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The only scary thing here is that I've been doing "bi stuff" longer than some shybis have been alive!

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Owning the word

So often in talking about bisexuality I find people wanting to dodge "being labelled". Labels are, they explain, bad. Harmful. Restricting, people putting you in a metaphorical box.

I wonder what it's about really.

Cos when I came out as bi to my sister and she said "me too", labels were really useful.

When we talked about some of the problems we'd had being bi, other labels were really useful too - gay, straight, men, women...

When I found a bi group, having a word for it was very handy. Otherwise the poster would have had to be terribly waffly, like some kind of parlour game, a version of the yes-no game where you can never say "both" or "and".

I think frustrations with labels are often not about labels - which are just words, the very things that have made us such a hugely successful species - but about the things people think come along with the labels. Bisexuals are indecisive. Bisexuals are greedy. Bisexuals haven't properly come out yet and will pick a team later.

None of those things are actually about bisexuals. But you hear them enough and being labelled bisexual doesn't feel like a good idea.

Which is a shame, because as boxes to be put in, bisexual is just about the roomiest, least restricting box in the world. As wide as the seas. From "my head is almost only ever turned by women, but that one man every now and then" to "it's all about the genderqueers, but there was that one time with someone cis", from "lots of all sorts of people" to "only a couple of people ever, but I'm open to whatever might come along next".

This year's "Big Bi Tweet" for Bi Visibility Day has launched! Anyone can join in and help #BiPride and #BiVisibilityDay trend again this September 23rd.
If you've never heard of it - September 23rd has been marked as Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, since 1999. It's a great excuse to talk about both bisexuality and the effects of biphobia.
In recent years its grown and grown. Barack Obama's White House held receptions to talk about bi people's issues from 2013-2016. Sadly that's probably not going to be continued by the Trump administration (now I stop and think what The Donald might tweet about it I'd probably rather they ignore it!)
The UK government has issued messages of support for the past few years too.
Bi and bi-friendly groups organise events, town halls issue proclamations and the like. Last year Leeds City Hall even got lit up in purple to mark the day while many public buildings fly the pink, purple and blue bi flag.

Last weekend was York LGBT Pride so I went along and helped out for a bit on the bi stall (if you can talk cheerfully and on-topic to strangers, the people who organise those stalls at Prides are always looking for volunteers!)

It was striking just how many bi people there were - lining up sometimes four people wide and three rows deep to take turns to sign up to email lists, take flyers and stickers and bi magazines and the like.  I've run bi stalls in the past with hardly anyone showing interest so it was really heartening.

It was fairly busy at Bury Pride a few weeks ago too. I think the bisexuals are coming out of the woodwork more than ever before - it's heartening and I love going home from a Pride stall that we've had to close down because of running out of every single leaflet, pamphlet and so forth we had!

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