To celebrate Bisexual Awareness Week, here’s our guide to supporting and uplifting your bi friends and family
BY ELLA GAUCI, IMAGE BY ADRIRODRIFOTO
Happy Bisexual Awareness Week! This week we’re here to celebrate, support, and amplify the voices of bisexual people.
While most people have heard of bisexuality, there’s often a lot of stigma and misconceptions which come with the label. Often facing discrimination from both straight and other queer people, being bisexual can feel isolating.
Here are five ways that you can be an ally to the bisexual community this week (and for all weeks to come)!
Listen to bisexual voices in queer spaces
In a Stonewall report about being bi in the UK, they found that 27% of bisexual women faced discrimination from people within the LGBTQIA community. A respondent in the survey said: “‘[I was] treated as a pariah for being bisexual, including being told that I ‘wasn’t really a minority’ as I could ‘pass for being straight’ whenever I supposedly liked.”
In order to be an ally to the bisexual community, we need to stamp out this sort of rhetoric. Bisexual people are just as valid as any other letter within the LGBTQIA acronym and should be treated with respect in queer spaces. Give bisexual people a platform to speak about their identity freely and without the worry that they may be labelled as “too straight” if they express themselves.
Remember that queerness does not have one definition or look and that bisexual people have just as much right to be in queer spaces as anyone else.
Don’t be biphobic when dating
“It’s just a preference!” I hear you cry. A preference would perhaps be wanting someone who could snowboard or speak fluent Swedish. But if you refuse to date someone purely because they are bisexual, you’re being biphobic. Whether you realise it or not, you’re weaponizing stereotypes such as bisexual people being cheaters or unfaithful against the community. As long as you both find each other attractive and compatible, what should it matter if they’re bi or not?
Stop making stereotyped assumptions and jokes
On the back of the last point, let’s stop making biphobic comments masked as jokes. It’s not particularly funny to say that all bisexual people cheat. Or that all bisexual women are actually just straight. Or that bisexual men are just gay. All of these sorts of jokes invalidate bi experiences and often mean that bisexual people don’t feel comfortable talking about their love lives to others in fear of being judged. I’m sure you can find some new material for your comedy routine.
Educate yourself on bisexual issues
Aside from the obvious “double closet” that we have to navigate, the bisexual community has to tackle a number of issues which are often ignored by the wider LGBTQIA community. Bisexual people are more likely to develop mental health problems than lesbian or gay people. Other issues such as bullying, feeling uncomfortable coming out at work, and a variety of health-related issues all stem from the stigma surrounding bisexuality.
Combat bi erasure
If you’re talking about queer issues, make sure to use language that includes bisexual people. It can be easy to use words like “gay” when talking about topics, but these sorts of generalisations about what you think the LGBTQIA community looks like immediately strips bisexual people of their queerness. Try using words like “queer” instead which encaptures people of all identities.
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