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Topics In the News
 
Celebrating Bisexuality
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 09/23/13
Last updated on: 09/23/13
 
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Bisexual Pride Flag.

On September 23, 2013 many organizations are observing Celebrate Bisexuality Day in order to help make bisexuality more visible. Among the observances is a historic roundtable at the White House featuring bisexual advocates discussing issues facing bisexual Americans.

Celebrate Bisexuality Day has been celebrated on September 23 since 1999. The observance was proposed by three bisexual rights activists, Wendy Curry, Michael Page, and Gigi Raven Wilbur, in order to recognize bisexual culture and history.

The holiday is often celebrated on university campuses and other venues through events such as lectures, teach-ins, poetry readings, panels, and dances. This year marks the first time it has been observed at the White House.

The White House worked with prominent bisexual organizations Bisexual Resource Center, based in Boston, and BiNet USA, a national network of bisexual organizations, to arrange the roundtable.

The holiday was conceived not only to celebrate bisexuality, but also to counter the marginalization that bisexuals feel within both the straight and the gay and lesbian communities, particularly the tendency to label individuals as either heterosexual or homosexual as though those categories exhausted the range of sexual possibilities and orientations.

Bisexuals are marginalized both by biphobia, which denotes prejudice and intolerance directed toward bisexuals, and by bisexual erasure, which is the tendency to ignore, remove, or falsify evidence of bisexuality in historical records, academic materials, the news media, and other primary sources.

Biphobia is apparent in negative stereotypes of bisexuals as confused, insecure, and unable to commit. Bisexuals are sometimes accused of being promiscuous or suffering from internalized homophobia or accused of denying their homosexuality so that they can partake of heterosexual privilege.

In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure asserts that bisexuality and bisexuals do not really exist. More commonly, bisexuality and bisexuals are erased by the assumption that people who claim to be bisexual are really closeted homosexuals or in transition toward acceptance of their homosexuality.

Bisexual erasure also occurs when cultural and historical figures, such as writers and artists and politicians, who have had extensive sexual experience with both sexes are nevertheless referred to as gay or lesbian rather than bisexual.

Within glbtq activist circles, bisexual erasure is sometimes manifested when bisexuals are not accorded equal status in the movement for equal rights, perhaps on the assumption that bisexuals partake of the heterosexual privilege denied to gay, lesbian, and transgender people.

On September 23, we all need to honor bisexuals in history and in our own lives and join in the fight against biphobia and bisexual erasure.

 
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