The term bisexuality was first coined in 1892, so why do we need Bi Visibility Day in 2022?
Despite bi people being around since the origins of humanity, it’s not something that has been discussed or even recognized as a legitimate sexuality. Until quite recently, bisexuality was only really talked about in derision and scorn, within and outside of the LGBT+ communities.
Bierasure and biphobia – both within and outside of the LGBT+ communities – continue to be serious problems that have adverse impacts on the bisexual community. Assumptions about your sexuality are based on the perceived gender of your partner and bisexual folks are often rendered invisible in LGBT conversations as they’re seen to be “straight-passing”.
Unfortunately, this has led to bi people facing significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, poverty, and negative health outcomes like cancer, heart disease, HPV, and HIV than their straight and gay/lesbian counterparts.
However, thankfully awareness and acceptance is growing.
We can see the impact that awareness-raising and visibility days are having on society: a 2020 survey of sexuality in America found that of the 5.6% adults that identify as LGBT, 54.6% identify as bisexual! That means 3.1% of American adults identify as bisexual – that’s nearly 10 million people!
That’s great news – the more people understand their own sexuality, the more confident they can become. I say this from experience; I didn’t realize I was bisexual until I was 18 because I didn’t know that being bi was even a thing. My childhood was confusing and filled with fear regarding my sexuality but when my friend told me she was bisexual – and then explained to me what that means – it was like something just clicked and the relief I felt at finally being able to name how I felt was overwhelming.
Yet, there’s still work to be done. Unfortunately, far-right conservatives are advancing extremist attitudes across America and many other countries. Banning the teaching of LGBT+ sexuality in schools and even closing libraries that have books on the subject. The fight for equality is still pushing on so this Bi Visibility Day – reach out and share the day with your community. Open, judgement-free communication is the greatest way we can all advance equality and acceptance.
Because at the end of the day, we’re all just human beings trying to figure out who we are. Understanding yourself and feeling accepted by society is important to everyone. As we begin to see more positive representations of bisexuality in media, education, and our communities, the easier it will be to overcome disparities.
To learn more about bisexuality, check out these great resources:
- Human rights campaign: Bisexual FAQ
- TEDx Talk: Bisexuality: The Invisble Letter “B”
- TEDx Talk: Bi the way, we exist
Dakota Gifford (she/her) is a Canadian bisexual living and loving in New Zealand. She has always been interested in how we can better teach sex education after a very mediocre lesson from her high school. She has a degree in Global Studies and Women and Gender Studies and works in education. She volunteers for Center for Positive Sexuality in her free time and wrote this blog on behalf of the Center.