Bisexual+ Awareness Day - What's That?
Happy Bi+ Awareness Day!
In a few days, you might see the hashtag #BiAwarenessDay trending on Twitter and if you’ve never heard of it before, you’ll probably want to learn more. Well, never fear, our super-duper handy guide is here to answer all of your burning questions. Well, not yours exactly; I just asked my friends what questions they had. Hopefully, you have the same questions.
What does bisexual+ awareness day celebrate/commemorate?
It’s a day for bi+ people and their allies to come together and celebrate bi+ history, community, and culture, which is unique from both gay/lesbian culture and straight culture. The idea is that it will increase the visibility of bisexual+ people and celebrate their contributions to our world, thus combating bi-erasure and biphobia.
I feel like I’ve heard of it before. Does it have any other names?
Yes it does. Bisexual+ Awareness Day is also known as Bi+ Visibility Day or Celebrate Bisexuality+ Day.
Okay, but what’s with all the plus symbols? Are you making a bad math pun again?
Nope. Tbh, I sat at my desk for 15 minutes trying to think one up, but they were all far too rude to be featured on this site.
The plus symbol represents other multi-gender attraction (MGA) sexualities, like pansexual and queer-identifying people.
Awesome, so when is bisexual+ awareness day?
It’s September 23rd, which falls on a Sunday this year, so why not use the day off to celebrate in style?
I’d love to, but how would I celebrate?
Well, it’s up to you. If you are bi, pan, queer, or any other MGA identity, then you might want to use this day to come out, if you feel comfortable to do so. (Helpful resources are here.)
If you’re already out or you’re a bi+ ally, then you might want to raise awareness about discrimination against bi+ people or organize an event that celebrates the work of bi+ people (i.e. a poetry reading featuring work from bi+ people only).
I’m having some friends round for a movie marathon with bi+ actors (Evan Rachel Wood, Cynthia Nixon, Kristen Stewart) in the lead role and attempting to make bi and pan pride cocktails.
That sounds like a great day; so how did Bi+ Awareness Day start?
In 1999, three bisexual rights activists, Wendy Curry, Michael Page and Gigi Raven Wilbur, decided that in order to increase bisexual visibility, reduce marginalization, and combat biphobia (both in wider society and the LGBTQ+ community), they needed to have a day to celebrate bisexuality+.
Wilbur explained: “Ever since the Stonewall rebellion, the gay and lesbian community has grown in strength and visibility. The bisexual community also has grown in strength but in many ways we are still invisible.”
So, the trio had important reasons for wanting to create the day, but they didn’t want it to be some boring, stuffy, conference. Instead, they wanted to have a party!
They selected September 23rd for three reasons:
- Legendary Queen front man Freddie Mercury, who was also bisexual, was born in September
- It was the same week as the International Lesbian and Gay Association meeting
- It was a weekend, so they hoped more people would be able to attend an event
Okay, let me play devil’s advocate here for a second; why is Bi+ Awareness Day still important?
We still need bi+ awareness day for the same reasons that we still need Pride. Things are much better for the bi+ community than they were just 20 years ago, but there is still a long way to go until we are equal. Many of us are still battling biphobia and bi-erasure to this day.
Well, to paraphrase a meme starring Morgan Freeman, “it’s not a phobia. You’re not scared, you’re just an a**hole”. Biphobia is the name given to discrimination against bi+ people based on sexual orientation
This discrimination can range from people expressing doubts about your sexuality to people not wanting to date you because of your orientation to getting fired for coming out to being the victim of violence. What makes it worse is that sometimes this discrimination comes from inside the LGBTQ+ community, which is less expected and more painful than it coming from straight people.
Oh sh*t, that sounds terrible. I’m almost afraid to ask, but what’s bi erasure?
It’s basically pretending that bi+ people don’t exist and that everyone is either straight or gay, which is strange considering I’ve never described any single person as asexual, just because they weren’t dating someone at that particular moment. For reference, think about how some celebrity gossip magazines reacted when Kristen Stewart started dating Alicia Cargile – the headline “K Stew lesbian affair” was definitely used by at least one tabloid.
Erasure can really hurt bi+ people by robbing them of a community and leaving them more at risk for discrimination and violence.
Geez, okay, so how do I fight biphobia and bi erasure?
Education is our most important weapon against prejudice, so you should learn all that you can about the issues facing bi+ people. Bisexual Resource Center and BiNet are great places to start, but you could also talk to the bi+ people you know IRL.
Once, you’ve learned what the issues are; work with bi+ people to tackle them and help make the world a better place for bi+ people and a better place overall.