Bisexual Visibility Day
September 21, 2018
September 23 is Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day and Bisexual Pride Day. Bisexuality is the romantic and sexual attraction to both men and women. (This is different from pansexuality, which is attraction to others regardless of gender identity). Activists Wendy Curry, Michael Page and Gigi Raven Wilbur started Bi Visibility Day in 1999 because they wanted to educate people about bisexuality and encourage respect, acceptance, visibility and awareness of bisexual people. They also wanted to shed light on biphobia and bisexual erasure (when the existence of bisexuality is questioned or denied). When I talked about this day with my friends, some of them said they didn’t even know bisexuality existed until recently. This is why Bi Visibility Day is so important; it shows us that there are sexual orientations beyond gay and heterosexual. It validates people who identify as bisexual and reinforces an acceptance of who they are.
Many people deny the existence of bisexuality. However, acknowledgment of bisexual people and knowledge about bisexuality has grown through social media and the internet. Celebrities such as Kristen Stewart, Alan Cumming and Kesha have come out as bisexual and helped to shed more light on this sexual orientation. Also, TV and film have done better recently at including bisexual characters, which allows bisexual viewers to see people similar to themselves and feel more accepted.
There is still stigma that sometimes prevents bisexual people from genuinely being accepted. Biphobia from others can lead to “internalized biphobia”—self-hatred, fear or disbelief about how you identify, which can take a big toll on anyone figuring out their sexual orientation. They may feel the need to “pick a side” (heterosexual or gay) or convince themselves that being bisexual is “a phase.” It’s essential that people who are questioning their sexual orientation not feel forced to fit a label that does not wholly define them!
The push to end biphobia continues, which is why Bi Visibility Day is so important. It provides bisexual people of any age, status, race, gender, etc. with a group of people who support them and a day to be proud of who they are. So on September 23—and every other day of the year—educate yourself on bisexuality to create more acceptance and understanding. Happy 19th annual Bi Visibility Day!