For Bi Visibility Day

Today is Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

The date highlights bisexuality and the challenges posed by biphobia and bisexual erasure – the tendency for bi people to be misread or have their lives retold as if they were straight or gay based on their public relationships.

When it began in 1999, then as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, there was far less TV and media representation of bi life – and what there was so often depended on negative stereotypes. Media representation still has some way to go but has increased greatly in quantity and quality.In our understanding of real life experience too, biphobia was once dismissed as ‘homophobia lite’. It’s an odd idea – as if an employer that sacked staff for being gay back when that was legal would have just moved a bi worker to part-time hours.

As a party the Lib Dems have a good record: it was a Liberal Democrat equalities minister who sent the first ministerial message of support for Bi Visibility Day, and in councils like Stockport we have seen Liberals bring forward motions recognising this date and the need for year-round action on inclusion to address inequalities facing bi people.After the lull in many things due to the pandemic, this year the Bi Visibility Day website has over 100 events listed once more – from small things like flags being hoisted on universities and town halls to whole Bi Pride marches in France and Germany.

There’s even a film screening in Kyiv, where you might feel people had a good excuse to say they were a little busy and distracted right now.

But Bi Visibility Day is not simply about a bit of flag-waving and a party. The shift to a focus on visibility was not just for its own sake, but for the things that should flow from being visible and recognised.

In the last 20 or so years, increasingly research into LGBT experience has separated out the different strands and that in many areas of life, bi people experience worse outcomes on average than both gay and straight people. And as Lib Dems those are the areas where we would want our elected representatives to be informed and to take action.That ranges from healthcare – where bis alongside other LGBT people have higher rates of mental and physical health problems than the population as a whole – to the workplace, where bi people are less likely to feel they can be out than gay or lesbian staff.

Listings for what’s going on to mark the 24th Bi Visibility Day are here – including training and lectures where you can learn more about how it’s different for bis, and if you’d like to help campaign for bi and wider LGBT+ equality I’d strongly encourage you to join LGBT+ Lib Dems

CREDIT: Jen Yockney MBE.

* Jen Yockney MBE is a Vice President of LGBT+ Lib Dems and organised the first Bi Visibility Day event in the UK back in 1999.

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