July 20, 2017 at 7:10 am EDT | by Helen Parshall
Global bisexual movement fights stereotypes, seeks visibility

Sally Goldner participantes in a Pride march in Melbourne, Australia, in 2015. Goldner is among the advocates around the world who continue to fight stereotypes around bisexuality. (Photo by Steve Anderssen)

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series on the global bisexual movement.

No one ever wants to document bisexual stories.

Bisexual-identified advocates around the world with whom the Washington Blade recently spoke all shared this sentiment. They also said during their interviews they were looking for a way to share their work.

“We feel this anger and ignorance about sexual orientation and nonmonosexuality,” said Soudeh Rad, a bisexual advocate based in France. Rad is one of the founders of dojensgara.org, a resource on bisexuality for Farsi speakers around the world.

“I did an interview with an Iranian activist once,” continued Rad, “And she said, ‘Please don’t call me LGBT activist. I am LGT activist. I do not advocate for those people who do not choose.’”  

Bisexual people are called the LGBT community’s “invisible majority” by a 2016 report released by the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBT-focused research organization based in Colorado.

The report highlights startling disparities in the experiences of bisexual people throughout the U.S., but advocates say such findings are important in the bisexual movement around the world.

“Bisexuals make up the majority of the LGBT community, and so we need support,” said Werner Pieterse, a bisexual advocate in South Africa. “We need people to promote bisexuality, if I can put it like that.”

Studies in the U.S. alone show the bisexual community makes up about half of the LGBT community, but advocates say that many people in their communities are afraid to come out as bisexual, often stuck in the gaps between gay and straight.

“Growing up, those were the only options,” said Misty Farquhar, a PhD candidate and bisexual advocate based in Perth, Australia. “There was no language for anything else.”

American activist Robyn Ochs’ definition of bisexuality has been taken up by advocates across the world to try to combat this stigma.

“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted — romantically and/or sexually — to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree,” she says.

While the experiences of these advocates are often different, the foundation of their work is the same: To raise the visibility of the community so the unique needs of bisexual people can be addressed.

“I want to tell my story because in all the stories you get the picture of how bisexuality actually has no borders,” said Radica Hura, a bisexual activist in Serbia. “Bisexuality is not a thing or a project or something. People are there, and they exist and live their ordinary everyday lives.”

“Bisexual people are not exotic creatures,” added Hura. “They don’t have horns. Our bisexuality is just one part of our identity.”  

Helen Parshall is an avid writer pursuing a master’s degree in multi-platform journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a B.A. in English and a concentration in Latin American studies in 2014.

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