Post submitted by former HRC Digital Media Manager Helen Parshall
Today begins Bisexual Awareness Week, providing a vital opportunity to highlight the stories of bisexual, pansexual, queer and sexually fluid people. Also known as #BiWeek, which culminates on Monday, September 23 with Bi Visibility Day, this is an opportunity to raise awareness of the unique issues facing the bi+ community and celebrate our triumphs.
Studies show that as many as half of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer population identify as bisexual -- making the bisexual community the single largest group in the LGBTQ community. Yet far too often, the unique needs of the bi+ community go unseen and unheard in both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ spaces.
In recent years, a record number of public figures, including actors, athletes, musicians and other influencers, have come out as members of the bi+ community. These “bi-cons” unapologetically and fiercely live their truths, paving the way for bisexual, pansexual, queer and fluid youth to be proud of their identities.
Here are five public figures who shared their stories openly since last year’s National Coming Out Day, no doubt inspiring others during their journeys.
1. Lilly Singh
In February, YouTube personality Lilly Singh came out as bisexual. “Throughout my life (my identities) have proven to be obstacles from time to time,” wrote Singh. “But now I’m fully embracing them as my superpowers.” Singh is open about her life, including taking care of her mental health needs, setting an example for other bisexual people of color.
2. Ryan Russell
NFL free agent Ryan Russell opened up about his sexual orientation in a powerful essay for ESPN last month, setting an example for bisexual and other LGBTQ athletes to follow. "My truth is that I'm a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover and a bisexual man."
3. Esther Cepeda
In coming out as queer and non-binary during Pride Month, Latinx journalist Esther Cepeda said, “I want to live a radically truthful life. I hate lies and keeping things from people. I just want to be authentic and find a path for myself, no matter where it leads.”
4. Tyler Blackburn
Actor Tyler Blackburn told The Advocate that his intention in coming out publicly as bisexual was to be as happy and as free as possible. “I just want to feel powerful in my own skin, and my own mind, and in my own heart,” said Blackburn. “I just want to live my truth and feel OK with experiencing love and experiencing self-love.”
5. Tess Holliday
Model, author and activist Tess Holliday uses her platform to start conversations about issues ranging from body positivity to her own journey with pansexuality. Holliday said in an interview with Nylon that she has “a sense of relief” about embracing her identity. "I can connect with people on a more intimate level than I was before, because I don't have to pretend to be someone I'm not."