23rd September every year is Bisexual Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day. This is the focus for a flurry of activity in the bi community (usually including a series of wry jokes about suddenly becoming visible just for a day and then disappearing again) and with luck, some recognition from the wide LGBT community or even the outside world. This year the bi pride flag is flying over Whitehall, which is very cheering.
It genuinely is an international event: although it started small in 1999 with just the UK and South Africa, last year a couple of dozen countries held events to mark it, and in 2013 the White House even held a Bi Visibility event. Although that seems unlikely to happen again for a while.
I notice that on timeanddate.com it states: “International Celebrate Bisexuality Day is not an official holiday so businesses, schools and government offices are open”. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever tried to turn BVD/ICB into an official holiday, but I’m now completely sold on the idea. How would you celebrate an official bisexual holiday? I’m picturing purple tinsel, a big party, and a glittery unicorn who brings chocolate and gin (or choice of fruit juice) to everyone who’s so much as eyed up a member of more than one gender. In the evening we’d dance to cheesy 80s music, play geeky board games and discuss the age-old question of why bisexual women find it so hard to chat up other bisexual women. (Wait, I’m just describing BiCon.)
In the absence of a national holiday, BVD does at least fall on a Sunday this year, and if you’re in London you can celebrate it with a London Bisexual meetup group picnic followed by Marcus Morgan’s cabaret night CaBiRet (an evening of the bisexual variety). Bi Community News has a full list of what’s on across the UK. Next week there’s a Bi Lights show at the Two Brewers organised by Bi Pride UK. And on Friday 5th October you can come to London’s newest LGBT pub, the Apple Tree in Clerkenwell, to celebrate the North American launch of Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain.
There is, in fact, a thriving bi community in the UK, particularly in London and other big cities. As there should be, since there are more bi people than lesbian and gay people put together. Which might lead to the question of why we need a Bi Visibility Day at all, if we’re already so visible. One answer to that is that every bi event I’ve organised has featured new people who had never been to a bi event before, or sometimes any LGBT event. They didn’t know they existed. There’s a whole swathe of people out there who have no idea we’re here, and until that changes, every scrap of visibility we can get is badly needed. So support your friendly local bisexuals, resist harmful biphobic stereotypes whenever you can, and do something, even if small, on Sunday to help our community come further into the light. And don’t forget to leave your stocking out on Bisexual Visibility Eve for the ghost of Freddie Mercury.