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Bisexuals are forever asking: ‘Does the community welcome bi+ members?’

Bisexuals are forever asking: ‘Does the community welcome bi+ members?’

The bi+ group at Perth Pride.

In 2017, Bisexual+ Community Perth marched for the first time in the Pride parade with approximately 40 bi, pan and multi-gender attracted individuals, all letting their bi flag fly.

This year, in Perth’s biggest-ever Pride parade, close to 100 people marched with the bi banner. The message: we’re visible.

Bi visibility is important. Bisexual+ people make up the majority of the LGBTI community. However, we’re often treated like an after-thought and never sure if or where we’re welcome.

Does the community welcome bisexual members?

A [Perth community radio] RTRfm listener called to complain during the episode of All Things Queer for Bi Visibility Week this year, saying the show shouldn’t be about bisexual issues. Their message was that bi people aren’t really queer.

We’re forever asking ‘Does this safe space or that community group welcome bisexual+ members?’

To have 100 bi+ individuals marching together, showing the city, showing the community, showing the world that we exist was a watershed moment. We’re putting faces and bodies and signs to the name. We’re showing people like us that we see them too, and they don’t need to hide or be ashamed.

Bisexuals need to feel their experiences are valid

Photo: Lisa Max

Nathan Lee marched in Pride for the first time after coming out earlier this year.

‘I was struck by the size of the event. I think one of the reasons for that was that I had heard so little about it in the past, even though I had lived in this city most of my life,’ he said.

‘The feeling of being in the street with 100 or more bi+ people, including friends, and people I have come to look up to, was easily one of my best experiences.

‘In many ways it made me feel like we were making a point to be seen because quantity has a quality all its own. I was part of a change in finally being counted visibly, something bi+ people have struggled with for years, and hopefully for people like my younger self who never even knew this was happening.’

‘I have been to Pride a couple of times before, but I’ve never marched,’ Taree Caldwell-Thorpe, who also marched for the first time, said.

Caldwell-Thorpe continued: ‘I didn’t even plan to this year, but I’m so glad I did. I felt so welcome, like I had this family that I didn’t know I had.’

‘Bi visibility is important because our sexuality gets dismissed a lot. All relationships, whether it’s romantic or your family, can be difficult when they dismiss your identity. It hurts when you don’t feel as important, or even valid.’

The bi community has grown

Misty Farquhar, co-founder and organiser of Bisexual+ Community Perth, is excited about how quickly the community has grown.

‘I started this group in 2015 because I felt like there wasn’t really a place for me for a long time,’ Misty said.

‘It fills me with joy to know that others like me may be watching the parade and know that they never need to feel like that.’

This year, the group’s Pride contingent was one of the largest groups of bi+ people in the world.

So if you ask us how we’re doing, we’re feeling peppy, sprightly, spry. We’re getting bi.

Visibility is important. Join the Bisexual+ Community Perth on Facebook.

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