More Bi-Visible Than Ever?
Publish Date: 23/09/2013
Monday 23rd September is the 15th Bi Visibility Day, with bisexuals and allies organising events around the world and awareness-raising online.
"In the 90s when most lesbian and gay organisations moved from ‘LG’ to ‘LGBT’, there was an awareness that trans - being about gender rather than sexuality - was a new area of work. Often there was less work to address bisexuality as distinct from homosexuality." says Jen Yockney, chair of BiPhoria – the UK’s longest-running bisexual social & support group. "But last year's Bisexuality Report helped crystallise how and why it is different for bis, for campaigners and policy-makers""
Two key challenges for bis are biphobia and invisibility, and September 23rd gives an opportunity to challenge the one through breaking down the other. Biphobia is a complex issue, says Jen: "It comes in many flavours - that which is analagous to homophobia and heterophobia, with added suggestion of deception and indecisiveness. But there is also biphobia from how organisations and society is structured, that silences and erases bi experience. And the internalised biphobia that makes us not want to own the ‘b word’ as a label, due to the negative connotations ofbisexuality that we have absorbed from the culture around us."
Biphobia takes its toll: research shows bis are significantly less likely to feel they can be ‘out’ at work than lesbians and gay men, and facehigher incidence of mental health issues too, perhaps linked to the pressure to be ‘one thing or the other’.
Bi meetups and events like BiPhoria, BiCon and Birmingham’s upcoming BiFest give a rare breathing space from that pressure.
In Manchester there is a celebrate bisexuality event organised by BiPhoria at The LGF on Sunday 22nd from 2pm-5pm and a bi quiz downstairs at Taurus from 6pm.
On Monday 23rd the Co-Op have a grand reception in the evening at their national HQ, with speakers from Bi Community News magazine, the BiUK research group, and LGF.
Meanwhile LGF has a film screening on Wednesday 25th.