By Ruby Sayar (she/her), 15 years old, editor
September 23, 2023
September 23 is the 24th anniversary of Bi Visibility Day (also known as Bisexuality Celebration Day and Bisexual Pride Day). It is an opportunity to show support for people who identify as bisexual and/or biromantic (romantic attraction to more than one gender).
Greater bisexual visibility is the opposite of bisexual erasure, which is an attempt to downplay, deny, or devalue bisexual people. With greater visibility, hopefully some of the misconceptions, myths and misunderstandings about this sexual orientation can be addressed.
Uplifting bisexual voices
Why is visibility important for those who identify as bisexual?
There is sometimes an assumption, even within the queer community, that sexual orientation can only be gay or straight. This can push people to stick to labels without exploring their options and what feels most authentic to them. Bias and erasure of sexual orientation can affect teens, whether they are wondering or becoming more certain about how they identify.
When someone is attracted to more than one gender, “bisexual” often seems like the correct and most representative label. But shaming or discrediting bisexuality can lead young people to believe that something is wrong with them if they identify as bisexual, which could lead to confusion or self-hatred.
Acceptance and representation are important to elevate bisexual voices. “Bisexual representation is essential to promoting inclusion, compassion and understanding,” says Rebecca (she/her), 17, from West Palm Beach, Florida. “It validates experiences and promotes a more diverse and tolerant society.” By understanding and respecting bisexuality, you are challenging bi-invisibility and validating those who identify as bisexual. Educating yourself and others about bisexuality helps raise awareness!
Some confusion about labels
One misunderstanding I’ve seen frequently has to do with the term bisexual itself. For example, there is sometimes confusion between the terms bisexual and pansexual.
Bisexuality is attraction to more than one gender. Instead, pansexuality can be attraction to any gender, or attraction to people regardless of their gender identity. If you identify as pansexual, you may be attracted to someone no matter what their gender identity is, while bisexuality generally means attraction to multiple gender identities.
It is a nuanced topic and it is up to each individual to decide what is best for them. I identify with bisexuality because I am attracted to people of various genders, but not independently of them. For me, gender and gender expression is an important factor when it comes to attraction. Therefore, bisexuality is what feels right to me.
The most important takeaway is that you should have the freedom to identify yourself in a way that feels true to you. And you shouldn’t be ashamed of that!
This September 23, celebrate bisexuality as part of Bi Visibility Day!