotypes and having more open conversations, Bi Visibility Day is all about creating safer spaces and ending discrimination. 

    ‘We can all help support bi people by learning more about the experiences and challenges they face, and by tackling biphobia’, Lorenzo stated. ‘There’s still so much to do to ensure that all bi people are accepted without exception both within and outside of the LGTB community.’

    Bi Visibility Day: how to get involved

    We can’t join together IRL this year but there’s still a lot going on online this September 23.

    1. Bi Visibility Day with Bi History

    Join the Glasgow Zine library as it hosts Mel Reeve, founder of the Bi History project, to give a talk about the history of the bisexual community and the role of bisexual activism. 

    Time: 6pm – 7pm

    Grab your ticket here

    2. Celebrate Bisexuality Day

    This discussion on being Bi and Muslim, hosted by a panel of volunteers from Hidayah, is set to explore issues of discrimination and the importance of visibility. 

    Time: 7pm – 8pm

    Grab your ticket here

    3. The Online Bi Pride Quiz

    Put your Bi pride knowledge to the test by tuning into HouseProud’s Bi Pride quiz, for a fun and competitive way to meet other members of the Bi and Pansexual community. 

    Time: 5.30pm – 7pm

    Grab your ticket here

    4. Battle of the Bis: Bi Representation in Pop Culture

    To combat the grim lack of representation of bisexuals in popular media, the LGBT foundation are hosting the tournament ‘Battle of the Bis’, to discuss the most iconic bi characters in film and television. 

    Time: 7pm – 8.30pm

    Grab your ticket here

    5. Bi Visibility Day 2020: Bi Basics

    Bisexual activist Jen Yockney, who received an MBE in 2016 for Services To The Bisexual Community, will be hosting an online talk about bisexual life – open to anyone who is Bi or simply wants to learn a bit more.

    Time: 2pm – 3pm

    Grab your ticket here

    * Another fantastic way to get involved with Bi Visibility Day is by supporting LGBTQ+ mental health charities, such as MindOut and Stonewall, both are working flat out to create a safe space from biphobia. 

    Words by Maya Coomarasamy

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