Today is internationally known as BiVisibility Day. it’s a time for recognising and celebrating members of the community who identify as bisexual. In the 12 months since the last BiVisibility Day the tide appears to be changing somewhat for bisexuals.
First came the news from YouGov which found that whilst only 6% of 18-24 year olds identified as gay, 43% said that they did not identify as gay or straight, indicating varying degrees of bisexuality. This officially made bisexuals the biggest subgroup of the LGBT with the orientation relating to more people than the other subgroups combined.
More recently a study carried out in Australia made headlines by finding that bisexual men trumped straight men when it came to finding a life partner. The School of Health and Social Development found that 'Women in relationships with bisexual men say their partners are better lovers and fathers than straight men.'
I love being bisexual, to be able to find people interesting and attractive regardless of gender. It's a perspective on life that not many people are lucky enough to experience. I've dated men, I've dated women, I've fallen in love with both and no I don't have a preference. To be honest I really don't see what the big deal is.
Despite these encouraging developments there is still a long way to go for bisexuals in the UK. Even with almost half of young people identifying with the orientation, Britain has no bisexual magazines, venues or socialising apps. Meaning that for bisexuals in the UK there are not a lot of places to turn for more information or to find others like themselves.
There is also a big issue with gay men using bisexuality as a stepping stone on their way out of the closet. Many gay men will spend some time telling people they are bisexual to gauge peoples' reaction before coming out as gay. This has made bisexuality discreditable as a large number of people now think of it as a step on the way to becoming gay. The truth is these men were never bisexual, they were always gay they just didn’t know or accept it at the time.
What many people seem to not realise is that being bisexual isn’t a phase it is a lifelong sexuality. I know that I will be attracted to both genders for the rest of my life and to me that’s a privilege.
Celebrities such as Tom Daley and Ollie Locke have done some serious damage to bisexuals, they have both publicly made bisexuality look like a phase and as a bisexual it is disheartening that no-one pulled them up on it. Whilst I would never want to criticise anyone’s coming out journey, when their actions directly affect me I take issue. I think in the modern world what we really need now is a new word to describe those years of sexual exploration/confusion because that world is NOT bisexual.
The reason I began talking about my bisexuality was mainly because of the discrimination my girlfriend was receiving. She was getting comments like 'are you the one whose boyfriend is gay?' or ‘’You know your relationship is just a phase to him right?' It was distressing to see my girlfriend becoming a victim of biphobia.
The truth is, in the UK biphobia is a tolerated form of discrimination, people don't realise the damage they do when they say 'I think maybe you might just be gay.' I'm 25 years-old yet strangers think they know more about what turns me on than I do and it's outrageous.
It's a shame really I do feel like some subgroups have done much better out of the LGBT movement than others. Gay men have achieved unimaginable success, yet bisexuals are still trailing behind with the stabilisers on fighting to simply have their sexuality taken seriously.
My hope for the future is that we will see more resources for bisexuals; we’ll get better research, a bi magazine, bisexual venues and bi exclusive apps. If almost half of young people in the UK are open to the idea of dating both genders it seems like businesses are missing out on a lot money by not catering to this huge demographic.
Lewis Oakley is a London-baed journalist. Follow him on Twitter @lewyoaks
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