9/23 is BiVisibility Day
I hope you are doing well.
Today is BiVisibility Day and I wanted to do a special pop-up Podcast Episode in celebration of #BiWeek and today, especially, on #BiVisibilityDay.
For those of you who are bi, I see you, and I hear you. If you are struggling with whether or not to come out, and to whom, you are not alone. Where I live, at the buckle of the Bible Belt, many folks are conservative and one never knows how someone is going to react if you choose to share with them your sexual identity. I get it.
Nearly 9 Million Americans identify as LGBT and approximately fifty percent of them identify as bisexual.* That’s over four million people!
The Bisexual Resource Center defines bisexual as an umbrella term for people who recognize and honor their potential for sexual and emotional attraction to more than one gender (pansexual, fluid, omnisexual, queer, and all other free-identifiers). I would say this covers those celebrating their Middle Sexuality pretty well.
Today, I just want to share some knowledge, myths, and observations with you.
Attraction for bisexuals varies. Some are attracted more towards women than men, others towards men more than women, and still others find their attraction to be closer to a fifty-fifty split amongst women and men. This may be why some people think bisexuals are going through a phase and will eventually outgrow it. Sorry folks, we are not secretly gay or straight, nor are we confused; don’t hold your breath waiting for us to come out as gay.
If you think bisexuals can’t be faithful or that once they’re involved in a committed relationship, they are no longer bi, think again. Bisexuals are rather finicky. Once they make a commitment, they stick to it just like anyone else.
One of my lesbian friends shared that she has a friend who identifies as Pan. This friend is married, and ALTHOUGH MY FRIEND KNOWS better, she still had it in her mind that her Pan friend was straight. If folks ‘of the family’, as we like to say, don’t even see us, how do we expect straight people to acknowledge our existence?
Some bisexuals are monogamous and have one relationship while others prefer ethical non-monogamy and have multiple relationships. This may lead to the myth that Bi’s are more sexual than other people, that they are greedy, promiscuous, and opportunistic. Contrary to these popular beliefs, bisexuals are actually pretty particular about their partners.
There is a notion out there that bisexuals are just experimenting. I can assure you, this is not the case. Emotionally and mentally, I feel just as safe, secure, and loved with both my husband and partner. Physically? Oh yeah! There is no denying how my body responds to either of them!
What I find incredibly frustrating is when someone thinks they know more about my sexuality than I do. Remind me again when you walked a mile in my shoes? Right, I didn’t think so.
Babies don’t come with an owner’s manual nor is their sexual identity already labeled. I understand figuring out one’s identity is a process and some folks consider themselves bisexual as a stepping stone to determining they are in fact gay or lesbian. I can see where this may cause some undue prejudice. What a joy it would be to be able to share this information with others and not be judged!
Also, celebrities seem to be coming out as bisexual left and right. Is this their true identity? Are they using it to get ratings, as a quick flash-in-the-pan success technique, or to get a quick hit of notoriety until the next big story breaks in Hollywood?
Because of all these myths, it makes it difficult to decide whether or not to come out to a person. I would like to share a quote with you:
Bi+ Antagonism and Bi+ Erasure
“Bisexuals experience high rates of being ignored, discriminated against, demonized, or rendered invisible by both the heterosexual world and the lesbian and gay communities. Often, the entire sexual orientation is branded as invalid, immoral, or irrelevant. Despite years of activism and the largest population within the LGBT community, the needs of bisexuals still go unaddressed and their very existence is still called into question. This erasure has serious consequences on bisexuals’ health, economic well-being, and funding for bi organizations and programs.”
—from Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations
As a business woman, this can make life a bit challenging. When it comes to accomplishing my goals and making my dreams come true, I surround myself with like-minded folks who are intelligent, open-minded, and love me for who I am. I am getting to know other LGBT folks through the Roanoke Diversity Center, Roanoke Polyamory, national community organizations, as well as, business people from various LGBT Chambers of Commerce across the United States and Internationally.
At the Treehouse, we have fun with it. We have a code word we use when we see someone the other one should check out.
People watching is way too much fun for us!
To the straight folks out there, we’re mostly just like you. Often we pass as hetero, especially if we’re married. It’s probably fair to say that unless you know we’re bi, you wouldn’t really know that we’re attracted to all genders of humans.
I was in a group coaching session with my mentor one day recently, and he was coaching one of the ladies in the group. She shared that she was ready to have a romantic partner in her life. Her words. Our mentor, who knows this woman, automatically went into how he could help her get the right man. In my mind, piqued by the word partner, I was curious to know if she was looking for a male or female partner. Is this because of her phrasing, because she was beautiful and I was hoping to get to know her, or is our society so conditioned to monogamy and heterosexuality that we don’t even pause to think that perhaps this person is attracted to a person of the same gender?
What can we do to shift the mindsets of folks? To have them pause and be curious about whether or not someone is straight instead of automatically assuming they are?
If over half of the LGBT population identify as bi, and yet they are not seen, what is going on? Why are we invisible?
I want to keep this lighthearted and celebrate today, but would feel remiss if I did not mention one important thing. Because many doctors presume their patients are straight, often times important health related discussions do not happen with their bisexual patients, which may result in incomplete care. Please seek out and find a doctor who is inclusive ~ ask folks who their doctor is and if s/he is inclusive. Now that I’ve gotten the PSA off my chest, let’s celebrate!
This is a fun month to show love and support for your friends and family members who are Bi, Pan, fluid, or anywhere on the middle sexuality spectrum. They would appreciate knowing that they are seen and heard!
Happy @BiVisibilityDay everyone! Take good care and stay safe!
Thanks for listening to Life in the Treehouse Podcast with Suz Ashley. If you like our show and want to know more check out SuzAshley.com for the show notes and links to everything that was mentioned in today’s episode. Also, Be sure to share your wins with me so that I may put them on the air and celebrate with you in an upcoming episode! Join us next week when we talk about (next week’s show topic).