Post submitted by Belle Haggett Silverman, President, Board of Directors, Bisexual Resource Center
I was 26 when I attended my first bisexual+ support group in a library basement. In this place, around tea and cookies, I felt what it was like to not have to explain my sexuality and to be understood.
After a lifetime of explaining that who I am doesn’t disappear when I’m partnered, and explaining that who I am doesn’t make me a cheater, and explaining that who I am can’t be assumed, being seen and heard in this bisexual+ space was a revelation.
We shared stories of coming out over and over to the same loved ones who didn’t believe us, and stories of feeling erased and unwelcomed in both queer and straight communities and stories of finding joy in attraction of all sorts. I felt like my chest was full of helium and bright as the sun; the validation was euphoric.
I had only found out about this support group after joining the board of the Bisexual Resource Center on the recommendation of a friend. If I hadn’t had this access, I would never have learned about all the people who are like me and felt the freedom of knowing I wasn’t alone. Given a lack of dedicated resources for bisexual+ people, many never find this community.
This is a critical failure for a population that represents more than half of the queer population, and especially so knowing that bisexual+ people suffer worse mental and physical health outcomes than both our gay and straight peers. We deserve connection, understanding and a chance to thrive.
March is Bi+ Health Awareness Month, a time when the Bisexual Resource Center and our partners highlight the health care needs of bisexual+ people and reach out to connect and build community. This year's theme is Equity, which encourages the recognition of the specific social, educational and health care needs of our diverse bi+ community and directing resources and support to meet those needs.
We have taken strides toward a more just and kind world for bisexual+ people, and nothing has put a finer point on our progress than the number of young people who are comfortable using bisexual+ labels for themselves. But we still have so far to go.
Bisexual men are still fighting for their visibility (#BiMenExist!). Black, Indigenous and other bi+ people of color face stigma and prejudice, and trans and gender non-conforming bisexual+ people are scrutinized about the intersections of gender identity and sexuality that are broader than any binary could contain. In the words of Lilla Watson, our liberation is bound up together. Only when the unique needs of our diverse bi+ community have been met and discrimination against BIPOC, transgender and disabled members of the bi+ community has been eliminated will we achieve equity.
At the BRC, we envision a world where all bisexual+ people, however they identify (pansexual, queer, fluid and so many more) have access to visible, inclusive, empowered community. Everyone deserves to experience that lightness in their chest, that peace of spirit, of being understood and accepted. Learning and sharing our needs during Bi Health Month is just one step on that journey toward bisexual+ equity.