With Bisexual Awareness Week coming up, we wanted to touch upon a few things around the importance of this week and why we think EVERYONE should get involved in the celebration. Whether you’re bisexual, a fellow queer or an ally for the LGBTQ+ community – you’re all invited to the party… So why not show up with your Gladrags on and a bottle (or two) of your favourite poison?
This is a hypothetical party of course, unless you’ve planned one round your gaff. In which case, *cough* Where’s our invite?!
‘What is Bisexual Awareness Week?’
Bisexual Awareness Week or #BiWeek, is an extension of Celebrate Bisexuality Day. It runs from September 16th, through to September 23rd (Celebrate Bisexuality Day). Both the day and week are a time to recognise and celebrate bisexual history and the bisexual community.
And who do we have to thank for Celebrate Bisexuality Day? Three incredible bisexual rights activists: Wendy Curry, Michael Page and Gigi Raven Wilbur.
“Even one of my best friends still refers to me as ‘fake gay’”
‘Why is Celebrate Bisexuality Day Important?’
It’s just as important to celebrate Bisexuality as it is to celebrate every other aspect of the LGBTQ+ community. These days of celebration are important for informing, educating, recognising and empowering. It’s not enough that the LGBTQ+ community are (somewhat) more accepted in some countries and cultures now than they were 50 years ago. The world needs to realise that it’s none of their business who someone loves, fucks, fancies or fantasises about. You do you babe.
But, specifically celebrating Bisexuality in separation of Pride and other LGBTQ+ events came about as a response to the prejudice and marginalization of bisexual people from within the LGBTQ+ community as well as the straight community.
“I have certainly felt invisible in my sexuality, or perhaps hiding in plain sight. Both straight and queer communities don’t always feel tolerant towards us, and prejudices against bisexual people exist in both camps.”
‘What is Bi-erasure?’
Bi-erasure is the, still all too common, tendency to provide an alternative explanation for bisexuality, dismiss it or even completely deny that it exists as a legit orientation in its own right.
There’s a few persistent misconceptions of Bisexuality which form a common experience for a lot of bi people. Either the idea that someone who is bi is sex mad, is just looking to experiment, that they need to prove their Bisexuality in some way or that they simply can’t make up their mind.
Now you know what it is, trust us, you’re going to see it everywhere: in Sex & The City where Carrie says she’s not even sure that Bisexuality exists, describing it as “a layover on the way to Gaytown”, or Jessie J coming out as bisexual in 2011 and then backtracking in 2014 claiming “it was just a phase”. Even this year, when the goddess that is Lili Reinhart came out as bisexual and openly expressed her fear, having exclusively been in hetero-normative relationships, that the media would say she was “faking it”.
“I have been told I’m attention-seeking, a liar, a tourist, turned away from countless gay clubs because they won’t believe I’m into women. I have also heard a lot around bisexuals being cheaters or more likely to cheat. It resulted in me having nowhere to really find my community.”
‘Am I Bisexual?’
This is a question that only you can answer. Unfortunately, there’s not a test you can take to determine your sexuality.
Bisexuality has historically been defined as, being attracted to more than one gender. It wasn’t specified that those genders were limited to men and women. Yet, more recently, more and more people seem to be trying to apply these limitations.
There is a common misconception that bisexuals are only attracted to cisgender men and women. However, this just isn’t true. There are plenty of people who identify as bisexual, who are either: attracted to trans and nonbinary people, or, are themselves transgender or nonbinary.
Some people may ‘traditionally’ fit the definition of being attracted to more than one gender but can feel limited by the binary implications of the term ‘bisexual’, so choose a different label such as ‘fluid’ or ‘queer’ or, as in the case of Janelle Monae, ‘a free ass motherfucker’.
“Bisexuals can feel like they are hiding one half of themselves at any one moment, so be vocal and positive about whoever they’re dating, be curious about their partner whatever their gender”
‘I’m not bi, but, how can I be an ally for my bisexual Friends?’
- Don’t confuse sexual experiences with sexual orientation. Being Bi has nothing to do with how monogamous or how faithful someone is. That’s all up to the individual.
- Don’t brush it off with comments like ‘it’s just a phase’ or ‘you’re just confused’ or ‘Are you sure you’re not just a closet gay?’.
- Correct others if you hear them making comments which are dismissive of someones Bisexuality.
- Coming out can be tough so if you’re the lucky person someone chose to be open with then don’t question or ask for proof, be open-minded and listen.
“People would ask me ‘does your husband mind?’ As if being bisexual means I can’t be faithful”
‘Is Bi-visibility getting any better?’
The short answer is yes, but, we’ve still got a way to go.
In the past few years, it seems like there are more people in the public eye coming out and owning their bisexuality (Stephanie Beatriz, Gillian Anderson, Angel Haze, Miley Cyrus, Billie Joe Armstrong, Frank Ocean to name a few), and the shows or films we’re watching are starting to include more bisexual characters and storylines.
Charlize Theron’s character In Atomic Blonde is shown to have relationships with men and women, the Netflix hit My Crazy Ex-girlfriend has a whole song dedicated to tackling bi-erasure (it’s called “Gettin’ Bi” and don’t judge us for liking it), even the Disney channel have announced their first bisexual lead character ever.
Darryl Whitefeather, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
“Some might say, ‘aw you’re just gay, why don’t you just go gay all the way?’ But that’s not it, cause bi’s legit”
‘Are there any Virtual Events Happening this year?’
So glad you asked! Here’s a list of a few events and/or groups from around the world who will be hosting celebrations throughout the week of #BiWeek and Celebrate Bisexuality Day.
Birmingham Bi Vis Day Party – Social distancing so please book via the link if you’re thinking of going. 5 pm – 9 pm on Saturday 19th.
Manchester Biphoria – Social distancing pub social with quiz and ‘speed dating’ from 6 pm on Wednesday 23rd.
London Bi Meetup (Possibly Virtual) – Either online or at O Bar in Soho, check the link for details and updates. 7 pm on Thursday 24th.
Toronto Bi Arts Festival (Virtual Event) – Lots of different virtual events taking place. Check out the site for more information around the different events.
Celebrate Bisexuality Day (Virtual Event) – Not much on the Facebook event about this yet, but keep checking the event and more info might come soon.
To Bi Or Not To Bi – This association is hosting a discussion in a lively cafe in Toulouse from 7 pm on Friday 18th September.
“I feel very lucky to have had one Bisexual friend that I spent my teens and twenties comparing notes with, those chats were the only times I would be able to hear talk about the Bi experience, judgement-free in a positive light.”
Side note: The quotes within this article were very kindly shared with us by both contributors and friends of Nonchalant mag. We’d love it if you’d like to share your own experiences with us, either for yourself on behalf of a friend. Just leave a comment below or reach out to us via Email or Instagram!