Splash of paint in pink, purple and blue over a white background

Steps Toward Social Wellness on Celebrate Bisexuality Day!

Now that you know the bisexuality basics, let’s lighten up the mood a little: Friday, September 23 is Celebrate Bisexuality Day!

This day was first observed in 1999 to unite the bi community in a positive celebration. As stated last week, there are many harmful stereotypes surrounding the bi community, and this leads to disparities in health, as well as housing and employment. It is necessary to have a day to celebrate bisexuality and honor the contributions that bisexual people have made to the larger LGBTQ+ community and to society as a whole. 

In order to kick off the party, I give you:

An Incomplete List of Bisexuals You Should Know

Brenda Howard sitting in a wallpapered room. Copyright Equality Forum
c/o Equality Forum

Brenda Howard

Known as the “Mother of Pride,” Howard was instrumental in organizing the Christopher Street Liberation Day March in June 1970 to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City. This march would later transform into the annual LGBT Pride Parade, which quickly expanded to Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Howard was a founder of the New York Area Bisexual Network, and was active in the feminist and anti-war movements as well.

 

Faith Cheltenham wearing a hat and smiling outside. Copyright 2015 Jack Kaden for I Am Bruin Pride
c/o Jack Kaden, I Am Bruin Pride 2015

Faith Cheltenham

Cheltenham is President of BiNet USA, the oldest bisexual advocacy organization in the United States. She is a prominent activist for racial justice and interfaith causes as well as LGBTQ+ activism. Cheltenham led the first White House Bisexual Community Policy Briefing in 2015.

 

David Bowie in 1975 holding a cigarette. Public domain c/o Wikimedia CommonsDavid Bowie

Bowie broke the norms of gender and sexuality throughout his career as a musician and actor. He publicly came out as bisexual in 1976, later stating his disappointment that his sexuality overshadowed his career in the “puritanical” United States.

 

Kate Brown Kate Brown smiling in front of a brick background.

Brown is the 38th governor of Oregon, and the first openly bisexual governor in American history. However, her sexuality should not eclipse her career as a state leader, which includes driving voter registration, promoting gun control, and raising Oregon’s minimum wage.

 

Charles blow smiling headshot. copyright Larry D. Moore 2014
c/o Larry D. Moore

Charles M. Blow

Blow is a visual op-ed columnist for The New York Times, writing about American politics, social justice, and racial inequality. He frankly discusses his bisexuality in his memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, which won a Lambda Literary Award in 2015.

 

Of course, these are only the people who actively identify as bisexual. Hundreds of other people throughout history have maintained relationships or have had rumored affairs with partners of multiple genders, though many occurred before the concept of bisexuality or homosexuality as a concrete identity.

So why are we celebrating bisexuals? Well, given the disparities that this community faces, when folks succeed and use their platforms to tell their stories, they make small steps toward a more accepting and diverse community for all of us. Acceptance is a major factor in social wellness.

While Pansexuality is celebrated as well on this day, as we will discover in November, Pansexual and Panromantic Pride Day has its own festivities on December 7!

Shea Hazarian (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a Junior Specialist at the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Improving OUTcomes coordinator. She has facilitated trainings for university staff and faculty to be effective allies to their LGBTQ+ students, with specific workshops for bisexual and pansexual student support.