Campaigning, programming essential to bisexual pride success

Sarah Simon, Associate Views Editor

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The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Identifying as bisexual comes with a host of problems: the assumption of promiscuity or attention-seeking. Some even operate under the idea that a bisexual person is basically straight. And even with events like Bisexual Visibility Week, bisexual pride is the silent, often ignored cousin of gay pride. Without active work to make these events familiar and recognizable, there will continue to be a stigma associated with the word.

Each year, Bisexual Pride Day falls on Sept. 23. The week surrounding that day is Bisexual Visibility Week.

Because Bisexual Visibility Week is a fairly small initiative, begun by three activists, Wendy Curry, Michael Page and Gigi Raven Wilbur, it mainly exists online. Few events are planned; this is not a pride festival or a rally. The website, bisexualweek.com, encourages observers to post about it online, using the hashtag #biweek.

Sadly, Visibility Week has been rendered fairly invisible since it has garnered almost no media attention. #biweek went mostly unnoticed, not trending on Twitter or Facebook this week. In order for an online movement, conversation and celebration to take place, more people need to start organizing.

With so much of the discussion about LGBT issues focusing on same-sex marriage, it is crucial to represent members of the community who do not fit into the binary of gay or straight. Bisexuality is real. Contrary to popular notions, an individual does not stop being bisexual, no matter the gender of the person they date.

The mere premise of focusing one week of the year on bisexual visibility is dangerous. Gay rights dominate LGBT politics. Bisexuality is not taken seriously. It is often passed off as a phase, or a synonym for promiscuity. Bisexual pride is combated with the concept of “passing privilege,” which essentially argues that bisexuals are privileged because they are capable of appearing straight.

Having to erase part of one’s identity to be socially accepted is not a privilege, however, and this concept serves to isolate bisexuals from both the LGBT community and the straight community. As the ‘B’ in LGBT, bisexuality deserves more recognition. Though this weeklong initiative has fallen short, hopefully it will take off and begin to open a space for conversation to grow.

It is a shame that Bisexual Visibility Week has not received the same attention paid to other pride events. Looking forward, stronger social media campaigning is crucial for ensuring the success of a movement focusing on visibility. With this campaigning, the implementation of widespread planned events and the creation of more participatory and community-oriented ways to identify with the movement, Bisexual Visibility Week could be real, visible and unifying. There is potential for Bisexual Visibility Week, it just has not yet been realized.