September 23, 2021
I’ve identified as bisexual (bi) for a few years now. I’ve experienced the good, the bad and the ugly, from support and acceptance to confusion and biphobia. But it wasn’t until recently that I found out that there’s a whole day dedicated to celebrating bisexuality, spreading awareness about biphobia and increasing the visibility of bisexuality!
Yes, ever since 1999, Celebrate Bisexuality Day has been celebrated on September 23. In honor of the day, I wanted to reflect on my experience as a bisexual person and offer some advice for others who identify as bi or are trying to figure out their sexual orientation.
First, a definition: bisexuality is emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction to more than one gender. A quick note: Celebrate Bisexuality Day is a part of Bisexual+ Awareness Week. The “+” is often added to show that some people who are attracted to more than one gender can identify as bi, pansexual, omnisexual and more. I identify as bi, so will use that term.
It’s OK not to have emotional, romantic and sexual attraction toward the same gender simultaneously. For example, someone could be emotionally and romantically attracted to one gender and sexually attracted to another. It’s important not to invalidate the range of different experiences a person who identifies as bi can have.
Riding the Roller Coaster
Being bi can feel like a roller coaster. My biggest moment of confusion was when I first fully realized my attraction to girls while I was in a relationship with a guy. This can be difficult, especially when people ask if I’ve ever been with a girl and then doubt my identity when I tell them I haven’t. It can be hard not to care what other people think, but when it comes to your sexual identity, it’s not about other people’s opinions, it’s about understanding yourself and your authenticity.
Finding out that other people who identify as bi share my experiences made me realize that instead of freaking out if I feel more attracted to girls one day and guys on another, I just need to embrace the roller coaster.
Biphobia from All Sides
Most people know about homophobia—prejudice toward gay people—but what some people don’t realize is that bi people can experience biphobia. It can come from all sides of the sexuality orientation spectrum, from heterosexual people to gay people and even from within yourself.
I’ve seen biphobia in the form of people saying “make a choice” or that it must be “a phase.” When I came out to some of my gay and lesbian friends, I expected to be accepted, just like I was accepting when they came out to me, but I was surprised when a few of them told me, “I feel like everyone is bisexual nowadays.”
If you’re experiencing biphobia, you don’t need to go through it alone. You can reach out to the GSA club if there’s one at your school, or trusted adults in your life. There are also some online resources listed at the end of this article.
You Are Valid
Sometimes I still don’t entirely feel like a part of the LGBQ+ community. I haven’t actually dated a girl (and I am still bi even if I don’t). I haven’t experienced the same ostracizing and oppression that many people in the lesbian and gay community have to face. However, that doesn’t make me or any other person who identifies as bi less valid.
Bisexuality is not a phase or a fad and it’s not an inability to make a decision. It’s a totally valid sexual orientation. If you are feeling attracted to more than one gender, you are normal!
Celebrate Bisexuality Day is about increasing awareness. And for people who aren’t bi, it’s about learning how to validate those who are.