What is bisexuality?
Leading bi advocate and author Robyn Ochs defines bisexuality as "the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
Some people who have the capacity to be attracted to people of any gender choose other words to describe their sexual orientation, such as: bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, omnisexual, fluid, or queer. Some people prefer to avoid any label at all.
Bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility is a pervasive problem in which the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality (either in general or in regard to an individual) is questioned or denied outright.
For example, referring to two married women as a "lesbian couple" without considering that one or both women identifies as bi. Others may insist that she can’t really be bisexual, her orientation doesn’t matter, or her bisexual identity shouldn't be mentioned now that she is partnered. Considering a bisexual person either gay or straight depending on the sex of the person's partner, or calling bisexuals "allies" to the LGBT community, are also forms of bi erasure. Undermining the validity of bisexuality by calling it a "phase" or "confusion" is also an act of erasure. Bisexual erasure plays a critical role in reducing the community's visibility, and in turn reducing access to the resources and support opportunities bisexual people so desperately need.
(Graphic credit: Bisexual Resource Center)
Tell the bi community, "I've #GotYourBack"
Bisexual Awareness Week exists to accelerate acceptance for the bi community. #BiWeek draws attention to the public policy concerns of bisexual people while also celebrating the resiliency of bisexual culture and community. Throughout #BiWeek, allies and bi people learn about the history, culture, community and current policy priorities of bi communities.
Thankfully, the bisexual community has displayed a high level of resiliency and, despite many challenges, has worked to create awareness of important public policy priorities for bi people. Whether it be speaking with President Obama about the bisexual community, launching bisexuality-related social media campaigns, or advocating for fair treatment in the media, the bisexual community’s hard work towards equality should be recognized and supported.
If you are interested in learning more about bi history, identity, culture, politics, and community, please contact one of the three U.S. based bisexual non-profit community organizations to be connected with trainers affiliated with the Bisexual Resource Center, Bisexual Organizing Project, and/or BiNet USA.
Following GLAAD's campaign and public outcry urging Dear Prudence columnist Emily Yoffe to improve her advice to bisexual readers, Slate's syndicated writer did just that this morning.