Friday 23 September 2011

Happy Bisexuality Day

If you’ve been to a Pride event anywhere in the world in the past few years you may have seen this flag.

It’s the Bisexuality Pride flag, and today is Bisexuality Day.

This month also sees the 30th anniversary of the founding of the first organised bisexual group in the UK – the London Bisexual Group. The anniversary was celebrated at the annual BiCon which was held in Leicester earlier this month.

Bisexuality is one of the “labels” that have been around a long time. It was first used in the natural sciences in the 17th century to define organisms – plants as well as animals - that had both male and female parts. Bisexual was first used in human terms from the middle of the 19th century to describe the undifferentiated male and female condition found in the early embryonic state.

Even though bisexuality (as we use the word today) was being practised and groups like the Bloomsbury Group of artists and writers were formed, it wasn’t a word used by them. It wasn’t until the 1940s that it came to mean the recognition of sexual attraction to men and women.

Like homosexuality, once a separate named identity was defined people formed specific bisexual groups, and soon they revealed the discrimination there was against them. The bi activism echoed the gay rights movement in its intent, though it was felt that bisexuals were being discriminated against by both the gay and straight community. Many bisexuals felt driven away and isolated and felt they were being overlooked.

Bisexual rights groups grew during the 1970s, and a varied array of groups and organisations appeared around the world. It wasn’t long before international bisexual conferences were being held.

Like most developing communities, bisexuals identified their own specific issues and problems but had no overall unity. Partly because of this Wendy Curry, Michael Page and Gigi Raven Wilbur, bi activists in the US, founded the internet site, now one of the major bisexual sites in the world.

Michael Page went on to create the Bisexual Pride flag for BiCafe’s first anniversary party on 5th December 1998, and the following year, with Curry and Wilbur, created Bisexuality Day.

Like other celebrations Bisexuality Day is not just for bisexuals but for everyone to celebrate. After all, unlike football where club rivalry borders on tribal warfare, it doesn’t matter if you’re not “in the team” you can still “enjoy being at the match”.

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