A post for Bisexual Visibility Day

As I hurtled uncontrollably towards my 30th birthday at the beginning of January and felt as though I was stuck in a rut, I decided that this milestone year would be the year my life would change – and that would start with me finally being open and proud of who I am.

I realised that I was bisexual when I was a teenager, thinking first that I was straight, and then gay, before finally recognising that I did not fit into either monosexual identity. I told some of my friends at the time, while for others it was an “open secret”. For the most part, though, my sexual identity was, at best, something I did not speak about – and, at worst, something I have since actively repressed.

However, on 26 January this year, I finally came out as bi with the help of the above heavily-Photoshopped (or, rather, as a good Lib Dem, heavily-Photoplussed) photo.

Today I am marking my first Bi Visibility Day since coming out in the only way possible – by spending all day at work and the evening in a local party executive meeting.

Bi Visibility Day is not just about the bi community celebrating our identity. It is about raising awareness and challenging bisexual and biromantic erasure.

Sadly, not everyone who identifies as bi is lucky enough to have had a positive experience since coming out – while many do not feel able to come out at all. Indeed, according to Stonewall’s 2018 LGBT in Britain – Health Report, 30 per cent of bi men and eight per cent of bi women said they were unable to be open about their sexual orientation, compared to just two per cent of gay men and one per cent of lesbians.

Similarly, 38 per cent of bi people are not out to any of their work colleagues, compared to seven per cent of gay men and four per cent of lesbians, while in 2016 it was reported that bi men earned 30 per cent less than their gay colleagues. Although published four years ago, this does suggest that bi men are at the rough end of the LGBT+ pay gap which was revealed last year.

This is not a phenomenon unique to Britain, either. In 2018, the Center for American Progress reported that bi people were more likely to be unemployed, on welfare and in poor health. Their survey found that 24 per cent of bi men and 21 per cent of bi women had a household income below the federal poverty level, compared to 12 percent of gay men and 13 per cent of lesbians. The full report also discovered that a lower proportion of bi people were in work than gay men, lesbians or heterosexuals, and that a higher proportion of bi people (and particularly bi women) were in receipt of public benefits for food and healthcare.

So today, while the bi community celebrate who we are and not-so-subtly remind everyone that we exist, we also continue the fight for acceptance of, and equality for, bi people here in the UK and around the world.

If you want to help the campaign for equality in the bi and wider LGBT+ community, please do consider joining or supporting LGBT+ Lib Dems.

 

* Alan Collins Rosell is a blogger and treasurer of the Medway local party.

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3 Comments

  • https://unherd.com/2020/09/what-is-to-become-of-the-lib-dem-cockroaches/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups%5B0%5D=18743&tl_period_type=3

    “I’m suggesting that the Lib Dems are tanking because they’ve become fixated on things that are of no urgent interest to the majority of that public. British voters, by and large, are neither pro- nor- anti-trans: they’re just more interested in stuff like the pandemic, the NHS and the fate of the economy.“

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Sep '20 - 2:38am

    As a straight man, those in minorities need allies. As being Bi is one of the most inclusive of all minority attributes, and one more should relate to even if not bi, I am impressed with this article.

    I am not though impressed with the comment, link, above. It is not an ignoring of main issues, or the well being of all, to be concerned with the well being of minorities, and it is ignorant to think it is. this piece is someone’s story, Alan is entitled to be treated with a welcome to the site, in saying what he says.

  • @Lorenzo

    Well said. As a political party we focus and campaign on many things, including “the pandemic, the NHS and the fate of the economy”.

    Alan’s personal story here is very helpful. He is to be applauded for “coming out”.

    We need to remember the words “in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity”. “Conformity” is the key word in this case.

    We have a long history of fighting for the rights of minorities; and we will, no doubt, continue to fight for them.

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