Qmunity counters biphobia with Celebrate Bisexuality Day picnic
Do you believe that bisexual people enjoy the best of all worlds?
If so, you might be unaware that bisexuals often bear the brunt of direct or indirect discrimination from both gay and straight communities.
While we hear a lot about homophobia, and there's a growing awareness of transphobia, biphobia doesn't get much attention, if at all.
It's one that not only exists outside queer communities, but within them as well.
In the past, I have periodically interviewed individuals active in Vancouver's queer communities who were reluctant to identify themselves as bisexual. One interviewee feared how he might be perceived by other gay men. Another interviewee said that she never hears anyone in her community identify themselves as bisexual.
Such apprehensions speak to the pervasive problem of biphobia and the need for greater visibility and understanding of bisexual people.
Biphobic gay men or lesbians may fear that a person who claims to be bisexual is actually a closeted or confused gay person in denial. Gay men or lesbians may avoid or reject bisexual people they mistakenly think might have internalized homophobia.
And although the B in LGBT stands for bisexuals, they can be overlooked or rendered invisible in gay- or lesbian-dominant groups. They may also be marginalized in queer communities due to mistaken beliefs that bisexuals benefit from passing as straight. In actual fact, biphobia also exists in the straight world.
Straight people may write off a bisexual person's orientation as just a phase or incorrectly identify them as gay or lesbian and fail to acknowledge them as bisexual. They may reject bisexual people for fear that they'll make unwanted romantic or sexual advances on them or their partners (homophobia can be used against bisexual people).
In both queer and straight communities, people may negatively stereotype bisexuals as being noncommittal, untrustworthy, promiscuous, or greedy on the basis of their orientation alone. They may also be eroticized or demonized based on their sexuality.
And those are only just a few examples.
In response to all of this, Celebrate Bisexuality Day, on Sunday (September 23), was created in 1999 to raise greater awareness of bisexual issues and communities.
Here in Vancouver, B.C.'s queer resource centre Qmunity is holding a Bisexual and Pansexual Pride Picnic on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at Nelson Park (at Thurlow and Nelson streets). There'll be some snacks and drinks (no alcohol, unfortunately) as well as an acoustic musical guest. It's open to all bisexual people as well as partners, families, and allies.
Attendees are welcome to bring along their own dish to share and blankets or seating. The park is also dog-friendly.
If it rains (which is something that Vancouver is apparently prone to), things will move to either wheelchair-accessible Qmunity Generations (610–1033 Davie Street) or, if a large group, Score on Davie (1262 Davie Street).
For full details about the picnic, including childcare information, visit this Qmunity webpage.
If you're in search of further bisexual-specific local resources, Qmunity does have a support group for bisexual people as well as other general queer resources. There's also Bisexuals in Vancouver, a drop-in group for bisexual and bi-curious individuals.