Los Angeles is set to host the first ever city-wide Bisexual Pride celebration in the US. The event will be held in West Hollywood on 22 September ahead of Bisexual Visibility Day. It will also coincide with Bisexual Awareness Month. Bi Pride is being organised by the City of West Hollywood, the group amBi LA and Human Rights Campaign LA. Ian Lawrence-Tourinho, President of the amBi network, told Pink News the organisers want to signal to the bi community that they are welcome. “While West Hollywood is ostensibly an LGBT Mecca, it has been historically far from clear that bi people are welcome there. Even during LA LGBT Pride (which takes place in West Hollywood) in June – what you might expect to be a time of great acceptance and openness – bi people are frequently met with hostility and aggression at the celebrations, whether at the official event or afterwards at the bars and restaurants in the neighbourhood,” he said. “Whether we are wearing a bi T-shirt, or our bisexuality comes up in conversation, the reaction is generally quite negative.”
Lawrence-Tourinho added the date was chosen to coincide with Bi Visibility Day to help tackle bi erasure.
“Bi Erasure (the opposite of bi visibility) is one of our community’s biggest challenges – people erasing us from dialog, news stories, history, films/TV, and everywhere else,” he said.
“Part of this is because people cannot immediately see or read our sexuality based on the gender of our partner. People see a woman with another woman, and think of us as lesbians. People see a woman with a man, they think of us as straight.” Although Bi Visibility Day has been celebrated more and more by communities around the world, Lawrence-Tourinho said it was important to “make a big splash” to promote visibility. “That’s where the idea for the big Bi Pride event including a Bi Visibility Walk came from,” he added. “That bi people are here, that we matter, that being bi is great and something to be celebrated!”
Lawrence-Tourinho said the celebration will hopefully “grow and evolve over the years”, adding it is a chance for organisations to engage our community on “a level of respect”. “I’m very excited at what the future holds,” he said, adding that there is “tremendous room for improvement” when it comes to bi visibility. “We need LGBT organisations to remember that at least half the people they claim to represent are bi people. Pretty much without exception, we are always an afterthought. “Bi Visibility needs to progress to a point where we are represented frequently in media, in all kinds of stories and in respectful ways. Bi people deserve to feel ‘normal’, like we are not alone.”