Celebrating the Bi Community
This annual event on 23 September has been marked by the University every year since 2012.
Bi-Visibility Day has been marked nationally since 1999 and is a call for the bisexual community, their friends and supporters to recognise and celebrate bisexuality, bisexual history, bisexual community and culture, and all the bisexual people in their lives.
Here at the University of Manchester we have a significant bisexual population – with 2.3% declaring their sexual orientation as ‘bisexual’ in the 2019 Staff Survey.
Bi is an umbrella term used to describe a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender.
Bi people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including, but not limited to, bisexual, pan, queer, and some other non-monosexual and non-monoromantic identities.
Pan refers to a person whose romantic and/or sexual attraction towards others is not limited by sex or gender.
Queer is a term used by those wanting to reject specific labels of romantic orientation, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It can also be a way of rejecting the perceived norms of the LGBT community (racism, sizeism, ableism etc). Although some LGBT people view the word as a slur, it was reclaimed in the late 80s by the queer community who have embraced it.
Recognising Bi-Visibility Day
You can read profiles of some of our bisexual members on our ALLOUT Profile pages or listen to an It Gets Better Podcast
We have a special Zoom background for people to use - if you would like a copy, please message firstname.lastname@example.org or visit this page
What else can you do?
- Take a picture of yourself with your Zoom or Teams background and Tweet it to @BiVisibilityDay using #BiVisibility.
- Wear colours of the biflag to show support to friends and colleagues.
- Contribute to Wikipedia - you can edit the pages of bi celebs!. This video gives a flavour of what you can do.
- Watch the very first TED Talk on bisexuality, or this TED Talk which looks at bi-erasure.
- Look at these Workplace stories of Amy, Pierette and Stella from Stonewall about being bi in the workplace
- Familiarise yourself with our LGB Guidance for managers.
- Check and update your equality details in MyView and encourage others to do the same.
- Read all about The Kinsey Scale which describes a person's sexual orientation.
- Become a member of ALLOUT – the LGBT Staff Network Group or become an ALLOUT Ally - supporting all LGBT+ Staff – you will even learn how to be a bi-ally - plus all allies get a choice of LGBT+ lanyard to wear! ALLOUT members who are not bi can also become a bi-ally via this route too.
Bi-Visibility Day: The Journey to Becoming Visible
The 23rd September is Bi-Visibility day. You might wonder why it is needed or what you can do to help.
Bi people and bi experiences are often erased, ignored or dismissed both inside and outside the LGBTQ+ community. We are told we are ‘just being greedy’ or ‘going through a phase’ or ‘confused’; phrases that label Bi identities as shameful, performative, invalid or non-existent.
As a bisexual, cisgender woman cohabiting with a cisgender, male partner, many people make assumptions about my identity. Often, they see me as straight or devalue my attraction to people of the same and other genders because my long term partner is male. My bi identity could quite easily be concealed, which is a blessing as well as a curse. While anonymity affords bi people a certain passing privilege, it also contributes to erasure and can be confusing, hurtful and lead people to feel that they are not living as their authentic self. There is a fabulous TEDx talk on this with Misty Gedlinske entitled Bisexuality: the invisible letter ‘B’.
When I was younger, bi role models were harder to find and I dismissed my attraction to people of the same gender because I was also attracted to people of other genders. In a heteronormative world, the obvious and easy choice was to stick with the ‘straight’ label. It’s only over the past 5 years that I have come to fully embrace my identity.
Stonewall have stated that ‘only one in five bi people are out to all their family compared to three in five gay men and lesbians’ and ‘two in five bi people hide or disguise their sexual orientation at work’. This speaks volumes about how coming out as bi is received; no one should have to explain or justify their identity.
As a bi person, it can often feel like we don’t fit in to the communities around us. Navigating heteronormative spaces can feel challenging and LGBTQ+ spaces can feel unwelcoming. We often don’t feel like we are ‘enough’.
After spending most of my life being uncertain about how to express myself, I make the choice every day to identify openly as bisexual. For me, that choice includes the clothes I wear, the way I present myself and the lifestyle I choose to live. Personally, my journey with non-monogamy has been important to me in expressing my bisexuality although this is not the choice that everyone makes. It is important to acknowledge the diversity of experience within the bi community and accept all bi people without exception.
Ultimately, who you are and how you identify is for you (and only you!) to decide. I am hoping that through being more visible, I can help others to feel safe and supported in their journey to becoming visible as a bi person.
If you want to learn more about Bi Visibility and find out about how you can be a supportive ally, you can have a look at Stonewall’s Bi Visibility Hub.
You can contact the EDI Team with any questions or to request a bi/allies lanyard: email@example.com