Bi-Visibility Day

Posted 23 September 2020
Bi-visibility day is a day to celebrate the history and stories of bisexual people. 

Written by Evie, President of Inclusivity and Diversity.

 

Today, 23rd September is bi-visibility day!

Bi-visibility day is a day to celebrate the history and stories of bisexual people.  The aim of the day is to create a safe space for bisexuals, so they know we are not alone, and we are valid.

 

What is bisexuality?

Bisexuality is being romantically and/or sexually attracted to two or more genders.

What it isn’t:

  • Bisexuality is NOT necessarily a 50/50% split in attraction between two genders.
  • Even though this attraction can change, or fluctuate, it is NOT a phase.
  • Bisexuality is NOT defined by who you have been in relationships with or had sexual experiences with.
  • Bisexuals are NOT ‘greedy’ or more likely to cheat on their partner.

 

Why is bi-visibility day important?

  • Of all the common sexual identity groups, bisexual people most frequently have mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and self-harm. More info here.
  • Research also shows that bisexual people are less ‘out’ to friends and family than other sexualities. More info here.

Bi-visibility day is a chance for bisexuals to celebrate their identity, and a chance to have conversations about these issues that impact them.

 

Why is this?

People who are bisexual can often feel as if their sexuality is dismissed or denied. We can feel that if we are in a relationship with someone of the same gender we are seen by others as ‘gay/lesbian’ and seen as simply ‘straight’ if we are in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender.

Bisexuals can often feel as if we are invisible, and don’t fit into the LGBT+ community, but equally don’t fit into a heteronormative society that is focused on being straight and cisgender.

In the media, and society at large, bisexuality can be erased. Characters in TV programmes and films are often described as turning ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’ if they leave a relationship with the opposite gender to a relationship with someone of the same gender. Or if not erased, bisexual characters can be presented as more ‘greedy’, fickle, and more likely to cheat.

These reasons could contribute to why bisexuals tend to experience poorer mental health in comparison to our lesbian, gay and straight peers.

Having a bi-visibility day is an opportunity for bisexuals to embrace our sexuality, and not be defined by the person that we are in a relationship with. It is a day where bisexuals can promote our identity as a valid member of the LGBT+ community, even if we are in relationships that people think are ‘straight’ from the outside. Here is some more info on why this might be.

 

What can I do to be a good ally?

  • Listen to bisexual people when they talk about their experiences. Don’t tell us ‘we have it easier’ because we can present as straight, or because we ‘have more choice’.
  • You can get involved in the LGBT+ mental health campaign. In the next few weeks, there will be an open forum to discuss how you feel the issues that LGBT+ students face can be better understood by our mental health services.
  • You can support Beth, our LGBT+ students’ representative on their campaigns in the future for the LGBT+ community.
  • If you are not bisexual, thank you so much for taking the time to read this. A way you can help support your bisexual peers is simple. You can take a second and not make assumptions about somebody’s sexuality based on the relationships they are in, or stereotypes.

 

Here’s some more useful info for being a good ally:

Unison’s guide on how to be a good bi ally in the workplace

The BBC’s guide on how to be a good LGBT+ ally

 

If you are LGBT+ and need support:

LGBT Switchboard

0345 3 30 30 30 (Open 10:00-22:00)

LGBT switchboard provides a listening service for information and advice run by volunteers who are LGBT themselves. Although they are not specifically a mental health organisation, they can provide advice and information on coming out, feeling isolated and other information that may impact your mental health.

 

Stonewall

Stonewall’s Information Service FREEPHONE 0800 0502020. Lines are open 9:30 - 4:30, Monday to Friday.

 

If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at [email protected].

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