|Flag of the Ontario Francophones - French-speaking|
Canadians - which uses the province's trillium emblem.
In recent years the trillium has been put forward as a symbol for bisexuality. The precise origin of this idea is unknown, but it was certainly in circulation in 1999 when Michael Page, co-founder of BiCafe.com, stated on the BiCafe website that the trillium was becoming widely used. Apart from the Mexican bisexual flag (created in 2001) I haven’t found any use of the trillium as a bisexual symbol.
So why should the trillium, a relatively unknown flower, be a suitable symbol for the bisexual community? Perhaps the best reason stems (pardon the pun) from its biological nature. The trillium is a member of the order of plants to which the lily belongs – the Liliales order.
All plants in Liliales have male and female parts on the same flower. The early botanical scientists in the 19th century were the first to coin the word “bisexual” for these flowers. In the following centuries the word began to be used in biology when studies of some animal embryos showed no differentiation in gender.
Early in my Olympic Countdown series I explained how it was chromosomes that determined human gender. In botany no such chromosomal effect to gender development occurs, making the trillium and the other lily species bisexual from the moment of fertilisation. In terms of human development the term that is the best equivalent would be intersexual or bi-gender, both these terms only being used after birth.
It seems to have been first used in relation to human biology in 1804. It began to be used in relation to sexual preference at about the same time as the concept of the modern homosexual was first developed in the 1860s.
|The Mexican Bisexual flag|