For the last 21 years, Bisexual Visibility Day has been celebrated on the 23rd of September. Bi Visibility Day was first observed in 1999 at the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was and is celebrated specifically to create awareness around the bisexual community. The need of the hour is to combat Bi Erasure by being proud of ourselves.
What is the passing privilege?
Bisexuals are often treated not gay enough for the queer community and not straight enough to be heterosexual. That is because of “passing privilege.” It is the idea that a bisexual person can pass as a heterosexual person by being in a romantic relationship with someone of a different sex. Bisexuals face wrath from LGBTQ+ community as well as the heterosexuals, because bisexual individuals can “pass.” Bi Visibility Day exists and must be celebrated to combat Bi Erasure and to make sure every bisexual person knows that they are valid no matter what.
When I figured out I was bisexual, and I hadn’t come out to anybody, I felt like I was living a dual existence. This sensation persisted, kept bugging me all the time I was around people. It was not an entirely new feeling, though. It felt as if I finally figured it all out. As if everything that was falling apart is now falling into place. I recognized myself. It went something like this: I would be in the middle of some simple act, I would be picking up a paintbrush or laying down a glass of water, or I would be saying something, and suddenly I would remember that I’m bisexual. That made me feel proud and known. However, it did take me a lot of time to come to terms with it and come out to my friends.
Coming out is your choice, your decision
It is important to be proud of our identities everyday, but I do understand that it is because of my privilege that I have this stance. Coming to terms with our identities is not easy because of the compulsory heteronormativity. It is also vividly different for every individual. I can only say for myself when I say that coming out is relieving. Sometimes, remaining in the closet is the safest way to be proud of yourself and that is fine. You don’t have to parade your truth around if it has the potential to harm you. Staying in the closet does not mean you’re living a lie, it just means that you’re not comfortable or safe enough to come out. That is absolutely fine. Nobody but you gets to decide when you should come out.
Celebrate Bi-Visibility Day This Way:
On the occasion of Bi Visibility Day, here is a small list of things you can do to celebrate your bisexuality (even if you haven’t come out of the closet!)
1. Use Bi puns in every conversation!
2. Paint the bi colours (pink, purple, blue) everywhere!
On your water bottles, on your phone case – everywhere.
3. Watch shows with bisexual characters.
My personal favorite is Brooklyn 99, obviously for Rosa. I also love watching Sex Education because of Adam.
4. Read books with bisexual characters.
Leah in ‘Leah On The Offbeat’ by Becky Albertalli is bisexual! I am a hardcore fan of the simonverse and so reading those books always makes me feel good in my skin. Leah is an extremely powerful character. Even though she is full of flaws and I dislike her, I see myself in her sometimes.
4. Attend virtual open-mic nights!
Because of the pandemic, everything has moved to the virtual space. There are plenty of online collectives hosting open-mic nights. You will be able to find those using hashtags such as #openmic2020 #BiVisibilityDay2020.
Bi Visibility Day was observed in 1999.
Bi Visibility Day was observed in 1999, it has been 21 years. Allies must educate themselves and strive to make this world a better place. Bi Visibility Day exists to combat Bi Erasure, do it knowing that you are valid and bisexuality is not a phase. In the end, remember that you are loved and you will always be loved.
Also read this beautiful poem on bisexuality, “Half My Love Poems” by Manasi Nene
“Half my love poems will not be heard, because half this love cannot be expressed because I’m not supposed to love half the people I can. So far, I stand alone in this. I am a candle, burning at both ends, but light bends around one side, it does not know how to go straight; it only knows how to burn. And it was a tough lesson to learn but now, I know how to hide half my light. I decide what people see in me and so far it’s the fire that burns straight but it’s love, not hate that I hide. Half my love poems will not be heard, because I break rules half the time - half my love is a crime - half my love poems will never be published because half this love can be punished, like I need to lessen my love, to hide my heart, to silence my spirit; half my love poems will not be written because half the time I’m smitten by grace, by beauty, by poise; all wonderful qualities, and not always found in boys, so I hide half my light. But I am a poet; when I feel, I really feel and half the times I don’t know how to deal with it. I am a poet; when I fall, I really fall; not with half my heart, with all of it; I am a poet and I have my pride, even when my nerves are fried and my knees are weak and my head is spinning, it’s a never-ending game of hide-and-seek that I know I’m not winning, and I’m made to feel my love is sinning so I wait to heal, but the weight is filling me up, up, up, up, I go, I know love feels like heaven, And a heart is < than 3 but this is less than three seventy seven; I don’t ask for much, but only half my love comes cheap; I trade the other half for too many cigarettes and too little sleep it feels like I’m drowning but I can’t go in too deep, it feels like too many heartbeats for one ribcage, like too much love for one poem or one page like too much hate for a world so full of disgrace like everyone’s laughing at me and I need to keep a straight face like I’m down for the count after too many bouts like at the end of the day, only half my love counts. We act like we can measure love - buy it, barter it like a box of Lego blocks. Like anything even depends on whether or not we fit together. Like human beings are a formula, and aberrations can be tamed, like this is an aberration and aberrations can be blamed on anything except your ability to accept them. All my love makes me stop in my tracks, brake twice as hard though this heart, double-size, can break twice as hard. Twice the people to my love - twice the starts, twice the departures, twice the art, and only half the reach. Only some will hear it. We’re not used to so much love, we’re scared to go near it. It’s a strange kind of love, not hate, but we fear it though it’s everywhere. As wide as wide can go, as deep as deep can be. There’s so much of it everywhere but only half that we can see. Half my love poems will not be heard until all love can be treated equally.” - Manasi Nene