There are many gender identities and sexual orientations that anyone can feel connected to or identify with.
More and more terms have been popularized over the years to represents the emotions and experiences of queer individuals and if you aren’t immersed in the LGBTQ+ culture or the queer community, you might not recognize a few sexual orientations and gender identities due to a lack of representation in mainstream media.
One such term is bisexual, so we are going to cover what does it mean to be bisexual, talk about the iconic three-toned bisexual pride flag and its meaning, and then offer some useful information to become a better ally to bisexual and bicurious individuals.
If you’ve got a bisexual friend or loved one, chances are that you probably have misunderstood them at one point. Everyone thinks that being bisexual means an attraction to your own and a different gender. But, is it true?
Let’s explore what it means to be bisexual and how to be a better ally to the bisexual people in your life.
In this article we will cover...
- What Does Bisexual Mean?
- Bisexual Pride Flag Meaning
- When Is Bisexual Pride Day?
- Other Bisexual Information to Help You Be A Better Ally
- Believe us when we say we’re bisexual
- Stop making assumptions
- Challenge biphobia
- Support marginalized bisexual people
- Use inclusive language
- Create more inclusive LGBT spaces
- Support bi campaigns and organizations
- Advocate for Inclusivity in your workspace, school, or university
- Support bisexual people lives full lives like everyone else
- Celebrate bisexual people
What Does Bisexual Mean?
Bisexuality is an inclusive term that may describe romantic or physical attraction. It can also refer to sexual behavior not limited to one sex. Bisexuality can refer to an attraction to people of the same or different sex. Bisexuality can mean:
– Attraction to the binary genders (men and women)
– Attraction to all the genders and sexes
– Attraction to your own and other genders
– Attraction to other people regardless of their gender or sex
– Attraction beyond gender
The terms bisexual and pansexual are often used interchangeably. This is because there are those who think pansexuality should be packed into the bisexual spectrum since the bisexual person is someone attracted to two or more genders.
However as pansexuals, they could be attracted to women and men, non-binary individuals and women, or agender individuals and men, so it is best to distinguish.
This is also similar to how pansexuality and omnisexuality are used interchangeably, even though they also don’t mean the same thing. The most significant difference between these two terms is the recognition of gender. Most pansexual people are attracted to other people regardless of their gender. Omnisexual people may see gender as part of their attraction.
Omnisexuals and pansexuals may both report not being attracted to a specific gender. Omnisexuals are not gender blind, while pansexuals are. Omnisexuality, bisexuality, and pansexuality are all valid identities on their own, and if someone says they identify with one, you can’t say they aren’t.
While some identities may have only slight differences, they may still mean a lot to someone. All you need to remember is that everyone’s experience of attraction is different – and that it is for them alone to define.
Bisexual Pride Flag Meaning
One of the most recognizable LGBT+ flags, Michael Page designed the bisexual pride flag in 1998 to give the bisexual community a symbol that was comparable to the gay pride flag. He aimed to increase visibility towards the bisexual community, because bi-erasure is a real thing and is arguable just as big a problem then as it is now.
The pink color of the flag refers to same-gender attraction, while the blue part refers to sexual attraction to the opposite gender. In the case of non-binary genders, it refers to sexual attraction to a different gender. The purple, which results from the overlap between pink and blue, refers to sexual attraction to two or more genders.
When Is Bisexual Pride Day?
Awareness, visibility, remembrance, and celebration are all important in increasing the acceptance and recognition of queer identities and queer folx around the world.
By observing an international day for bisexuality, it is easier to for bisexuals to talk to friends and loved ones – and to feel the love. It also helps foster awareness and increased sensitives from society at large.
So, mark your calendar and plan something special (even if it is just a social media post!) for the 23rd of September, which is International Bisexual Pride Day also known as Celebrate Bisexuality Day!
