Out, Proud, Bi

September 23 is Bi Pride Day/Bi Visibility Day. This is the fourth such Bi Visibility Day that I have been out and proud. Here are some reasons why I make an effort to be visible, and why I take pride in my bisexual identity:

On a purely personal level, it's about congruence. The face that I show to the world since the day I came out matches the face that I see in the mirror. The pressure of hiding, of lying, of constantly being in fear of discovery is horribly damaging. While it's not universally true, in my case the physical danger of being out is no greater than the danger I would have faced if the wrong person were to discover my secret -- or even just guess the right answer without evidence. So on the one hand, a certain amount of risk to my personal safety. On the other hand, the same risk plus the psychological pressure of constantly monitoring my behavior, appearance, and speech to ensure that I didn't inadvertently drop a clue.

One of the most important pieces of identity development is to have a community that welcomes and embraces you. For straight people, that community is basically the whole world, at least as far as their sexual orientation is concerned (and I know that straight people with other intersectional identities face a lack of welcome - but not directly due to who they are attracted to). For people who identify as LGBT, we depend on the LGBT community to provide that welcome and support.

It's an unfortunate reality that the LGBT community doesn't always provide that support for the people who identify as the B. Instead, too often, we are greeted with suspicion, with disdain, with challenges to our maturity, our veracity, our loyalty, and our very existence.

So I am out loud and Out Proud to help provide that community, for myself and for other bisexuals who need to have a place to come out to. As a significant segment of the LGBT community (as much as half of the part of the community that identifies by sexual orientation, which is intersectional with gender identity), it's important that bisexual people stand up and be counted. Be visible.

So for Bi Visibility Day, I ask that you do the same if you can. Take a moment to tell the world that you are a member of a proud community of mutual support. And then look around at all the others who are doing the same, and feel warm, feel welcomed.

Feel safe.