I wrote this after a call out for the Cork Pride Booklet asking for a piece from a Bi person, but due to some confusion over deadlines it won’t be included so I am publishing it here with additions.
I am Proud To Be living in Ireland in the 21 Century, not just the passing of the Marriage Equality referendum but the many more changes I have seen in the last 20 years.
I have very proud of the group of people who have come together as the Bi+ Network and the work which has been done over the last year to bring together, support and increase the visibility of non monosexual people in Ireland. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there are so many of us who are Bisexual, pansexual and bi romantic in Ireland and from all 4 corners of the country.
I am proud of the work I have done as an out Bisexual person, in giving interviews on TV and Radio and of the raising the issue that Marriage Equality effects Bisexual people too on various social media platforms.
I am proud to see a generation of young people who have grown up attending the workshops and groups which BelongTo run all over the countryside being so open about being Bisexual and being so accepting of their peers being Bisexual.
I am proud that so many of our secondary schools have the Stand Up program running in them. That there are positive messages about being LGBT are being heard in many of our schools. That so many rainbow flags were raised on college campuses across the country.
That my own kids have grown up secure knowing that if they turned out to be LGBTQI that they were never have to fear being kicked out of the family or out of home and I hope that this will be the same one day for all teens.
Yes we still have to wait for the the marriage equality legislation to pass through the houses of the Oireacthas, yes there is still work needed on the Gender Identity bill, yes the health care services need to do better when dealing with LGBT clients. But what has been accomplished in the last 20 years makes me so very hopeful.
I was a teenager when homosexuality was decriminalized in Ireland, someone being ‘gay’ was a term mentioned in hushed tones or else there were unkinder words slung at people. Even after the change in the law it has taken a long time for the level of acceptance LGBTQI have to come about but it’s not finished yet.
Bisexual people still have to deal with having our identifies defined by our partners, which is absurd and more often then not we don’t hear the term Bisexual at all in the discourse we see in our media, from print, broadcast and even online media. Which is why the T shirt I wore at the Dublin Pride has the Bisexu Whale on it, if you are unsure how to say the word Bisexual, try pronouncing Bi Sex U Whale first.
We had just under 50 people walking with the Bi+ Ireland Group at Dublin Pride. It was the 1st time there had been a BI group with a banner, hopefully we will register earlier next year and so not be so far to the back of the parade. The feeling of solidarity was wonderful and so was having people cheer us. Unfortunately I did hear remarks from people as I was the lead steward for our group and walking slightly ahead of the block.
All of the comments came from white men, most of whom given what t shirts they were wearing I am going to assume were also gay men. 4 times I heard the phrase “Bi now Gay later!” also heard “who let the breeders march” “bisexuals are real?!” and a few more which I won’t repeat. It seems We have a long way to go to combat Biphobia yet.
These two lovely members ordered Bi Pride flags and wore them, they had people tell them they were wearing the wrong flag, or just be utterly confused about the flag. But we did a huge amount for BiVisiblity by just taking part in the Parade.
So out of all the things I am Proud to be, I am Proud To Be Hopeful that we will as a Society keep moving forward with the acceptance and support for all LGBTQI people.