Friday 23 September is Bi Visibility Day. This year we encourage everyone at Queen Mary to take the opportunity to learn more about the bi community and reflect on how we all can take an active part in supporting our bi staff and students.
At Queen Mary, we want to create a truly inclusive environment for everyone in our community, celebrating diversity and ensuring everyone can be themselves. This year, we take the opportunity to learn more about the bi community and reflect on how we all can take an active part in supporting our bi staff and students.
Bi Visibility Day is marked on 23 September each year, having been established in 1999 to draw attention to, and celebrate the bi community, recognise bi history, and highlight the issues that bi people can face.
When Queen Mary talks about bi people, we are using bi as an umbrella term used to describe a romantic and/or sexual attraction towards more than one gender. Bi people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including, but not limited to, bi, bisexual, pan and/or queer. There are a range of terms under the umbrella, and no ‘right’ way to be bi.
Find out more about the LGBTQA+ terminology we use at Queen Mary in our LGBTQA+ Glossary of Terms Booklet.
Bi people are often a forgotten part of the LGBTQA+ community and can face having their identity erased (bi-erasure) and can sometimes be made to feel unwelcome in both straight and LGBTQA+ spaces, experiencing both homophobia and biphobia (double discrimination).
“Far from the ‘best of both worlds’ cliche, the challenge of either persistently reasserting your bisexuality or having part of your life erased proves wearing for many bi people…. Where lesbians and gay men have one closet to escape, many bi people find that leaving one closet just leads to being put in another.” - Jen Yockney MBE, who has run the international listings site BiVisibilityDay.com since 2001
These experiences can have a compounding negative effect, with a 2020 report - LGBT in Britain - Bi Report (2020) - highlighting that while members of the LGBTQA+ community are overall at a higher risk of experiencing common mental health problems than the general population, “bi respondents’ self-reported mental health outcomes were worse than their gay or lesbian counterparts”.
We all have a shared responsibility to make Queen Mary inclusive and there are a number of ways you can support the bi community.
If you only have 5-10 minutes why not read and share our Queen Mary booklet on Bi Inclusion and Allyship?
Have little longer? Spend some time learning more about bi histories, cultures and experiences:
For LGBTQA+ book and podcast recommendation see our LGBTQA+ History Month pages.
Discover more about some of our wonderful bi role models at Queen Mary; part of our broader LGBTQA+ Role Models profiles featuring staff, students and alumni. If you would like to submit a LGBTQA+ Role Model profile, please contact Darren Hunwicks at email@example.com.
Take a look at the website for BiPrideUK, who chose to celebrate Bi-Pride at The People's Palace on Mile End campus this year and have content from the day and previous years available to stream online.
Signify your commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all of our LGBTQA+ staff and students and wear a rainbow lanyard (request one online).
Find out how to challenge unwelcome or unacceptable behaviour at work and around campus, including incidents of biphobia, as an active bystander: read more about our Active Bystander training.
Report if you experience or witness biphobia and access support through the Queen Mary Report + Support tool.
Networks for bi staff and students
QMOut: QMOut is the LGBTQA+ Staff Network for staff at Queen Mary University of London who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Non-binary, Queer, Asexual (Ace) or those who identify with other marginalised sexual orientations and /or gender identities.
LGBT+ Society: QM LGBT Society provides a space for all members and allies of the LGBTQ community at Queen Mary, connecting LGBTQA+ students through regular socials.
LGBT+ Society (Whitechapel): A society set up to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all LGBT+ (and unsure!) medics, dentists, and other students studying at Barts and The London.