An open letter to young bisexual people this Pride season

Following the incident in which no bisexual organisations were going to march in the Pride in London parade until UK Pride gave up half their slots, Lois Shearing addresses the isloation that young bi people may feel during Pride season.


Dear young bi+ people,

First off, I’m glad you got here. If you’re reading this, you either consider yourself bisexual, or pansexual, or multi-gender attracted in some way (I’ll be using bi+ for short) which means you’ve been on a huge journey of self discovery, unlearning coerced heterosexuality, and are hopefully on your way to accepting and loving yourself. Everyone who falls under the LGBT+ umbrella has been on this journey. Well done for making it.

You may have seen a lot of anger from bi+ people this pride season, because a lot of us feel that our version of the journey to self-discovery isn’t seen as valid, or as difficult, or even real by other members of the LGBT+ community.

It’s no secret that the B in LGBT+ is often a silent letter. In both the UK and US there are no government funded bisexual resources, there is still a huge social stigma around being bi within LGBT circles and bisexuals are often excluded (either covertly of overtly) from groups and media that claim to represent us.

The most recent case (and the reason I’m writing this letter to you), is that London Pride, until a few weeks, featured absolute zero bisexual groups; zero bisexual organizations, media, or even meet-ups were among the 300+ groups marching in an LGBTQ+ parade.

You may have seen a lot of anger from bi+ people this pride season, because a lot of us feel that our version of the journey to self-discovery isn’t seen as valid, or as difficult, or even real by other members of the LGBT+ community.

I don’t think this was a malicious. The Pride in London committee did not sit around in a darkened room rubbing their hands together and asking “how can we make those pesky bis feel left out this time?” But it does speak of a wider problem of bisexuality being absent from conversations about LGBTQ+ experiences, or appearing in leadership roles in LGBTQ+ organisations.

The way Pride in London handled this failing was also less than satisfactory. Pride in London put the blame on bi+ for not applying in time, which although may be true, ignores that bi+ orgs are run entirely by volunteers who may not have the time or resources to react to events, like Pride in London bringing the closing date for the parade entry forward. They also called bisexual orgs ‘demanding’ for wanting to be included in the parade.

 

it does speak of a wider problem of bisexuality being absent from conversations about LGBT+ experiences, or appearing in leadership roles in LGBT+ organisations.

When things like this happen, and they happen a lot, some members of the lesbian and gay community ask ‘Well, why don’t bi people just make their own communities? That’s what we did!”

And the answer to that is, we’ve been trying. We’ve been trying since Stonewall, when a bi trans women threw the first brick, we’ve been trying since the first pride parade was organized by a bisexual women, we’ve been trying since before bisexual was even a term and anyone with same-gender attraction was called lesbian/gay.

Despite this, our achievements have been taken from us. Whether it’s a program claiming to be telling the story of LGBT+ activism not using the word ‘bisexual’ in 8 hours of TV (and then again, responding in a disappointing way, to say the least), or major bi icons being written off as gay or straight.

But we are making headway. There has always been a huge community of amazing bisexual activists and organizers working to create a community for each other, and for you. All of these resources are run on donations or out of the organizer’s own pocket, just to make a space for bisexuals.

Remember too that a lot of other LGT+ people you meet will want to have you in their community too. They won’t care that you’re bi. They’ll want you to come to meet ups because you’re funny, attend LGBT+ nights because you’re such a good dancer, they will listen to you and accept you because you understand what it means to be queer in a world that would prefer you weren’t.

Despite this, our achievements have been taken from us.

And above all know that you absolutely deserve to be at every LGBT+ pride. So even if there’s no bi rep, call out the organizers and then be your own. Wear some great bi t-shirts and pins. Kiss whoever you want to kiss, and don’t let anyone forget that you’re here, you’re queer, and they’d better get fucking used to it.

Lots of love,

A still young, very tired bi girl who’s seen it all.

P.S. here are some great bi community resources to get you started:

You can follow Lois on twitter, @Loisshearing

2 thoughts on “An open letter to young bisexual people this Pride season

  1. Fantastic post, thanks. I’m 50 now, & still can’t believe (sadly) the oppression I have felt within the lesbian community to ‘not be Bi’… fuck that! I’ll do what i want, whenever I want, with whomever I want. Support me in that, or get lost. May the younger bi folk have an easier path 🌈❤💪🏼❤ G

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