Posted on Wed 19 Sep 2018 at 13:28 by Christopher Carter
Sunday 23rd September marks Bi Visibility Day, an opportunity to celebrate the history and community of those who experience sexual and/or emotional attraction to more than one gender, or regardless of gender. It’s also a chance to learn about how we can better support the bi+ people in our lives, and think about how we can challenge the internalised biphobia which accompanies many of the ways we are conditioned to think and talk about bisexuality.
Biphobia is marginalised from both within and outside the LGBTUA+ community, often being given less consideration than other LGBT-phobias. Biphobia can take the form of bi+specific name calling, neglect of bi+specific needs in service access, and the erasure of bi+ identities from LGBTUA+ histories.
The most prevalent and unchecked form of biphobia is often found in stereotypes that have been attached to bi+ identities. Harmful associations of promiscuity, greediness, and it being considered ‘just a phase’ have permeated the LGBTUA+ community and wider society. The result of such discrimination has often left bi+ people with feelings of guilt about their identity, and a 2017 ONS Report found that bi+ people are the most likely of all sexual identity groups to report lower life satisfaction and feelings of anxiety.
So, how can we make sure that we are supporting our bi+ peers better? It is not enough to say that you accept bi+ identities as valid - we must also be attentive to and challenge the ways we think about and discuss bi+ identities. Asking questions like “What terms would you use to describe your sexual identity?” rather than “Are you gay/straight?” are small steps we can all take to prevent bi-erasure.
It’s also important at every stage to be mindful of including bi+ people and stories in projects that celebrate our identities. Bi Visibility Day also sheds light on the fantastic contributions of bi+ people to our everyday lives. Without the contributions of bi+ trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, the modern fight for LGBTUA+ rights would not be what it is today.
As part of the commemoration of Bi Visibility Day, the University’s LGBTUA+ Taskforce will be hosting a Networking Lunch on Tuesday 25th September at 12pm in B2.03 (Science Concourse, Second Floor Chemistry Building). This event is for all who identify as bi+, as well as supporters who have an interest in the issues surrounding bi+ identities in the workplace.
The event will include lunch, a session on LGBTUA+ terminology (starting at 12.30pm) delivered by members of the Taskforce, plus the opportunity to meet with colleagues with a shared interest in bi+ identities in the workplace.
If you’d like to attend, registration for the event can be found by following the link: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/equalops/sexualorientationgenderidentity/lgbtuaatwarwick/bivisibilitynetworkinglunch/register
For resources on how you can support bi+ visibility, or to learn about events happening off-campus, visit http://www.bivisibilityday.com/
Until next time,