Fly those pink, purple, and blue flags! West Hollywood is hosting the United States’ first city-wide Bi Pride celebration on Saturday, September 22.
The City of West Hollywood is organizing the event alongside with Human Rights Campaign LA and the Los Angeles chapter of the organization amBi, according to the Los Angeles Blade.
“While a small number of cities have issued proclamations recognizing Bi Visibility Day, this is a historic celebration as the first full-fledged Bi Pride celebration hosted by any U.S. city,” Ian Lawrence-Tourinho, president of the amBi network, tells the site.
amBi’s aim is “to build a world in which our bisexuality is a clear source of pride, joy, and strength” — a worthy mission, especially amid pervasive bi erasure and stigma. Bisexual individuals, Lawrence-Tourinho explains, face persecution from both sides of the Kinsey scale:
“Ostensibly LGBT events and LGBT organizations fail time and time again to address bi communit. Just a few years ago, it was common for amBi to get booed and heckled by gays and lesbians in the crowd as we marched in the LA Pride Parade. We still get hostile people coming up to us at the festival every year.”
Plus, bisexual individuals in relationships are often mistaken for straight or gay. “Short of carrying bi flags around all day, to be visibly bi we’d have to walk hand in hand with at least two people who aren’t the same sex,” Lawrence-Tourinho says.
And then there’s the common misconception that bisexual individuals fare better than other queer individuals in this majority-heterosexual world, though a recent study found that they can experience “higher risk for poor mental health outcomes” than their gay and straight peers.
Now, however, the bi population will get their moment in the spotlight with West Hollywood’s Bi Pride celebration, which not-so-coincidentally falls on the eve of Bi Visibility Day.
“This is our first crack at this and the event will certainly evolve a great deal in the future,” adds Lawrence-Tourinho, “but we definitely would like to continue every year and create a model of celebration and visibility that can be duplicated in other cities around the globe.”