I’ve only been out a year, but in that year I’ve gotten to know lots of great people, in the bisexual, pansexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and straight ally communities who have all been very supportive and accepting. I’ve seen so many of my friends in the bi community working so hard to help with issues of visibility, and I’ve tried to do my part, and I’ve seen many of our efforts pay off. One big positive thing I’ve noticed: many more people and organizations are celebrating Bi pride day!
For example: The National Gay and Lesbian task force talked about Bi Pride Day on their website , and Rea Carey released a statement about it! Several organizations and blogs, such as Washington Blade newspaper, Queers United, Feminsting, Stuff Queer People Need to Know, AfterEllen, AfterElton, The Bilerico Project, LOGO, GLSEN, GLAAD,National Day of Silence, and the Gay/Straight Alliance either mentioned it, tweeted about it, put it in a myspace bulletin, or put it up on their facebook pages. I was happy to see in a lot of the comments following this that bi people were saying things like “wow, I didn’t know about this, now I’m going to go celebrate”, so that means many more bisexual people learned that there is indeed a day for us. LOGO also has a page devoted to bisexuals, and has the movie Bi the way on its website, and has aired it on TV several times.
There are more bi celebrities out, such as Angelina Jolie, Drew Barrymore, Megan Fox, Laurel Holloman, and now, Lebanese pop star Mika. We have Micah Kellner, out own out bisexual politician. We have magazine publications, bi conferences (often partnered with transgender people as well), and our own health seminar in the BLGT health conference. When people in the bi/pan community(s) started voicing that they’d like to be included in the National Equality March, several BLGT organizations sent out tweets about including us, and there will definitely be a bisexual presence there. There are more bi characters on TV. I’ve also noticed more support for bisexual people overall from both gay and straight people; especially younger people. Most of the time in my experience when someone puts up something negative about us on a webpage or YouTube, there are many comments telling that person they are wrong, and they come from all people, not just bisexuals, which is really nice to see. We have wonderful Bi organizations that seem to be networking more and building our own community and subculture which is great and as far as I’m concerned, long overdue.
So everything above is really good-and we’ve come a long way baby! But unfortunately, there never seems to be much of a positive without a negative. These positive changes also highlight that we still have a long way to go. In my opinion, the biggest negative-since actions do speak louder than words, other than “happy tweets” about including us, there doesn’t seem to be much inclusion of us in the march. There are no events scheduled that are aimed at our community (the trans community got 2 events, not much, but more than we have), and no speakers from our community have been scheduled (I think the trans community is actually getting one). Certain leaders go on about the “gays and lesbians”, and use the term ‘gay marriage”, as do many publications about the march. I’m going to report on it and march with my fellow bis, but I’m not really feeling that included and I know I’m not the only one.
For all the positive endorsements of bi pride day, really huge organizations like HRC have yet to say anything about it.For all of the places we are mentioned and accepted, there are still plenty publications that talk about gay vs. straight and don’t even mention that there is anything in between. In most cities, supposedly “GLBT” newspapers only mention the G and the L most of the time, every once in a while the T, and rarely, the B. Inclusive language, such as “same-sex” marriage is not used much-only ‘gay marriage”. Many people are still afraid to use the term “bisexual”, and either try not to label themselves, or say they are gay. It’s one thing if you really don’t like labels, but if you are only avoiding them due to fear, then that shouldn’t be. For all the positive comments, I can still find plenty of negative ones when a bi celebrity comes out, especially if it is a man, like Lebanese Pop star Mika.
There are still many stereotypes about bisexuals-for example that women are just doing it to be “cool”, and men are just “hiding their gayness”. As glad as I am that there are more bisexual TV characters, many of them still seem to fall into a lot of the stereotypes that are held about us. At least they are out there, but I’d like to see them be more accurately portrayed. It’s really nice that LOGO has a bi page, but there are very few actual bi characters, and if you look at some of the short movies, they really push the stereotypes-I’d almost rather they were not there. At least Bi the Way is positive.
Okay, I didn’t mean to bring everyone up and then down! But a year ago, the positive paragraphs would have been thinner, so those positive changes are definitely worth celebrating. They should also teach us that hard work and activism does pay off-and we need to keep it up! Let’s make our goal for next year to make the negative paragraphs even smaller-until hopefully they disappear.
Happy Bisexual pride day to all my bi & pan brothers and sisters, and to all my brothers and sisters everywhere who are somewhere between straight and gay!