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Bi+ Visibility Day
Bisexuality Day, also known as Bi+ Visibility or Bi Pride Day, is celebrated on 23 September, and aims to provide bisexual people with recognition and to celebrate bisexual history, community and culture.
The day of celebration and recognition specifically acknowledges bisexuality, as opposed to being a general LGBTIQ event. This is to counteract the erasure and negative attitudes people who are bisexual often experience. Unfortunately, many bisexual people experience the dismissal of their identity and lived experiences from both the straight and queer communities.
Prejudice, invisibility, exclusion and stigmatising comments lead to lower health outcomes for bisexual people. It often also unfairly creates and perpetuates negative images of bisexual people, which can be difficult to overcome. For this reason, people who identify as bisexual are less likely to be “out” than their gay and lesbian peers.
Recently published research from La Trobe’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), found significant links between poor mental health and the following factors:
- bisexual people who are in heterosexual relationships
- bisexual people perceiving their sexuality to be bad or wrong
- bisexual people thinking their partner’s support or understanding of their sexuality is low.
The findings, based on the Who I Am study, have given a unique insight into the challenging life experiences bisexual people go through and how this is affecting their mental health.
Recognising that bisexual people are often made to feel invisible and excluded from events, services and organisations is an important step towards making environments more welcoming and inclusive of people who are bisexual.
Ways that people can be more inclusive of bisexual colleagues, family and friends in their lives include:
- being aware of language – avoiding the terms “gay” or “gay and lesbian” as shorthand for LGBTIQ
- being aware and open to different attitudes and language people (especially young people) may have about LGBTIQ matters and identity
- avoiding assumptions about people’s sexuality – especially when based on who their current partner is or may be
- refraining from making comments that bisexuality is a “phase”, or asking intrusive and personal questions about a person’s relationship or sexual history
- celebrating Bisexuality Day! Let others know about the day and visibly acknowledge and show support for bisexual people.