Today, September 23, is Bi Visibility Day – also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day. Rishabh (pictured) – a 19-year-old alumni from the Stonewall Young Leaders program – writes for Attitude about his experiences as young bisexual guy.
One of the most negative things bi people (especially men) hear is the tag of invisibility. For example, my housemate's reaction after I revealed that I'm bi? "But I thought only girls were bi". I believe this happens because men find it difficult to be tagged bi - sometimes, you're looked down on by both gay and straight people.
Bi Visibility Day is important - but I believe one day isn't enough. Bi people, especially young bi people, need role models to give them hope. Talking about bi visibility should be a regular event, not just once a year event.
I believe I could be a good role model because I think I don't have a negative image among the people I've met. From a young age I was liked by relatives, neighbours and teachers because of my hard work and focused attitude. I think these small groups of people build up our society and if we portray a positive image to them, soon everyone would be more accepting of the bi community.
Intersectionality must not be forgotten – nor should the dual discrimination faced by so many people with multiple, minority identities. Nobody likes being discriminated against twice. Discrimination isn’t direct for the most part. Often it’s through exclusion, or distrust. Racism can be worse within the LGBT community because some people refuse to believe it exists “because our community understands marginalization and would not exercise it back”. This idea is ludicrous.
My message to others like me is to accept and embrace yourself and others and try to be the change you want to see in the world. I believe that this was the major takeaway for me from participating in the Stonewall Young Leaders programme. We sometimes focus so much on ourselves that we forget that we’re privileged and accepting this fact and then working towards helping others who aren’t privileged can make a world of difference.
info: Celebrate Bi Visibility Day and share your story using the #BiVisibilityDay Twitter hashtag or visiting the Bi Visibility Day Facebook page. For further information and resources visit The Bisexual Index, BiUK.org or Stonewall.
Liam Bale for Bi Visibility Day: 'Sexuality isn't just black or white, gay or straight'
Comedian Joe Lycett: 'Being bisexual has its own challenges'