September 23 marks the 20th anniversary of Bi Visibility Day. Also referred to as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, this LGBTQ holiday was founded in 1999 to shed light on biphobia and help individuals learn more about the bisexual community.
This day also kicks off Bisexual Awareness Week which runs until September 30. It was during the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) conference in Johannesburg, South Africa that the first Bisexual Visibility Day was first observed.
Roughly 40 percent of Americans in the LGBTQ community identify as bisexual and 63 percent of Americans believe bisexual individuals should be accepted by society, Pew Research Center reports.
According to LGBTQ Nation, Bi Visibility Day is a very special day that shines a spotlight on the unique challenges members of the bisexual community face. This is also a day where individuals of the LGBTQ community celebrate the growing number of organizations all around the world dedicated to visibility and equality for people who identify as bisexual.
For many, this is also a day to turn to social media to share very personal coming out stories. Some even use this as a day to bust myths related to what it means to be bisexual.
In 2017, there were over 130 events across 35 different countries that celebrated Bi Visibility. Jen Yockney, who has maintained the Bi Visibility Day website for two decades, confirmed this was a new record for the holiday. This parade of events included talks, film screenings, socials, picnics, and exhibitions all centered around bisexual equality and inclusion.
"I've been organizing events marking Bi Visibility Day since 1999 and the transformation in that time is huge. We are more talked about and more heard as bi people than ever before; yet also the challenges and particular needs of bisexuals have been thrown into sharper relief over that time."Yockney added as she opened up about the challenges in the bisexual community: "Far from the 'best of both worlds' cliche, the challenge of either persistently reasserting your bisexuality or having part of your life erased proves wearing for many bi people. Where lesbians and gay men have one closet to escape, many bi people find that leaving the one closet leads to being put in another." Why is this day so important?
One of the key reasons why this day is so important is because individuals who identify as bisexual face double the discrimination from both the heterosexual and homosexual community. This is why, according to the Office for National Statistics, people in the bisexual community tend to experience a lower quality of life with more stress and less happiness. Bi Visibility Day is about bringing those numbers and those stressors down by helping those individuals find a community they belong to and people they can relate to.According to Pink News, medical studies also show women who identify as homosexual and bisexual have the greatest risk of developing diabetes due to the excessive amount of stress. Jen believes the solution to the challenges the bisexual community face is all about "greater bisexual visibility" and "helping more bis find a space where they are neither in the 'straight closet' nor the gay one."