Culture

Bisexuality Awareness Week: 4 Ways to Celebrate #BiWeek 2021

By Jayne Renault

Bisexuality is as old as humans themselves. But it wasn’t until the 90s we took measure to bring public awareness to the biggest chunk of the queer community. (Over half of the entire LGBTQ+ population identifies as bisexual.) International Celebrate Bisexuality Day started in 1999 when a trio of American bi activists — Wendy Curry, Gigi Raven Wilbur, and Michael Page —  banded together to raise awareness of bisexual issues. 

By then, they'd begun to pave the roads to gay rights for gay men and lesbians, but the bisexual community remained largely stigmatized, by straight and gay people alike. GLAAD and BiNet USA have since joined forces to expand this event to the Bisexual Awareness Week, which runs annually from September 16 to 23 to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and champion the bi+ (including bisexual, pansexual, fluid, no label, and queer) community.

Whether you’re quietly questioning, loud and proud, or just here to support your brilliant bisexual pals, here are a few things to keep in mind while you celebrate your Bi Pride this year:

1. Debunk the myths

We’ve made progress and that is worth celebrating! But there’s still a long way to go. Bisexuality is still shrouded in a lot of myth and stigma that keeps our bi siblings from living their most authentic lives.

Bisexuals are still stereotyped as indecisive, greedy, more likely to cheat. It’s assumed that they’re just experimenting — “giving it the old college try" —  or they're demonized for not “picking a side.” They're forced to “prove” their bisexuality based on a transcript of sexual experiences. They're told they aren’t queer enough if they haven’t had sex with enough different people. Or that it's the gender of their partner that actually determines whether they’re straight or gay.

What Bisexuality is not:

- A phase

- Indecisiveness

- A kink

- Transphobic

- An excuse to cheat

- A reason to mistrust a potential partner

- Determined by who your partner is

- Determined by past sexual experiences

What Bisexuality is:

- The capacity for emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction to more than one gender

- May or may not manifest itself in terms of sexual interaction

- Something some people have always known while others discover it about themselves later in life; everyone’s story is their own

- Whatever it looks like for you, a self-identified bisexual person

- Valid

2. Let the flag teach you one of the most important things about bisexuality

The most recognizable symbol of bisexual pride is the bisexual flag. And the pink, purple, and blue stripes of the flag hold an important message within them. The pink represents same-sex attraction and the blue represents heterosexual attraction. But it’s the purple we need to pay the most attention to. It symbolizes attraction all across the gender spectrum.

A common misconception is that bisexuality means being attracted to two genders: (cis) men and women. In fact, bisexuality is officially described as having the capacity to be attracted to more than one gender.

We've seen in-fighting on this point. But the insinuation that bisexuality excludes trans people is a gross misinterpretation. Bisexuality has always included non-binary and trans people.

3. Embrace the memes

As a millennial bisexual, the meme culture that has grown in our attempt to find and cultivate community has been an integral, important part of my queer experience. And I know I’m not alone in that. Thanks to the memes, I’ve made friends and honed my flirting skills and met my girlfriend in ways that have thus proven difficult if not IRL.

A meme takes something innocuous and turns it into something relatable that we can rally around. In some cases, it helps reaffirm our place in a community. When the all-too-common experience for queer people, and bisexuals especially, is to feel invisible and stay hidden, the power in feeling seen and understood is no small thing.

A non-exhaustive list of my fave memes and stereotypes that bisexuals have claimed as a community include:

- Excessive use of hand gestures, most notably finger guns, peace signs, and the OK sign

- You cuff your jeans

- Flannel, leather jackets, and/or hoodies are a staple for your esthetic

- Not needing to change the pronouns when singing along to love songs

- You are a pun master

- You sit in chairs wrong

- You’re bad at math

- You’re attracted to women and non-binary people and boys who look freshly risen from the grave and might not have a pulse…

- You have an inexplicable love for frogs

- And frogs in tiny hats

- You are just a huge frog simp, ok

- You made holes in your long-sleeved shirts/sweaters to put your thumbs through

- You don’t know how to drive (or you drive really well, but in a way that terrifies your passengers)

- You tuck the front of your baggy shirt into your jeans (aka the French Tuck)

- You were a greek mythology nerd as a kid

- You love lemon bars

While stereotyping can be limiting and even dangerous, there is an undeniable power in being able to claim your identity, integrate with community, laugh at yourself, and maybe even make some friends and lovers along the way.

4. (Re-) Watch The Mummy

Perhaps the most important part of bi culture and history is how a bisexual is made. 

Everyone knows that we are not born bisexual, but that we watched the 1999 masterpiece “The Mummy” starring everyone’s fave himbo Brendan Fraser and the eternally gorgeous Rachel Weisz (along with a whole host of other babes) and became bisexual.

I also refuse to believe that it was a mere coincidence that the first Bi Pride day happened within 4 months of the theatrical release of this film. So, please. Take some time this week to enjoy a re-watch of this crew of stunners thwarting ancient curses in the desert, to pay homage to our collective queer origin story.

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Jokes aside, bisexuality comes in many shapes and sizes. Your bisexual experience, whatever that looks like, however that feels, however it has played out and continues to evolve for you is valid. If you are bisexual, you are 100% bisexual enough. Full stop. And anyone who tries to tell you otherwise can’t sit with us. 

Happy Bi Pride!

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