Bisexuals Front and Center
As part of GLAAD's ongoing series of posts dedicated to Celebrate Bisexuality Day, we invited bisexual people to share their stories and talk about what today means to them.
By Mimi Hoang, Ph.D.
A holiday is meant to make people pay attention to a significant cultural event or person, such as Independence Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Not only does it remind you of something important , it also can lead you to pay homage to that person or event in ways you might not otherwise year-round. Many people hang their U.S. flags and light fireworks for Fourth of July. Many remember Dr. King’s civil rights work on the third Monday of January. What does Celebrate Bisexuality impel people to do?
As a bi community organizer, educator, and activist for more than a decade, I have seen firsthand the ups and downs of a very marginalized and misunderstood community. After I came through my own rocky coming out journey, I co-founded and co-chaired the first ever bi student group at UCLA because I knew that there just had to be a safe, centralized space for other bi students who had struggled like me, just like there were spaces for gay and lesbian students, transgender students, and students of color on campus. Now, after founding another bi social group, developing a bi resource center, conducting bi clinical research, and presenting bi lectures and workshops, I can say that there just has to be a day to toast the bi community because it does not get accolades during other parts of the year, or at all.
With all the dismissing and bullying the bi community faces from prejudicial gays and straights alike, the bi community most certainly deserves to be put front and center, surrounded by cake, balloons, and cheers. For once, the bi community is the focus of attention, rather than living in the margins. Imagine that – that bisexuality is central with straightness and gayness surrounding. Actually I’ve always conceptualized the spectrum of sexuality that way. Many people have relationships with more than one gender. So every time I get a confused or mocking look when I tell people that September 23rd is Celebrate Bisexuality Day, it just impels me to continue my work as a community builder and educator. Every time I get a, “What exactly is bisexuality?” or “I just don’t like bisexuals,” it just keeps me going. Until one day I don’t have to.
Mimi Hoang, Ph.D. is an out bi psychologist, researcher, educator, community organizer, and activist. She is currently on the steering committee for the Los Angeles Bi Center, as well as co-organizer of the annual Bi/Fluid Pride March. Dr. Hoang co-founded and chaired AMBI (A Meeting of Bi Individuals), was the Bi Advisory Board Chair of ‘Ohana House/Asian Pacific Islanders for Human Rights, and co-founded and co-chaired Fluid UCLA. She completed a dissertation on bi identity and internalized biphobia and has conducted numerous lectures and workshops on bisexuality at conferences, universities, and community agencies.