From calling out biphobia to ensuring LGBTQIA spaces are bi inclusive, here are five steps you can take to support bi people

BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE VIA PEXELS

Welcome to this week’s IMO AKA In My Opinion. This is a column where we approach some questions, queries and dilemmas we often hear from our readership and offer up some advice. Remember, this is by no means a one-size-fits-all kinda deal, but hopefully these words help you feel less alone. 

This Bi Awareness Week we are shining a spotlight on and celebrating the wonderfully diverse bi community. But we’re also having conversations and spreading awareness of some of the challenges the community faces such as biphobia. So, if you’re wanting to find ways to show up for the bi people in your life, read on. 

While this is tailored towards the bisexual community, I know these experiences resonate with many people who exist between the binaries of straight or gay. So whether you’re bi, pansexual, queer, or use more than one of these labels, know that I see you too. 

Believe us when we tell you who we are

I’m sure this resonates with many people throughout the LGBTQIA community, but bi people exist, and we are who we say we are. But our identities are too often questioned. Whether we are being accused of attention seeking or experimenting before identifying as either gay or straight, it can be incredibly harmful for our wellbeing. Myself and many people within the bi community have reported feeling as if we have to provide our sexual and romantic receipts in order to be believed. There are many ways to be bi as there are bisexual people, and all are valid as each other. 

Call out biphobia 

A great way to show up for the bi community is to speak out when you notice someone being biphobic. This could look like someone erasing someone’s bisexuality because they are either in an opposite or same sex relationship. Or it could be someone using microaggressions or overt biphobia and accusing someone of harmful stereotypes that surround bisexuality such as being proniscious, unfaithful, greedy or attention seeking. It’s also important to note, as already said, there are so many ways to be bi. And some bi people happen to be polyamorous. These people often have their relationships used against them as “proof” that they (and other bi people) are greedy or promiscuous. But this is not true. Polyamorous people can be bi, they can be gay, they can be straight. All consensual relationships are valid. 

Ensure your LGBTQIA spaces and events are bi inclusive 

In an ideal world, queer spaces would be a safe place where every member of the LGBTQIA community could be celebrated exactly as they are. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. Once I went with a friend and her boyfriend (both of whom were bi) to a gay bar. Because they were in an opposite sex relationship, they were accused of taking over the space. I must also assert, that even if her boyfriend had been heterosexual, she should be welcome in spaces with her date. The only time this would not be okay would be if said person was not accepting of the LGBTQIA community, in which case, dump him! 

Celebrate the bi community all year round 

Yes, we’re here being extra visible in September, but we are bi and valid all year round. Take the lessons you learn this Bi Visibility Day and have a think about how you can implement steps to uplift and advocate for the bi community all year round. There’s an abundance of amazing bi creatives, voices and change makers out there. Why not get started by following them and using your platform to amplify theirs? 

Support bi organisations and campaigns 

A great way to support the bi community all year round is to do so through supporting groups that are doing the great work of uplifting the community and tackling biphobia. Here are a few to get you started: Bi Pride UK (biprideuk.org), Biscuit (thisisbiscuit.org.uk) and Bi Survivors Network (bisurvivorsnetwork.org). But there are many many more. Don’t forget to look into whether you have a local bisexual network or organisation that could use your support. 

Disclaimer: I am in no way a therapist, or professional coach in any way. This advice is just based on my own lived experience and would likely change for each nuanced individual. But I hope that you can take something from this. DIVA does not necessarily agree or disagree with the statements made in this column.

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