Since 1999, Bisexual Visibility Day, or International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, has been celebrated on Sept. 23. On this day, countries all over the world host events to help celebrate bisexuality and bring awareness to the erasure and other struggles bisexuals face inside and outside the LGBTQIA+ community.
On Monday, people all over the world will be partaking in events such as art gallery openings, sexuality-based discussions and meet-ups. On the Bi Visibility Day website, over 30 countries currently have events posted for this year’s celebration.
Some people may ask what the purpose of having a celebration specifically revolving around bisexuality is. September 23 is not only a celebration of identity and self expression, but the day also brings awareness to the challenges of bi-erasure and biphobia that exist.
Bi-erasure is when bisexuals are excluded because their sexuality is not seen as valid or genuine. Bisexuals face this bi-erasure within the LGBTQIA+ community as well, leaving a lot of bisexuals to feel unwelcome in either the ally or gay community.
Invalidating someone’s sexuality is extremely harmful, as identity and sexuality are very personal things. Being told that your sexual identity “doesn’t exist” and “isn’t real” is damaging to a lot of people as they are figuring out their preferences.
That is the reason that this day is so important. Bringing light to the validity of bisexuality and showing acceptance will encourage those struggling with their personal identities to know that what they are feeling is okay, and that they are not alone.
Raising awareness about bi-erasure outside of the LGBTQIA+ community is also critical. It also helps educate everyone, because at some point in your life you will interact with someone who identifies somewhere on the bisexuality spectrum.
Some people see bisexuality as only a “stepping stone” to coming out as gay, or they see bisexual people as too afraid to come out of the closet fully. While some people do go through that process, there are so many people who identify as bisexual who don’t feel valid because they hear that they aren’t “gay enough” or “straight enough,” or that they just “can’t make up their minds.”
Being accepting and open-minded toward other people doesn’t mean you get to pick and choose who you deem as “valid.” We are all humans, and at the end of the day, love is love. There’s no point in excluding anyone. So if you want to love two genders, all the power to you. If you want to love all genders, hell yeah.
If someone you care about comes out to you as bisexual, support them and validate them. Even if you personally don’t understand, that’s okay — you don’t have to. Being an accepting ally and just a kind human being is the best thing you can do in any situation, on Sept. 23 and every other day of the year.
For resources and more information regarding bi-erasure and biphobia, visit the Bisexual Resource Center’s website.