Lace up your docs, cuff your jeans and blast girl in red and dodie— we’ve just finished celebrating Bisexual Awareness Week!
Bisexual Awareness Week, also known as #BiWeek, is held annually from September 16 to 23, completing its run on Celebrate Bisexuality Day. The week was created to honour, celebrate, and learn about bisexuality and adjacent sexual orientations, such as polysexuals, pansexuals, omnisexuals, and those who identify as queer and/or fluid.
Around the world, the love and acceptance of bisexuality continues to grow each day. In Sackville, the LGBTQ+ community is an ever-growing and endlessly beautiful and accepting community. The Mt. A student body has a flourishing bisexual community, with members of all ages, genders, and in varying stages in the process of coming out.
Third-year drama student Maya Noëlle, who is bisexual, is proud of her sexuality’s heritage and the passion and fighting it took for it to be accepted.
“Bisexuality is beautiful. It has a lengthy, incredible history created by countless brave people over many decades,” said Noëlle, “I love, and am proud of, my same- (and different-) gendered attraction.”
Coming out of the closet is an extremely personal experience, and while it is never mandatory, those who choose to do so are faced with a rush of emotions. For fourth-year student Hope Edmond, the experience of coming out was terrifying at first, but she felt comfortable enough to express her true self when she found something every LGBTQ+ person needs and deserves: a loving, accepting community.
“I feel like [being bisexual] was something I repressed for so long, as I didn’t feel like I had a comfortable environment to come out to,” said Edmond. “Once I had a supportive group of friends and housemates and finally [came out], I [felt] open to express myself.”
Coming out is never an easy feat. As bisexual people choose to come out in a heteronormative world, they also have to juggle the weight of the unfortunate stereotypes attached to bisexuality. Members of the bisexual community of Sackville shared their experiences of stereotyping within their sexuality:
“For me, the journey to identifying as bisexual was long and difficult. My first impression of bisexuality came from early 2010’s tabloids,” said Noëlle. “As a child, I remember learning to associate ‘“bisexual’” with “‘cheater”.’ I struggled with my identity for years. I didn’t want to be a bad person, so I tried to reject it.”
“Being bisexual is amazing, but it’s also incredibly hard. Personally, I’ve faced a lot of prejudice over it in past relationships,” an anonymous contributor in the Sackville community shared with the Argosy. “There’s been a lot of misrepresentation that really hurts the perception, but that seems to be turning around a little, which is very nice to see.”
“In my experience, I have been told that I’m confused, or that coming to [Mt. A] ‘made me gay,’ but it really just made me more comfortable to explore my sexuality,” said Edmond. “Although not everyone in my life has been supportive, I’m happy that I don’t feel like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not!”
The damaging stereotypes that surround bisexuality are what make it difficult for some to come out, and even more difficult for some to love freely. Environmental Studies student Chloé Robichaud, who identifies as bisexual, began dating her first girlfriend in high school while she lived in her home town, and faced fears that weren’t there in her previous heterosexual-presenting realtionships.
“Dating in a small town is scary. I grew up in a small town and I did not want to come out because of the things I would overhear […] I was always ready for the worst and [was always] being cautious in public,”said Robichaud. “I had never had to worry about these things when I was dating a guy. We had such a small queer community that we had no support.”
Despite the hardships that come with being bisexual, the strength, resilience and the love of their fellow neighbour (And of multiple genders!) is something that the community is proud of. Bisexual people have existed since the beginning of time, and bisexuality is a reminder that love outside of the single-gender binary exists, and that it will never go away.
“Bisexuality informs more than just my sexual attraction. It informs the way I love and live and move throughout the world. It conflicts with the idea of gender and sexuality as a rigid binary,” said Noëlle. “I can’t actually just pick a side, or neatly split my attraction into boxes like bisexuals are often told to. Instead, I find my own freedom in fluidity.”
The bisexual community is alive, thriving, and fighting. Since humans could love, bisexuals have existed. Noëlle shared with me the deep history of bisexual changemakers: bisexual activists like Maggi Rubenstein, Stephen Donaldson, Brenda Howard, Lani Ka’ahumanu, and Donny the Punk fought for the right to live freely. Bisexual academics like Fritz Klein, Alfred Kinsey, and Roxane Gay wrote for the right to exist without prejudice. Bisexual artists like June Jordan, Billie Holiday, Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, and Bessie Smith created art for the sake of expressing the amount of love bisexual people harness. In Sackville, bisexual people exist and flourish around you. Within the Mt. Acommunity, bisexual students, professors, and employees learn about themselves and their history around you. In this paper, a queer Arts and Culture reporter shares with you her love for the bisexual community and the light it brings. No matter what history said to tear us down, or what the naysayers squawk about today to defame our name, bisexual people will never stop existing with pride and love. Noëlle, in a concluding comment, said this eloquently:
“In learning my own history, I came to love and admire the strength of a community I never knew I had, and no longer feel alone in my self-expression. There were countless people out there like me across human history; before they ever had a name for themselves, they asserted and defended their multiple-gender attraction instead of ‘picking a side’. Long before I existed, they were fighting for me.”