Today is Bisexual Visibility Day, a time for bisexual people and our allies around the world to celebrate our attraction to more than one gender. And, the word "visibility" is key. Bisexual people make up more than fifty percent of the LGBT community, yet are often invisible because we're perceived as straight or gay, depending on the gender of our partners.
Sometimes it's tempting to blend in. Bisexuals regularly encounter the attitude that we're "greedy" or that our orientation is just a rest stop on the way to gay town. We face disproportionate levels of substance abuse, suicide and eating disorderscompared with our gay and straight counterparts. Advice columnists even encourage us stay in the closet (thanks, Prudence).
But, being bisexual can be wonderful.
We're a community that includes people of all different gender identities, from cis to trans, and envelope other sexual orientations, such as queer and pansexual. We've empowered ourselves to define bisexuality on our own terms, and evolved the term "bisexual" to encapsulate more than just male and female identities. Most wonderfully of all, we are a community that has the capacity to love beyond the limits of sex and gender.
I celebrate today because of the freedom to define myself as both bisexual and queer, and to honor the bisexual community's rich history of activism on behalf of all LGBT people.
Don't just take it from me. In honor of 2014's Bisexual Visibility Day (also referred to as Celebrate Bisexuality Day and Bisexual Pride Day), I asked fellow bisexuals why they're celebrating. Here's what they said:
2. "Celebrating bisexuality creates visible safe spaces and community for those who are just coming out; so they know they are neither alone, nor abnormal."
- Elizabeth Mechem, Mom and Secretary
3. "Celebrating bisexuality is celebrating diversity. It is celebrating pride for who we are. Bisexuality is not a choice. We are celebrating the courage it takes to be our true authentic selves in a world that is continually trying to shape us into a 'socially acceptable paradigm.'"
- Dave Coleman, Engineering Services Operations Manager
4. "I celebrate Bisexual Visibility Day for all the bisexuals who have been active in LGBT movements, often while facing biphobia from queer and straight people alike while having their contributions erased or minimized. I love Bisexual Visibility Day or Celebrate Bisexuality day or whatever you call it because it shows we are important and deserve to be acknowledged. And it tells people who are just coming out as bisexual that they are real and part of a dynamic community."
- Sarah Stumpf, Bisexual Activist
5. "Why celebrate bisexuality? Because I met my hot bi husband at Berkeley BiFriendly, and now we can ogle all genders together."
- Jan Steckel, Author of The Horizontal Poet and Lambda Literary Award Winner
6. "There is something exquisite and profoundly beautiful about the capacity to love other human beings in a way that doesn't take gender into account as a 'deal-breaker.' Bisexuality is bigger than itself, in that it allows for love while teaching us new meanings/ways of love - and that's cause for celebration."
- Amy Andre, Co-author of Bisexual Health: An Introduction
7. "Given that many of the health disparities in the bi community are due to lack of support, I celebrate bi visibility in order to make my community healthier."
- Margaret Robinson, Re:searching for LGBT Health
8. "I celebrate bisexuality because my innate capacity for attraction and affection toward people of all genders has enriched my life and the lives of my lovers, friends, spouses and family in countless ways, told and untold, and because my identity as a bisexual brought me into the queer movement 25 years ago and allowed me to participate in the amazing unfolding of sexuality awareness and sex-positivity that continues our society; I celebrate bisexuality because it is an essential part of what I love about myself and humanity!"
- Kate Harlan, Assistant Organizer for amBi Los Angeles
9. "I celebrate bisexuality because our community understands how important it is to love people for who they are, not what body they were born with."
- Ellyn Ruthstrom, President of the Bisexual Resource Center
10. "Bisexuality is definitely something to celebrate in myself, because without it I wouldn't have met my partner, consciously created our family or become involved in helping others feel seen for who they are, regardless of imposed monosexual limitations. What I have done for this years Bisexual Awareness Week is to craft a Jewish blessing for our bi community, "Blessed are you, Adonai our G!d, Holy One of Blessing, who allows us to be open about our lives, see beyond gender and blesses us with myriad affections to share with our loved ones." This blessing is personal, and yet adaptable to the many ways we live our lives."
- Martin Rawlings-Fein, Director, Bay Area Bisexual Network
11. "Because someone who witnesses your joy might be a bisexual, too!"
- Tiggy Upland, Advice Columnist for the Bisexual Resource Center
12. "I celebrate bisexuality because celebration of identity builds community empowerment and facilitates authentic living."
- Lauren B. Beach JD, Ph.D., Fmr. Chairperson of the Bisexual Organizing Project
13. "And why celebrate bisexuality? So everyone who was like me and felt wrong, broken and alone knows they are not. I celebrate my bisexuality to let others know they can be proud of their diversity and resiliency. To let them see we are not our stereotypes. And we are worthy of human respect and decent treatment. I celebrate my bisexuality for my beautiful community!"
- Lynnette McFadzen, Co-Host of The BiCast
14. "Because my bisexuality is a significant part of who I am. I have the capacity to love people all across the vast gender spectrum, and that is a beautiful thing."
- A.J. Walkley, Author of Queer Greer, Choice and Vuto
15. "Bisexuality is beautiful."
- Mimi Hoang, Ph.D., Psychologist and Co-Founder of the Los Angeles Bi Task Force, amBi LA, and Fluid UCLA
16. "When we have the courage to come together in community as ourselves with all the others whom society would also reject, we become not only an irresistible force, but, we become, in fact, the majority. It is only by being fully myself, an out and proud bisexual woman, that I stop worrying what others think of me. When I step out of my closet, those who would oppress me and others like me, cower back into their closets. And, as we know all too well, it's hard to hard to change the world from a closet."
- Heidi Bruins Green, Chair, Bisexual Advisory Committee, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
17. "I celebrate bisexuality because it breaks down binaries embracing the fluidity of sexuality and gender."
- Eliel Cruz, Journalist at The Advocate
18. "For over thirty years my bisexuality has invited me to love others at the deepest level of the soul, loving beyond the garment of gender identity, growing my insight into the human condition, my compassion and my spiritual maturity."
- Rabbi Debra Kolodny, Editor of Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith
19. "Until 100 percent of the bi community can feel positive about the term "bi." Until everyone can be lifted out of the closet in all communities gay or straight. Until the last question, such as "Pick a side," or "Are you straight now that you are married?" stops being mouthed; I will celebrate Bi Pride Day every year! My goal was simple when I started Bi Social Network back in 2008. It was to help people who didn't feel they have a voice to come out and be counted. Now, we are getting there, many voices are singing proudly---but just like racism, we still have a long way to go in media, news, entertainment and especially our community."
- Adrienne McCue, Bi Social Network
20. "Celebration is about demanding attention. Without us (the loud, the proud, the labeled bisexuals), it would be so easy to pretend we don't exist."
- Heron Greenesmith, Policy Attorney and HuffPost Blogger
21. "I celebrate bisexuality specifically because I understand the power in naming and claiming ourselves; it is essential to our well-being and the building of community that we recognize both ourselves and those like us."
- Denarii G. Monroe, Writer
22. "The wellbeing of so many people who love and desire others across different genders depends upon the existence of affirming models, examples and communities."
- Dr. Herukhuti, Founder, Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality
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