Now Reading
How ‘hi-visibility’ increased ‘bi-visibility’ in Western Australia

How ‘hi-visibility’ increased ‘bi-visibility’ in Western Australia

HI-VISIBILITY BI-VISIBILITY

Bisexual people will often talk about feeling a heightened sense of freedom, self-awareness, and authenticity because of who we are.

  • ‘Coming out was quite a liberating experience because I finally felt free to explore and discover myself.’ ~ Domenic
  • ‘There is a nuance to our love that gets buried in all of the arguments and explanations and metaphors. I love being this way, I love that there are things I see in people that others seem not to.’ ~ Kate

On the flipside, we face all the same challenges as lesbians and gay men but are also subject to erasure and invalidation, and suffer poorer physical and mental health.

In spite of this, there are very few targeted responses to our unique issues.

My background in community work linking social inclusion with wellbeing, coupled with my personal need for connection, drove me to start the Facebook group now known as Bisexual+ Community Perth.

The group focuses on creating a safe space for people to share, discuss, and connect with other bisexual people.

It is a space people can enjoy without having to deal with sexually suggestive content.

Bi identities

  • ‘I feel like my identity is erased unless I scream it, and I’m doubted even when I do. It’s not a stage, it’s not for attention, it’s me.’ ~ Stacey
  • ‘Bisexual visibility is important for our mental health. We need to know there is a community of people with the same sexuality where we can find support.’ ~ Jenine

The group began in 2015 as an online community available to people all over the world.

It quickly gained over 300 members.

However, it became clear that it was necessary to target the issue of invisibility in my local community.

The 2016 bisexual Pride Parade entry was cancelled because only six people had committed to join.

The team behind Bi+ Community Perth
The team behind Bi+ Community Perth | Photo: Supplied

Bi+ Community Perth

  • ‘When people chant, “we’re here, we’re queer,” the word shouldn’t be a synonym for gay and lesbian. Bi+ people are part of the community and we should feel part of the community, too.’ ~ Duc
  • ‘Bisexual visibility is important to me because I spent too long not knowing whether I was allowed to be myself and stand up in my identity. Everything gets easier when you can see other people standing proudly in theirs.’ ~ Hen

In 2017, in collaboration with two other Perth-based bisexual advocates, the group relaunched to include more local content and regular face-to-face gatherings.

More recently, members have been requesting more gatherings and have even started self-organizing.

  • ‘This is the first year I’ve been comfortable identifying as bisexual and that is because of this group. I’ve never felt comfortable identifying the way I do, but I’ve come to see many bi people feel this way, and from external forces that we internalize.’ ~ Bex
  • ‘Being bisexual has caused me to be shunned by heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. For those who are finding themselves in this obstacle course – others may not see you, but we do. Keep on shining and don’t let either side dull that sparkle.’ ~ Kelly

We had our first Bi Visibility Day event in September 2017. It was a picnic in the park with about 20 attendees.

In November, over 40 people proudly marched in the Pride Parade.

Representation in the media

  • ‘I marched for the first time because I needed to feel a sense of community, which I had never felt and was craving. It was an amazing experience to feel part of something bigger than me and to be with people who did not question my sexual orientation.’ ~ Elena
  • ‘I marched completely at the last minute, and I was proud of beating my anxiety to do so. I felt so happy looking at the crowd. So many people. Strangers. Friends. Old people. Young people. Everyone was so inviting and beautiful, it made me cry.’ ~ Sa Mara

In the last year, the three of us have also worked hard to increase local queer media representation of bisexuals, with clear membership spikes whenever bisexual content runs.

The group now has over 650 members, and it continues to grow.

Visibility and community connection is so important for bisexual people.

Bisexual people deserve to feel validated and supported wherever they go.

We want to make sure that no one beats themselves up because they don’t feel like they fit in anywhere.

We want the whole community to see us, and to celebrate along with us.

  • ‘I’ve finally realized why it’s called “Pride.”‘ ~ Justin

Misty Farquhar is a proud non-binary bisexual person and passionate advocate for inclusion. Misty is currently working toward a PhD at the Curtin University Centre for Human Rights Education.

Photo: Supplied

Read more

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/the-bi-manifesto/#gs.c8cU0Fs

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/biphobia-couples/#gs.wiAruP8