Belated good news about Pride March 2012

We published the below in the March edition of LGBTI Health Alliance newsletter, to read the original article and catch up on other on news LGBTI health that is happening around Australia follwed this link.

Bivisibility – what a difference a year can make!

By Bisexual Alliance Victoria

Each year since first taking part in Pride March  in 2006, those identifying as bisexual (originally marching as Bi Victoria , and then Bisexual Alliance Victoria , BAV, since 2011) have been subjected to taunts from small sections of the crowd. These slurs include that people who identify as bisexual ‘can’t make up their minds’, should ‘get off the fence’ and are ‘greedy’. Such taunts took the edge off the elation experienced by the affirming responses received from the crowd. Then the distress experienced by a new marcher in our group following Pride March 2011 led us to take action to increase the visibility and legitimacy of the ‘B’ in the LGBTIQQ rainbow. After all, Pride March is a part of Midsumma , an annual ‘Queer Celebration’.

We sought to raise awareness of the impact of biphobia, and that it comes from opposite and same sex attracted communities, by publishing articles in the queer press and putting out a press release about the taunts. These sparked follow-up articles, and interviews on Joy94.9  (a queer radio station in Melbourne) and Alphabet Soup  (a queer television program on Melbourne’s community television station, Channel 31). BAV also contacted Pride March president, Brett Hayhoe, who was sympathetic to our cause and ensured that we were able to take a more prominent position in Pride March 2012.

Our main message has been that bisexuality is a legitimate sexual orientation, and that research indicates that bisexual people have worse physical and mental health indicators than heterosexual and homosexual populations, including greater suicide risk.

The majority response has been sympathetic. A press release was sent out just prior to this year’s Pride March, snippets of which were published in a number of articles calling for people attending the event to avoid calling out slurs as we marched. So it was to our utter elation, no reports of taunts came up following Pride 2012, just ones of support. To quote one of our committee members, “Last year I was in tears, this year tears of joy”.

Barker M, Richards C, Jones R, Bowes-Catton H, & Tracey Plowman (2012). The bisexuality report: bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity. Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, The Open University: United Kingdom.

Browne K, Lim J (2008). Count me in too: LGBT lives in Brighton & Hove – Additional findings, bi people. University of Brighton & Spectrum: United Kingdom.

Conron KJ, Mimiaga MJ, Landers SJ (2010). A population-based study of sexual orientation identity and gender differences in adult health, American Journal of Public Health, 100(10), 1953-1960.

Cooney E (2010). Survey: bisexual women in poorest health. White coat notes, 10 June.

LGBT Advisory Committee: San Francisco Human Rights Commission (2011). Bisexual invisibility: impacts and recommendations. The author: San Francisco.

Moon MW, Fornili K, O’Briant AL (2007). Risk comparison among youth who report sex with same-sex versus both-sex partners, Youth & Society, 38(3), 267-284.

Weitzman, G. (2006). Therapy with clients who are bisexual and polyamorous, Journal of Bisexuality, 6, 137-264.

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