Bi Visibility Day: Activists For LGBT Charity Stonewall Tell Their Stories

Stonewall, the biggest LGBT charity in the UK, hasn’t always had the best track record when it comes to bisexual visibility in its campaigns. But things are changing fast under a new leadership team and here at Biscuit we salute their efforts – and bring you two bi activists very proud to be speaking out under the Stonewall banner…

Sarah LynnSarah Lynn, Communications Officer, Stonewall Cymru

I recently started my first relationship with a woman. Despite knowing that I identify very openly as bi (pansexual to be exact), and that I had previously dated men, my housemate and friends like to crack jokes about how me and my girlfriend will soon be moving in together and getting a cat – because that’s what lesbians do.

Ridiculous stereotypes and tired jokes aside, knowing that even though I am very open about my sexuality, it is still not taken seriously by those closest to me hurts. That they have all at some point or another been involved in LGBT activism makes me despair for the recognition bi identities receive. Bi erasure is so pervasive that we have to be constantly vigilant, constantly fighting to make ourselves seen and heard, lest we be forgotten.  And it’s not for lack of bi role models in the media – the Wikipedia list is so long it has to be separated into four different pages! But people forget. The moment an out bi celebrity starts a relationship they are labelled gay or straight, their identity banished from collective memory.

I used to joke that being bi, I was imaginary. I now realise that we are more like the Silence from Dr Who: we are everywhere but when you look away you forget we ever existed.  So grab a pen and keep a tally, because while we aren’t trying to take over the world, it would be nice to be recognised as being a part of it.

 

Kelsey2Kelsey Hibbert, 21, Student and Stonewall Talent Alumni

I identify as bisexual because I see it as less restrictive.

I know I’m not straight and I know I’m not gay, and I’m constantly realising  more things about who I am and who I find attractive in different ways. I’m less “obsessed” with whether I am “gay or straight enough” to be considered bi, and more focused on just seeing people as they come along.

I didn’t come out at school, as I was already badly bullied, and I don’t regret that decision because giving them that information would’ve been like handing them a loaded gun. It wasn’t until college I got my first proper girlfriend, and realised that no matter what gender, love is great and love is complicated. I began working and volunteering with young people, and even setting up my own local charity that worked with schools in order to eradicate and prevent sexuality and gender discrimination. Since then I’ve learned a lot more about people.

I’ve learned that sexuality and even gender to an extent is pretty fluid, and that as much as labels can be helpful for us to find a relatable identity, they can be restrictive and can become unhelpful. Don’t worry too much about trying to mould who you are to put yourself into a “tick-box” – they’re meant to be there for you. If find you can’t categorise yourself, make a new category.

I’m currently an advertising student at Falmouth University, and am a big fan of ethical advertising, marketing that empowers you, not makes you fearful. This is why I got involved with young people’s charities and campaigns such as with Stonewall, because I want to make a difference. I want to be a part of empowering campaigns that really help and shape the world in a positive way.

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Charlotte Dingle

Charlotte 'Lottie' Dingle is Biscuit's founding editor. When she's not running freelancing for a diverse bunch of clients ranging from Cosmo to Occupy, she enjoys teaching life drawing, discussing life/the universe/everything with her beloved (but smelly) 22-year-old cat, writing flash fiction for her MA course, getting pretentious tattoos, listening to folk music, creating surrealist art, trying to change the world and drinking red wine. Oh, and My Little Pony. Don't forget My Little Pony. Her favourite biscuits are cream crackers (do they count as biscuits?).

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