BiVisibility! It’s not over!
Soudeh Rad is a bisexual queer feminist woman of color, activist and researcher and is also a board member of ILGA Europe since 2017.
BiVisibility Week 2018 is over. It’s time for activists to take a moment of rest and start their everyday work for visibility, again. On BiVisibility Day, our social media - twitter, facebook and even Instagram - feeds were full of bisexuality related content. Ah! What an inclusive world!
Close your eyes and picture the days before New Year’s celebrations. Life is beautiful, with all the ornaments and lights all around. You cannot avoid it! Then… it happens. Everything vanishes, until next year! Do you remember that first day you realise the city decorations are gone? Maybe that is the time you fully integrate the idea of beginning of a new year. At least that is the case for me. This feeling of landing on Earth comes back to me several times a year.
As a queer feminist, I should say I the feeling today is harsher than what I feel every March 9th, a day after International Women’s Rights Day. At least many people know what feminism is about and our battle is mostly about inclusion of any self-identified woman in that word “Women” and bringing the discussions on that day to a level of Gender Equality, leaving people to count the genders themselves! But many do not even know what bisexuality is, they are not familiar with the colours, or do not consider it a valid and absolutely independent sexual orientation.
I personally enjoyed all the four blogs published on ILGA-Europe’s blog for BiVisibility Day. Four activists with diverse background have shared their stories and honestly, I can find a piece of myself and my own story in each of them. When Bella tells how she knew which of her crushes she’d hide from grown-ups, I see myself, still hiding my partners on social media, mostly to protect them, and of course myself from all the judgments! I’ve had many friends of different gender identities and sexual orientations, of different cultures and behaviours, yet, I have never questioned their choices, their identities, their queerness, while I owed many an explanation on why and how my relations are built. Sure sexism hurts, but monosexism hurts and kills too!
During the past week, I had to remind people of our diversity in Bi+ community several times. Many of those sharing hateful tweets and “chose a side” content insist on telling me about my identity! “I know the best what my identity is about” I answer, as Temir’s blog says and gathers the diverse experience of Bi+ people of Kyrgyzstan. They pity my partners - assuming the number of partners I have, their sex, gender and worse that I am hiding all this from each of them. Well those concerned read those tweets and laugh, while hugging me and loving me for who I am.
As a matter of fact, my activism has always been empowering me to face the Biphobia and Biereasure. Being a member of the Bi movement, globally and locally is not only about finding the missing place of Bi+ and keep repeating “Include the B”. It is being part of a family where one feels safe and loved. Hilde explains how the movement is expanding and how every year there are more flags on the BiVisibility Day global map.
I am a bisexual woman of color, and I also acknowledge my privileges that living in Europe, education, job, and access to health care (and more) gives me. Reading Umut’s blog, I see the bright future of bivisibility.
I am blessed to work in environments can not only freely “bi” myself, but also not only be the “bi” and one thing I will do in this coming year, until next BiVisibility Day, is to think, do and be more intersectional, to see how we can improve inclusion of Bi+ community in European and Central Asia queer movement. We sure can share a lot more and do a lot better.
ILGA-Europe is definitely a stakeholder and resource for our community to get in touch with each other and develop strategies of inclusion. If you are joining the Annual Conference, join us in the Bisexual+ connecting space, bring the joy and energy harvested during the BiVisibility Week and we will decide together how to make our movement of a Bi+ inclusive one. Bivisibility, is not over!