23 September is Celebrate Bisexuality Day, and as a member of an active bisexual community, we celebrated by getting together, having dinner, and having a great time. I thought I’d share some other bisexual related news in order to make this day all about us 🙂
First up, bisexuals in Berkeley have Celebrate Bisexuality Day formally recognised by the city – the first US city to formally recognise the day.
Berkeley on Tuesday became what is thought to be the nation’s first city to officially proclaim a day recognizing bisexuals, a sexual minority that often complains of being derided as sexually confused fence-sitters.
The City Council unanimously and without discussion declared Sept. 23 as Bisexual Pride and Bi Visibility Day. Since 1999, bisexual activists have claimed the date to celebrate their community, and bisexual pride events routinely are held in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and other cities across the nation.
Berkeley, however, is believed to be the first U.S. city where a government body has taken the extra step of to formally acknowledge the day, the San Francisco Chronicle reported ( http://bit.ly/S4L00p ). Other cities support and participate in gay pride parades held in June and July.
The Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles, devoted to the study of sexual orientation and the law, estimates that more than 4 million Americans identify as bisexual, more than the number of Americans who identify as gay, lesbian or transgender combined.
Some bisexuals nevertheless say they feel overlooked or misunderstood, frequently finding themselves portrayed in popular culture as the punch lines of jokes or pathological. And while bisexuals are part of the acronym that makes up the LGBT rainbow, some activists protest that gays are some of their harshest critics.
Faith Cheltenham, BiNet’s President, writes on why she celebrates Bisexuality Day:
Back in the 1990s I hadn’t even heard of the word bisexual, and coming from the small coastal California town of San Luis Obispo, my exposure to anything gay was very limited. Having been raised in the Church of God in Christ, a primarily black Pentecostal denomination, I had been placed in pastoral care by elementary school so as to stamp out my unnatural urges. My mom was doing what she then thought was right to save my soul, so I read from Ezekiel and had elders lay hands on me to pray that devil right on out. Like many queer folks, I escaped my confusion of sexuality into a clusterfuck of sexual activity because none of it made a whole lot of sense. People told me I would “come out eventually,” but I didn’t have any idea what they were talking about, as I had a preference for living indoors and really hated camping. So I carefully folded up my pictures ferreted out of a trashed Playboy, hid them under the bed, and prayed after doing such “bad things” at the end of every night. My heart still pounds to think of my fear, to remember the feeling of being caught in an undertow, as if I jumped into the biggest wave, only to find the light lacking and the deepness of the ocean void of air. It seemed I lived without breathing for years, caught between the worlds of gay and straight.
Finding the bisexual community saved me, finding others like me online and off made me feel completely normal and finally capable of loving relationships with whomever I wanted who wanted me. No one should need a permission slip to fall in love, and no one should have anyone else’s definitions define them. This Bi Pride Day I celebrate the heroes who helped me get here, and all the people who work toward a world where none of us live without being able to love ourselves. In a stunning letter from a person who’s loved more than one gender, Frank Ocean tells me “I was never alone, as much as I felt like it… as much as I still do sometimes. I never was. I don’t think I ever could be.” Frank’s letter shot off into space, breaking barriers and embracing the kids on the street, people between sheets, and all the other lovers who had missed a beat. For there are still too many people waiting, watching, and wondering about the line of best fit; how they intersect, and if they’ll ever connect.
The Gay News Network writes on bisexual erasure, particularly the erasure of Cynthia Nixon’s sexuality:
To return to Cynthia Nixon, she did clarify her remarks. Very reluctantly, she admitted bisexuality. “I believe bisexuality is not a choice, it is a fact,” she said, “What I have ‘chosen’ is to be in a gay relationship.” Now that is beyond reproach, but why was Nixon so hesitant to identify as bisexual? She had this to say: “I don’t like to pull out the “bisexual” word because nobody likes the bisexuals. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals. We get no respect.”
Despite the alphabet soup of GLBTIQ , discrimination against bisexuals remains pervasive in our community and in broader society.
Bisexuals don’t deserve to be belittled (oh, you haven’t made your mind up yet, it’s just a phase) or ignored (as often happens in rights debates). That many bisexuals have more conscious choice over who they choose to fuck should not be seen as a cause for insecurity among people who do not. Nor are they a threat to our community’s basic human rights – if your sex life isn’t hurting anyone, there is no rational basis for discrimination.