Woody Allen once said that bisexuality "doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night."
Now, the city of Berkeley, Calif., may soon become the first municipality in the country to proclaim a special holiday just for bisexual individuals, separate from the other LGBT pride days held around the world every June.
Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington proposed the idea as a way to deal with the marginalization that bisexuals often feel from both the gay and straight communities.
"Bisexuals can experience prejudice from both directions," Worthington told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Increasing bisexual visibility is a way of saying, yes, they do exist, and they deserve our support and acceptance."
Worthington hopes to hold Berkeley's Bisexual Pride Day on September 23, the same day bisexual activists around the country have been holding Celebrate Bisexuality Day events for over a decade.
“Ever since the Stonewall rebellion, the gay and lesbian community has grown in strength and visibility," Gigi Wilbur-Raven, one of the progenitors of Celebrate Bisexuality Day, said in a statement announcing the creation of the holiday during the annual meeting of the International Lesbian and Gay Alliance in 1999. "The bisexual community also has grown in strength but in many ways we are still invisible. I too have been conditioned by society to automatically label a couple walking hand in hand as either straight or gay, depending upon the perceived gender of each person."
Wendy Curry, one of Wilbur-Raven's other co-founders, explains some of reasons behind pushing bi pride days:
In the 90's, much of the bisexual activism involved one of three actions:
1) "we're here too" at "gay" events; trying to prove we were an important part of the GLBT family
2) countering the belief that bisexuality is just a phase. Because so few people identified as bisexual in the previous decades, we'd prop up the one or two people we could find who had identified as bi for a decade or two and say "see? it is possible to be bi for life!"
3) Fight our biggest obstacle - invisibility. Because most people at the time see other's sexuality based on their current partner or whom they see you eyeballing, few bisexuals were/are recognized as such, but misidentified as straight or gay.
Other cities, such as Boston and Los Angeles, host bisexual pride events on that same day. However, Berkeley would be the only city in the country to give the event official recognition.
The idea has already garnered some support around Berkeley's political circles. "The more we can learn about each other, the more tolerance grows," Nancy Carleton, a bisexual former zoning board chair, told the Associated Press, noting that official recognition of the day would go a long way to giving the local bisexual community some much needed visibility.
A study by UCLA's Williams Institute found that about four million Americans identify as bisexual, roughly equal to the number of people who identify as gay/lesbian, or a little over the entire population of the state of Oregon.
Worthington's measure will go before a vote of the Berkeley City Council later this week.
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