Bi Visibility Day 2019
Originally published by LGBT+ Liberal Democrats
On Bi Visibility Day, our exec member Holly writes:
Our culture presumes everyone is either heterosexual or homosexual. But like most binaries, this misses out a lot of people (as Lib Dems, we're probably all sick of being treated like we're either "Tories really" or "Labour really"). This is one reason 23 September is celebrated as Bi Visibility Day.
Why "visibility"? Studies in the UK and internationally have found that attitudes to bisexual people are even more negative than those about lesbians or gay people. The stereotypes of bisexuals as greedy, indecisive, untrustworthy or simply non-existent are pervasive in the media and do tangible harm. Bisexuals have worse mental health than gay or straight people, a greater likelihood of homelessness and domestic abuse, and less chance than gay people of being out among colleagues, fellow pupils at school, friends or family.
But it doesn't have to be this way. These problems stem not from being bisexual itself, not from the mere experience of being attracted to more than one gender, but from stigma. This means it's a problem that we can all help fix. We can learn to spot the harmful stereotypes, avoid them ourselves, and challenge them in others. We can ensure that biphobia is understood as distinct from homophobia and address the specific issues bisexuals face.
Where such support exists, where biphobia and bi erasure are overcome by bi visibility, there are a lot of positives to being bisexual too. BiUK says, "Bisexual people speak of their acceptance and appreciation of others' differences and feel well-placed to notice and challenge social biases and assumptions beyond sexuality." These are great liberal values, ones we can all encourage and share on this day for celebrating bisexuals.