For Bisexual Visibility Day, Lois Shearing explores that ways that non-bisexual people can celebrate and be better allies to the bi+ community.
Today is Bisexual Visibility Day, a day dedicated to highlighting the issues faced by the bi+ community, but also celebrating our diversity and resilience.
Maybe you’ve seen a few people posting about it and wondered how it affects you. Whether you know it or not, you have bisexual friends, colleagues and family members. Probably a few.
So what can you, a non-bisexual (also known as monosexual) do to observe Bi Visibility Day and support your bi loved ones?
1. Listen to your bisexual friends
Approach the open bisexuals in your life and ask if they’d like to talk about their sexuality. What does being bisexual mean to them? You’ll be surprised by how few places your bi friends have to be open and express their whole bi identity. Make sure they know you’re looking to support them and give them space rather than use them as a learning tool. Listen to how their bisexuality intersects with other axes of oppression. POC and trans bisexuals suffer some of the highest rates of mental ill-health, violence, and sexual assault. Give them a space to discuss this and vent if they need to.
2. Read about Bisexuality
Take some time to educate yourself on bisexual issues. This will help you be a better ally to your bisexual loved ones, without needing to ask for emotional labour from them. There are loads of resources out there to help you get an idea of what it means to be bisexual. The Queerness is a good place to start, so is Biscuit mag, Bis of Colour, and Bi.org. Read up on how to best support your bi loved ones and how you can help them fight the biphobia that impacts their lives.
3. Consider donating to a bisexual org
Bisexual orgs are woefully underfunded. Despite making up a large part of the rainbow community (some studies suggest over half of the LGBTQ+ community are bi), bisexual charities and groups receive no government LGBTQ+ funding. All the amazing work done to support bisexuals who have been sexually abused, are dealing with mental illness or addiction, or are living in poverty (bisexuals have higher rates in all these issues compared to gay or straight people) is done by volunteers in grassroots organisations.
4. Critically reflect on your views about bisexuality
In the same way we all grew up in a world that is racist, sexist, cis-hetronormative, we also grew up in a society that teaches us you can only be monosexual (and you had better only be attracted to the “opposite sex”). Spend some time thinking about how you really view bisexuality; do you still have the lingering feeling that it’s an immature or a transitional identity, and that all bisexuals will eventually ‘pick a side’? Do you see bi people as less queer than gay people? Do you have a lingering feeling that bi women are tainted by men and aren’t worthy partners? Be honest with yourself about your views and then ask what you can do to challenge them (hint; see 1 and 2).
5. Reassure and validate your bi loved one
This is particularly important if your partner is bi. Take sometime today to remind them that you don’t just tolerate their bi-ness, you actively embrace and celebrate it. All bi people still struggle with the idea that they are ‘not enough’, particularly not queer enough. Reassure your bi loved on that you see their bi-ness as whole and valid. Work to help change the narrative away from ‘bi people need to prove their sexuality’.
Make your bi loved on pancakes!
It’s a well known fact that bis love pancakes!
Happy Bisexual Visibility Day!
You can follow Lois on Twitter (@LoisShearing)