Other Bisexual Information to Help You Be A Better Ally
Being inclusive to bisexual people is an excellent way of showing you’re a straight ally. However, there’s more you can do to ensure the bisexual people in your life belong to a supportive and safe environment. Here’s what you can do:
Believe us when we say we’re bisexual
As with all other LGBTQ+ identities, bi people are challenged about their identity or face scrutiny about it. Bisexual people can date one gender for many years or be in monogamous relationships for long periods. This doesn’t mean they aren’t bi. Bi-erasure is never (ever) OK.
Being an ally means that you understand where bi people are coming from even when they’re attracted to different genders during their lifetime.
Stop making assumptions
Bisexual people can and may be attracted to different genders at different points in their life. Just because someone dated a woman or lesbian previously doesn’t make them straight or lesbian. A previous partner shouldn’t be the primary identifier of whether someone is bisexual or not.
Be keen about how someone describes their identity and their relationships. Some bisexual people may describe themselves as gay or lesbians in different contexts, and some may not use any labels at all.
Whether someone makes a generalization about bi people or harasses them in public or private, you can make the world a better place by challenging such behaviors. Even if bi people are doing the work to challenge biphobia, you can and should still join in as an ally to bring down prejudice.
The same goes for any jokes that are at others’ expense, especially queer marginalized communities and misunderstood identities such as intersex, asexual, transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer. We are not here to be the butt of any jokes – and quite frankly, are sick of it. It is not – and never was – OK.
Most times, offensive material is circulated on social media or WhatsApp. Remember to tell people that are making such comments why it’s wrong to do that.
Support marginalized bisexual people
Allies and the bisexual community should come together to uplift and support the community. Bisexual men often face stigma both outside and within the LGBTQ community. More often than not, asexual bi people get told they can’t be bisexual.
In addition, trans bi people often face invalidation when people challenge how their gender identity and bisexual identity intersect.
Being there for your bisexual friends may be exactly what they need to move forward. Supporting your friend emotionally may look like hanging a rainbow flag in your front yard, or wearing an LGBT enamel pin to let people know you are an ally.
It could also mean joining your friend on their first Pride Parade (wearing a cute pride outfit obviously!).
Use inclusive language
When you’re addressing people, avoid making assumptions. It’s possible to erase bi identity when you use words such as ‘gay’ to refer to someone. If you don’t know what someone’s identity is, make sure you use inclusive pronouns.
Remember that you shouldn’t ask people intrusive questions when figuring out their identity. It’s harmful behavior and also rude.
Create more inclusive LGBT spaces
Everyone wants a space where they feel they belong to the community they identify with, and bi people aren’t different. Everyone deserves to feel respected and accepted. If you’re holding an event or meeting people at a venue, ensure bisexual people are included and know they can attend.
Let the people coming to your function or venue understand that biphobia isn’t welcome and won’t be tolerated. Also, if there will be any performers or speakers at your event, try to get bi representation.
Support bi campaigns and organizations
There are many fantastic groups out there speaking against biphobia and amplifying bisexual voices. Some of them are run by volunteers, and you can show your support by giving your time, donating, and sharing the work they do.
Advocate for Inclusivity in your workspace, school, or university
Whichever institution you’re in, you can advocate for bi inclusivity. Institutional policies should be there to protect everyone, regardless of how they identify.
Encourage your institution to avoid words that put a label on someone, for example: “wife,” “gay,” and others that specific people may reject.
Support bisexual people lives full lives like everyone else
Bisexual people often have to deal with biphobia, which can be hard and challenging. When bi people have multiple sexual and/or romantic partners, people often call them promiscuous or greedy. Or assume they must be polyamorous.
On the other hand, when a bisexual person is in a monogamous relationship, people assume they’re making up their identity. Constantly affirm your bisexual loved one. Affirm everything about them, including their relationships and their lives.
Celebrate bisexual people
Celebrate and amplify bisexual people and their stories. You don’t have to celebrate them only on Bi Visibility Day. Every day is a great reason to celebrate bisexual people.
If you don’t have a lot of information about bi people, it would be great to look up online resources that would be beneficial.
Keep in mind that:
– Bisexual people can be attracted to different genders or sexes in many different ways.
– Bisexual people can feel attracted to different genders or sexes more than others.
– Bisexual people can be attracted to some genders or sex at different times and not others.