Whilst there are still many myths and stigmas that surround bisexual people, we’ve come a long way in just 27 years
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY RODNAE PRODUCTIONS VIA PEXELS
Change is often hard to see. It happens slowly. Sometimes you don’t even notice how much has changed until you look back at what life was once like. When I think of the future, I especially want one that is kinder and more accepting for my fellow trans and non-binary siblings. This LGBT+ History Month, whilst trying to picture what this might look like, I was reminded of the 1995 cover of Time magazine. A year before my bisexual soul was born, the below was published with the title and caption: “Bisexuality. Not Gay. Not Straight. A New Sexual Identity Emerges.” Quite sensational right? Whilst there are still many myths and stigmas that surround bisexual people, we’ve come a long way in just 27 years. When I came out to my Dad as bisexual, he didn’t ask what this meant, he knew. When I came out to my Dad as genderfluid, this took a lot more explaining.
Today I showed my class the 1995 Time magazine cover on bisexuality, to their delight and dismay pic.twitter.com/Kx2Tw4oSXb— Devon Powers (@devjpow) February 20, 2020
But even in the seven years since I came out to my Dad, the way the world talks about trans and non-binary people has changed. I won’t sugarcoat it. We are still generally not accepted or believed, just take a look at the majority of news headlines over the last few years where trans people are mentioned. Even our allies who are accepting of our truth, often don’t comprehend the struggles that we face within society when it comes to healthcare, employment and public safety. Then there are those who are accepting of words like “transgender” and “non-binary” but still think that those who use words like “genderfluid”, “agender”, “bigender” or “demiboy” are being attention seekers.
It’s not just gender either. By now most people know the meaning behind the L, G, B and T within our community’s acronym (all those belonging to them still face much oppression today). But those who are intersex, asexual and demisexual are still treated with the same level of sensationalism as the 1995 Time’s cover treated bisexuals.
So how did we bisexuals become more normalised within the last 27 years? Well, it happened slowly. Over the years we’ve had some pretty awful representation on screen. It’s a lot better now, but still white focused. Whilst onscreen visibility isn’t everything, it’s a great way for conversations to be had in the home and it does tend to lead to more acceptance, when done right. Just look at how the show Sex Education opened up dialogues at home regarding LGBTQI identity.
Of course, it wasn’t all just the work of fiction. Activists and LGBTQI organisations have worked tirelessly to end injustices when it comes to all sexual orientations and gender identities. The work still continues.
Change is coming. I can feel it, slowly sinking in. The number of times I have to explain what my gender means when meeting new people is decreasing. I can now name five non-binary characters on mainstream TV channels and even more in popular young adult books. As the recent survey results from Gallup show, there are more out LGBTQI adults in the US than ever before. Important to note: the survey shows that the identification most common within the results was bisexual. We still have a long way to go, but the fights of those who came before us has created a world in which people feel safer than before to come out.
As LGBT+ History Month soon comes to an end and I look to the past whilst thinking of the future, I know the type of world I want to fight for. It’s one where no one is sensationalised in front page news due to who they love or what gender they are. Where our voices aren’t silenced. Where we are not only accepted, but respected. We all need marriage equality and fertility equality. We need equal rights when it comes to healthcare, employment opportunities and of course, safety. So let’s roll up our sleeves DIVAs, and create a world which future generations can look back on and see how much has progressed.
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