This Bi Awareness Week, let’s uplift and celebrate all bi people!

By Matt Rogan

Group of diverse bisexuals at a Bisexual Pride march in London

Bi Awareness Week, and - soon - Bi Visibility Day, is upon us! Throughout the year, we have
many days of visibility, weeks of awareness, all focusing on various identities within the
LGBTQ+ community, and in September we focus on bisexuality. Some would argue that bi
visibility has come a long way in recent years, which is partly true. There’s clearly a greater
understanding of bisexuality and bi representation, but at the same time there’s much to be
addressed surrounding biphobia.

For me, the greatest example of why bi representation and visibility is so important is, in
fact, centred around the reason why Bi Visibility Day is 23rd September: Freddie Mercury.
Speaking of Bi Visibility Day’s creation, Wendy Curry said that “we all loved the great
bisexual, Freddie Mercury. His birthday was in September, so why not Sept? We wanted a
weekend day to ensure the most people would do something. Gigi's birthday was Sept 23rd.
It fell on a weekend day, so poof! We had a day.” Whenever I’ve told people, mostly cishet
individuals, that Freddie Mercury was bisexual, they always seem surprised! We celebrate
bisexual visibility on the date of birth of one of the world’s biggest bi icons, but a lot of
people aren’t even aware that he was bi, not gay!

Personally, when I was growing up, I admit I had a similar experience when it came to
people labelling my sexuality. I came out young at aged 14 to those around me as bi, but a
lot of people at the time seemed to dismiss this. It was either “so you’re basically gay,
then?” or “bi doesn’t exist!”. Now, I’m so much more confident telling people that I identify
under the term “bi” but, honestly? It’s taken a long time for me to have that confidence.
When I was 16, I just told people I was gay because it’d be a chore having to explain
bisexuality (and fight the biphobia attached to every conversation), but now – as a 22-year-
old – I’m not only proud to say the words “bi” (specifically “pan”, as it comes under the bi
umbrella), I also don’t feel that fear of having to argue and defend my identity.

Even the media at the time I first came out was flawed when it came to representing bi
people; I remember specifically the conversation between Glee’s Kurt and Blaine, where
Kurt tells Blaine “Bisexual is a term that gay guys in high school use when they want to hold
hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change”. Retrospectively this
conversation seems almost archaic (even though it was only released in 2011!) because in
2022, there would be great outrage at one queer person telling another such a thing.

The good news is, bisexual representation in the media has come a long way since then! The
most recent example, perhaps, is Heartstopper’s Nick Nelson. The conversation between Kit
Connor’s Nick and Olivia Colman as his mother is one of the most touching, heart-warming,
and emotional in examples of media I’ve come across because it shows both acceptance of
bisexuality and understanding of what it is. As Nick himself says, in a conversation so
normalised it helped many others come out to their parents in real life, “Charlie’s my
boyfriend. I still like girls, but I like boys too”. This moment in media, I would argue, has
been incredibly pivotal for helping young bisexual people, and it’s made a massive change
for the better.

Unfortunately, focusing on bi visibility and awareness means we must also look at the
remaining flaws and issues as well as the positives. I said earlier in this article that there’s a
greater understanding of bisexuality, but whilst that’s the case there is certainly a great deal
of biphobia attached to other forms of bigotry in 2022: namely transphobia. Something that
is increasingly common nowadays is the unfortunate fact that many people who spout
transphobia are also inclined to let their mask fall off disguising their biphobia.

Possibly the most recent example is the biphobic rhetoric highlighted on Twitter’s
@GCBiphobia. I personally wouldn’t advise going down the rabbit hole of rhetoric quoted
on this account, but examples that show the ties between transphobia and biphobia include
the argument that bisexuality cannot possibly exist because “86%+ of “bisexuals” are in
heterosexual relationships”. There is also the unfortunate fact that some so-called “gender
critical” politicians in our parliament share the same biphobic views; one particular MP
commented that “queer men married to women ‘appropriate gay culture in a way that is
deeply offensive’”. The idea that bisexuality is based around who you are currently dating is
farcical. If you are bi, you are bi - nobody can take that away from you or dictate to you who
you are.

So, if you’re reading this and questioning your own validity as a member of the LGBTQ+
community, take it from me – you’re valid and you’re awesome! This bisexual awareness
week, I believe we should all use this time as an opportunity to uplift everyone who is bi and
remind them a very simple, yet very important message: You are valid, you are loved, and
you are as welcome as every other queer person in the LGBTQ+ community. Happy Bi
Awareness Week!