Divya Iyer, I Year B.S.W
23rd September is known for being one of the two equinoxes, but less common is the knowledge that it marks bisexual visibility day, or as it is often abbreviated, ‘bi-visibility day’. This is the day that bisexuals can be unapologetic about their identities.
While bisexual individuals do not face the same difficulties and prejudices as homosexual individuals, there is still a fair amount of prejudice from people when it comes to bisexuality. The ambiguity associated with an identity that is “neither here, nor there” often worries people, who may think that bisexuals are just “gay people afraid to come out properly” or “straight people who want to sound interesting” or, as almost every identity in the LGBTQ+ spectrum has heard before, are just “going through a phase.”
Furthermore, bisexuals are often discriminated within the community itself – for not being queer enough, or something like that. Bisexuals are told to “pick a side,” and are perpetually reminded that their identity is not good enough. Of course, not all people are biphobic – the term used to describe someone prejudiced against bisexual individuals – just as not all people are homophobic, but a fair number are.
It is important to note that bisexual individuals are less noticeable as bisexual due to this phenomenon called ‘bisexual erasure.’ When we see a girl and a boy in a relationship, our first assumption is that they’re both heterosexual, which need not be true.
One or both of them may be bisexual. Similarly, perceiving same-sex relationships as two homosexual people together may also not be true. Add in the context of other identities, such as polysexuality and pansexuality and you get an entropic scenario where you don’t ever know what people identify as unless they tell you themselves.
The concept of erasure has to do with invalidating these identities- refusing to give them the space and recognition they need, possibly even denying their existence. Such attitudes are highly disrespectful, not to mention toxic and harmful.
The bottom line, of course, is that of respect. Why do bisexual individuals require a day to themselves, to celebrate their identity and be proud of it? If one gives them due respect and visibility, we would not need to schedule an extra day in the calendar for remembering them. After all, as Depeche Mode says, people are people. What’s there not to love?