Happy Bi Visibility Day!

Happy Bi Visibility Day, everyone! It's the one day in the year when us bisexuals can finally be seen with the naked eye!

Okay, I'm done being corny - but I'm really glad we have a day to be visible, since we're often ignored or told we're somehow "wrong" by more people than I care to list. (I am angry that basically anyone under the LGBTQIAP+ umbrella who isn't cis L or G is ignored or marginalised.)

(I will be using LGBTQIAP+, even though it's not exhaustive, because other acronyms such as MOGAI [Marginalised Orientations, Genders and Intersex] and GSRM [Gender, Sexual and Romantic Minorities] are less well-known, and LGBTQQIP2SA is long. I personally do not have extremely strong feelings about any of the acronyms, as they're all a bit "eh". I feel like I have now covered most or all of the bases. Sorry if you are now knee-deep in discourse, but I feel like to a certain extent this is required or at the very least extremely common if you don't want to get shouted at.)

I feel like there are a couple of main barriers to visibility. I would like them to be torn down; it's not right that we should feel like we have to lie about our sexuality.

Assuming people are straight
I can understand why the assumption of heterosexuality exists: something like 95% of the population is straight. It's comparatively rare to meet people who aren't. More to the point, it's only fairly recently that not being straight or cis has started to gain acceptance - in many parts of the world it will get you hurt or killed. Not being straight or cis is still very much being Other and different. That permeates everyday life.

The problem is that when people aren't straight, they have to explain why the assumption is wrong. It leads to things like demanding you "prove" your lack of straightness, which happens everywhere from casual conversation all the way up to having to prove you're not straight or risk deportation to a country which persecutes you. It is not an exaggeration to say that the assumption of heterosexuality can kill.

There will probably be at least one person who asks "well, do I assume that somebody's gay then?". I feel that this is really disingenuous, because not assuming anything is a viable alternative. We have gender-neutral terms for romantic and sexual partners, and "they" has been used in a gender-neutral sense for centuries. It's used quite commonly.

Prove you're "really" bisexual!
This one really, really upsets me. It goes hand in hand with assuming that people are straight. If you think someone's straight and then they claim to be something else, of course you're going to ask for proof.

The problem is that it's not always easy to give proof. For me, bisexuality is in attraction. Trying to get data out of that requires measuring arousal. Even if people could get that data easily, this is like asking a complete stranger for their medical records.

...So most people base their evaluations on your sexual partners. This is biased as all hell, especially against people with few or no sexual partners at all, and it's ridiculously easy for someone who's already assuming you're faking it to conveniently discount some of your partners.

It's pretty invasive and upsetting to feel like you've got to disclose something fairly intimate about yourself just to be believed. Imagine if someone came up to you, disbelieved you about your sexual orientation, and then demanded proof. You'd be insulted too.

A variation on this is talking to someone about "fake bisexuals" - someone else has told you they're bi, but you don't believe it, and now you're telling someone else. I can't speak for other people, but for me this is the equivalent of writing "DON'T TRUST ME" on your forehead. The other thing is that bisexuals are not always attracted equally to different genders. Some of us are, but not always. Some people are more attracted to different genders at different times. The key point is "attraction to multiple genders", not "attraction to multiple genders equally".

So you disbelieve someone? I'm not going to lecture you on your morals, as I don't believe it would have any point, but someone's sexuality not manifesting itself as you expect is no skin off your nose.

Bisexuals are half-gay, or half-straight and don't belong in LGBTQIAP+ spaces
This is based on some weird assumption that bisexuals are what happens if you blend a straight person and a gay person together.

I view it slightly differently: bisexuality is fundamentally different. It's about being attracted to multiple genders, rather than exclusively your gender or exclusively a different gender. So it's not about being half-gay, or about bisexuality being "just a phase". (Some people have been in that phase all their lives and are quite happy there. Shocker, I know.) We're also not confused: we're quite certain of our identities, thanks very much.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of marginalisation and erasure in LGBTQIAP+ spaces, and it can be hard if you feel like you don't fit a certain image, or you don't feel "gay enough".

We belong. Never forget that bisexual people were and are instrumental in LGBTQIAP+ liberation.

The belief that bisexuals are greedy
Being told this winds me up no end. Like most biphobic tropes, it makes absolutely no sense and it's needlessly cruel.

The idea seems to be that because bisexual people are attracted to multiple genders, we can't be happy unless we're having sex with everyone all of the time.

I don't like comparing people to food, but consider this analogy: Imagine some people like cake and some people like ice cream. Imagine, too, that some people like cake and ice cream at the same time.

Are those people greedy? No - they just like different foods. Being attracted to multiple genders says nothing about how you act on that attraction.

Some bisexuals are in monogamous relationships. Some bisexuals aren't. Some bisexuals don't want long-term relationships at all. Some bisexuals only want long-term relationships. It's to do with someone's personality, not their sexuality.

And yes, some bisexuals do cheat, or screw over their partners, or act abusively. We're regular human beings, not angels or devils. That's on the individual. Not their sexuality.

So there you go. We're visible, we're complex, and we're here.