There’s a million of reasons to celebrate a day that recognizes the experiences of bisexual people. The “B” in LGBTQ is an important part of the community. Some studies have even found that bisexual people make up about half of all lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
Yet there is still a lot of harmful stereotypes about bisexuality. One of the best ways to respect a diverse group of people is to open our minds and our hearts and listen to what they have to say. Here’s what a few famous bisexual and pansexual celebrities want people to know about their sexual orientation. Remember … Bisexuality means someone is attracted to both male and female people. Pansexual means someone is attracted anyone of any gender.
- "I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge in myself the potential to be attracted romantically and/or sexually to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, in the same way, or to the same degree.” -- longtime bisexual activist Robyn Ochs
Sometimes people think that bisexuality means that you’re only attracted to men and women, or that you have to be equally attracted to both men and women. Actually, many bisexual activists throughout history have disagreed.
There’s a ton of different ways to be bisexual. A girl could be equally attracted to girls and people who are genderqueer, and sometimes attracted to guys, and still consider herself bisexual. A guy could have only dated women, but also be attracted to men and consider himself bisexual. A transgender girl could be open to dating people of all genders -- and could consider herself bisexual. All of these different ways are valid!
- “Yeah I guess you could qualify me as pansexual because I really don't care. If a person is great, then a person is great. I just like good people, if your heart's in the right place. I'm definitely attracted to men. It's just people that I am attracted to." – Brendon Urie, lead singer of Panic at the Disco
“Pan” is a root word that means “all.” Pansexual is another word for people who are attracted to partners of similar and different genders. According to GLAAD, bisexuality can be understood as an umbrella term, meaning that it can be used to sum up a lot of different identities that involve attraction to more than one gender- like pansexual, queer, and fluid. So Bisexual Visibility Day is a great time to recognize pansexual, queer, and fluid people too!
- “There’s a ton of biphobia - people refuse to accept bisexuality as an actual sexuality,” – Halsey, bisexual singer of “Bad at Love” and “Him & I”
We live in a world where some people often refuse to recognize that LGBTQ folks exist. Sometimes people also assume that bisexuality is just a pit stop on the road to either being gay/lesbian or a phase before accepting that they’re straight. While the labels people use to explain their experiences do sometimes change, bisexuality is a real sexual orientation on its own. Many people identify as bisexual, pansexual, fluid, or queer for their whole lives.
- “I decided to come out before my 21st birthday because I felt like I was going to be a man and not just a man, a [grown] man. I had felt like I wanted to say who I was and I was so tired of listening to everybody else. It’s the one point of my life that I just decided to be myself.” – Taylor Bennet, musician/rapper and brother of Chance the Rapper
There are a lot of gender stereotypes about bisexuality. Bisexual men, especially bisexual men of color, don’t get enough recognition. The people who identify as bisexual are actually extremely diverse!
- “Speaking from personal experience, it feels so [good] to be out. It’s still scary sometimes—I feel like an outsider so often. But those moments of discomfort are worth it, because living authentically gives me so much joy and feels so honest and good. In October, I will marry a heterosexual man. We’ll make vows that I will take very seriously—till death do us part. But I’ll be bi till the day I die, baby, and I vow to myself to always sing that truth.” – Stephanie Batriz, actress in Brooklyn 99
Bisexual people don’t stop being bi just because they chose to be with one partner. As Stephanie says, you can be committed to just one person and also be bi!
- “I define it as someone who sees people for who they are and not gender. I don't base all of my relationships off of sex. I'm still a virgin, I don't really care about that. I care about connecting with people on a deeper level and actually having something to talk about and something to work for— something we're both interested in.” – Angel Haze, pansexual and agender singer/songwriter/rapper
Pansexual and bisexual people are too often stereotyped as being more sexual than other people. While some bisexual people may choose to be sexually active, others don’t! We can validate both of these choices this Bisexual Awareness Day.
- “So many of our youth experiencing homelessness are youth whose lives touch on many intersections – whether they be gender identity, gender expression, race, class, sexual orientation, religion, citizenship status. And, because of the intersections that exist in my own life: Woman, multi-racial woman, woman of color, queer, bisexual, Mexican-Irish American, immigrant, and raised by families heavily rooted in Catholicism on both my Mexican & Irish sides, I am deeply invested in projects that allow our youth’s voices to be heard, and that support our youth in owning their own complex narratives so that we can show up for them in the ways they need us to.” – Sara Ramirez, bisexual actress, featured on Grey’s Anatomy and Madam Secretary
Bisexual folks do experience homophobic discrimination along with the rest of the LGBTQ community. Bisexual people have elevated risks of homelessness, unintended pregnancies, mental health issues, and being victims in abusive relationships – all because there’s not enough support.
While facing discrimination is rough, there’s also so much strength in the community! Just like Sara Ramirez, bisexual people are also important activists for the LGBTQ community.
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.