Bisexual visibility continues to rise, with prominent celebrities coming out to help pave the way for greater acceptance. Andrew Macdougall explains.
Whenever I think of bisexual visibility a certain film made famous by actor Bill Murray is a perfect description of bisexual life. We all feel like character Phil Connors, constantly repeating yourself and declaring your sexuality. It’s a never ending struggle as bi people continue to fight for visibility, often draining but always important.
As September arrives and marks another year of Bisexual Visibility Month, it’s important to look back at what we have achieved as a community and the steps taken.
Taylor Bennett is an out bisexual male, brother to Chance the Rapper, and rising hip hop star from Chicago, Illinois. Bennett announced his bisexuality via Twitter earlier this year. Bennett’s latest music venture is a musical shift into issues that Taylor acknowledges are necessary for the bisexual and black community, even though it introduces himself to backlash.
“There are lot of black people that never got the opportunity like me to come out… I want them to be comfortable… I want y’all kids to feel comfortable, you can hate on me, but I going to put this out, when your kid is in school I want them to be whoever they want to be” Bennett told The Breakfast Club .
What’s important here is that we are now seeing visibility for the bisexual community from diverse individuals, who are in high celebrity positions creating much greater awareness for bisexuals and an extension to LGBTQ youth.
Looking at why young bisexuals are not coming out, we find a lack of role models, biphobia and bi-erasure as the major factors. For men, a lack of visible role models is a big driver in staying in the closet.
“There are lot of black people that never got the opportunity like me to come out… I want them to be comfortable…I want y’all kids to feel comfortable, you can hate on me, but I going to put this out, when your kid is in school I want them to be whoever they want to be”
Biphobia comes in many forms, it can be blatant or subtle, and often in ways that the person contributing to the phobia isn’t aware they are doing it themselves. This is how engrained discrimination towards bisexuals is set into society, it’s a daily occurrence even though it might not be as visible to those not affected.
Statistics into bisexuality and the effects that biphobia and bierasure has to each bi person are the same in each country a study is undertaken. Recently in Australia Triple J surveyed 11,000 people between ages 18-29, of the people surveyed only 40% of male and 48% of female bisexuals are out of the closet. When compared to gay (83%) and lesbian (86%), the results are quite alarming, but not dissimilar to the rest of the world.
In countries such as Canada, violence rates against bisexuals are double that of gay and lesbians, and four times that of heterosexual people. With these statistics matched up globally, do not lose sight on how much visibility means to create greater acceptance.
Recently we have seen a shift in the growing number of male bisexuals in public roles becoming visible and announcing their sexuality. The visibility is now starting to surface in areas of our community that is often strongly against homosexuality or same-sex attraction, such as the hip hop scene which only enhances the importance of Taylor Bennett being openly visible.
Triple J surveyed 11,000 people between ages 18-29, of the people surveyed only 40% of male and 48% of female bisexuals are out of the closet. When compared to gay (83%) and lesbian (86%), the results are quite alarming
We now see celebrity bisexuals who are starting to change the stigma and opinion on what being bisexual is, which is often thought as an overly sexual person who wants to sleep with everyone, is confused and for men secretly gay.
“I’m an outstanding Afro-American bisexual havin’ shit” is a line from Taylor Bennett’s latest music release, Be Yourself. It’s simple, to the point, but very powerful in its use where even the word bisexual being used is something that the bi community is searching for.
Community groups and organisations are growing, safe spaces are becoming more accessible, each layer of visibility continues to build these bisexual hubs. For all the struggles the bisexual community faces, great strides are being made. And September is the time to celebrate everything the bi community has achieved.
Visibility is the first step in eradicating the statistics that hinder the entire community. It’s a voice that gives those who don’t have one a way out, it gives bisexuals a point of reference to find a space that they can finally feel like they belong. Taylor Bennett’s visibility and voice is not just speaking for himself, it’s the spark that will create a wildfire.
There are too many Phil Connors in the world, thankfully Groundhog Day is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Follow Andrew on Twitter (@AndrewMacWrites)