More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
The Holiday I Didn't Know Existed
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 Jackson S.
I did not know about Celebrate Bisexuality Day until last year, a week after it was over, when I was involved in my campus's LGBT group. The fact that none of us had heard about it is ironically an important part of what the day now means to me.
Even though many members of our group identified as bisexual, our bisexual-specific programming was (and still is) sorely lacking because people decided that gay and lesbian programs were more accessible to straight people and therefore a more important part of our program. Even transgender inclusion, so often overlooked, was more common than bisexual inclusion, to which I can attest because I have always been pigeonholed as “the trans guy” instead of “the bi guy.”
As a queer activist, it was frustrating how many bad excuses I would hear for our groups’ refusal to include bisexual programs:
“Bisexuality is included in gay and lesbian.”
“There aren't enough bisexuals to hold a program.”
“Bisexuality is too much of a choice.”
And my personal favorite:
“We need to worry about what we could sell to straight people.”
The few bisexual programs we did have only came into being after some intense conversations with people who were trying to block them.
For bisexuals like myself, this lack of visibility can take a horrible toll, especially when it is orchestrated by members of our own community. Our sexuality is too often treated like a burden, complication, or afterthought. We become a token addition to an acronym, rather than being truly celebrated.
On September of last year, it hit home for me how bad this problem really was. A whole day dedicated to celebrating our corner of the community, and nobody had heard of it.
But don't think that my assessment is in some way denigrating Celebrate Bisexuality Day! Quite the opposite. I think about Transgender Day of Remembrance, and how having that observance provided a time in which nobody could claim transgender issues were too irrelevant for inclusion.
Celebrate Bisexuality Day is a time when the only logical conclusion is to open up a dialogue in which bisexuality is included and, of course, celebrated. This is something I think bisexuals, especially those hidden within other queer people, really need. But, like bisexuality itself, it is difficult to advocate its inclusion when few realize it exists.
Jackson S. is a bisexual and transgender activist living in Wisconsin with his cat and three dogs. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, where he remains active in the LGBT community. In his free time he enjoys web design, camping, and writing science fiction.