September 23 marks the occasion of Bi Visibility Day. But what is it, and why do we need this day marking one’s sexual orientation as bi-sexual?
First celebrated in 1999, Bi Visibility Day grew out of an early movement established by BiNet USA, an organization founded in 1990 and initially called North American Multicultural Bisexual Network (NAMBN). That year, a precursor event was held declaring June 23, 1990 to be Bisexual Pride Day.
Then in 1999, three activists decided it was important to have a more concrete, celebratory event, which they specifically thought of as a party. All big fans of Freddie Mercury, whose birthday was in September, and in need of a weekend date, they settled on September 23rd which also coincided with the birthday of one of the activists. Accordingly, International Celebrate Bisexuality Day was born. The event was later renamed Bi Visibility Day by Jen Yockney, MBE who has been organizing events in connection with this date since 1999.
Regardless of its title, the goal of this celebration is to accelerate “acceptance of the bisexual+ community, drawing attention to the experiences of this community, and celebrating the resiliency of the community.”
Moreover, as Jen notes, “…research increasingly shows bi people have greater mental and physical health challenges than gay or straight people. We’re more likely to experience domestic violence from our partners, too. And bi people have lower earnings than their straight and gay co-workers.”
Additionally, Stonewall research indicates that, “almost half of bi men (46 percent) and a quarter of bi women (26 percent) aren’t open about their sexual orientation to anyone in their family, compared to 10 percent of gay men and just five percent of lesbians… [and not surprisingly] have higher levels of anxiety, and lower levels of happiness and life satisfaction, than lesbian, gay and straight people. And these will be worse for those with other marginalised identities or experiences – for example bi people of colour, bi trans people, bi disabled people and bi people of faith.”
Since 2014, the focus expanded to include a full week spanning from September 16th through September 23rd. Events include film screenings, talks, socials in bi-friendly bars and many other activities. A full list is available on the international listings site: www.bivisibilityday.com
While it is clear that the need continues, there have been glimmers of hope with recognition and participation by international governance such as:
- The city of Berkeley, CA becoming the first city in the U.S. to officially proclaim a day recognizing bisexuals in 2012.
- Tel Aviv-Yafo City Hall was lit with the colors of the bisexual flag on September 23, 2019.
- On September 23, 2013, the White House held a closed-door meeting with almost 30 bisexual advocates, so they could meet with government officials and discuss issues of specific importance to the bisexual community.
- On the same date, the UK government minister for Women and Equalities issued a statement, welcoming the day to help raise awareness.
- Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recognized September 23rd, 2021 as Bisexual Pride Day.
IMAGINE: What if we lived in a world where all sexualities, identities, and relationship structures were not only welcomed, but celebrated? What if we let go of fear of our differences, and instead stepped into love and honoring our diversity with pleasure? What if we all strived to build our muscle of empathy for our fellow human, lifting our vibe and frequency higher and higher!?
What if… indeed. We are rooting for you all to live YOUR most authentic life! If you are struggling and looking for expert help, remember we are here.
However you self-identify, we hope you will join us in celebrating this important cause.
Until next time, cherished community …
With love and gratitude,
Kitty Chambliss, PCC, CPC, ELI-MP
Founder, Loving Without Boundaries
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>>> Looking for more events around the globe? Check out Alan’s Polyamory List of Events to stay informed and connected.