Celebrating bisexuality

Raising Bi Flag over campus meant to combat biphobia

The purple middle of the Bi Flag represents attraction to both sexes.
The purple middle of the Bi Flag represents attraction to both sexes.

Yesterday Queen’s students got their second taste of Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

The event, organized by Queer Grad Students and Allies (QGSA), was meant to give people a safe place for discussion and raise awareness about biphobia.

QGSA campus outreach and education coordinator Christina Clare said Celebrate Bisexual Day is a day about students feeling safe in their identities.

According to Clare, someone is bisexual if they’re attracted to both genders, while someone who identifies as pansexual feels that gender does not play a role in who they’re attracted to.

QGSA is a satellite group for LGBTTIQQ2SA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgendered, Intersexual, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited and Allies), an alliance that supports the idea of gender as a continuum.

Clare, ArtSci ’10 and MPL ‘12, said that for many people this can be a difficult concept to grasp and that can be scary.

“People are threatened by the presence of bisexuality,” she said. “Stereotypes of bisexual people have been created out of fear.”

She said one of the goals of Celebrate Bisexuality Day is to combat biphobia, the fear or hatred of bisexual people, and deconstruct stereotypes in both straight and queer communities.

“There is a stereotype that people who identify as bisexual or pansexual aren’t monogamous, but being monogamous isn’t decided through sexual identity,” she said. “Another stereotype is that bisexual people are greedy, and trying to sleep with as many people as possible, which is clearly not true.”

Clare said people with a whole range of sexual orientations have fought to eradicate harmful stereotypes but misconceptions still linger.

“Our culture is heteronormative and tries to force people to fill traditional roles. However, not everyone falls into these roles,” Clare said.

“An example of these roles is women fulfilling emotional care of families and men providing economic stability,” Clare told the Journal in an e-mail.

This year’s Celebrate Bisexuality Day featured an organized discussion group that provided an open space for bisexual students to talk about their experiences and share their frustration and anger, Clare said, adding that other events included the raising of the Bi Flag.

The Bi Flag is pink, purple and blue and represents the bisexual community, said Clare.

The flag is meant to represent the entire spectrum of sexual orientation. The pink in the flag represents attraction between two people of the same sex, the blue represents attraction between two people of the opposite sex and the purple in the middle represents attraction to both sexes.

Celebrate Bisexuality Day was created in 1999 by Gigi Raven, Michael Page of BiCafe and creator of the Bi Flag, Wendy Curry of BiNet USA. Nonetheless, Clare said it’s relatively new to Queen’s.

“This is a day that is celebrated around Canada,” she said “Before last year, I’d been at Queen’s for four years and had never heard anything about it.”

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