Today, the "B" in LGBT will be celebrated around the globe. Since 1999, Sept. 23 of each year has been set aside for the bisexual community to increase awareness of what some reports call the largest segment of the LGBT community.
Worldwide, a number of events, seminars, gatherings, and even a White House roundtable will be held for bisexuals and others to meet, network, share information, and raise visibility.
According to Bi Visibility Day's Facebook page, the day was created 14 years ago by activists Wendy Curry of Maine, Michael Page of Florida and Gigi Raven Wilbur of Texas. The three wanted to start the day because as the gay and lesbian community had grown in strength and visibility since the Stonewall Riots of 1969, they felt the bisexual community was still invisible.
Labels are a big part of the invisibility factor, with organizers citing the example that most people would just assume a male-male couple walking down the street holding hands to be gay, and a male-female couple to be straight.
Many in the bisexual community say they feel marginalized by both the straight and greater LGBT communities, and use this day to educate all people about bisexuality.
Bi Visibility Day organizers maintain a website which provides research, resources and information for and about the bisexual community, and also serves as an organizing platform for events around the world.
The bisexual flag
While the greater LGBT community is able to rally around the rainbow flag, the bisexual community - like many subgroups of the LGBT community - has created a flag to serve as a symbol for bisexual people. The bisexual pride flag includes three colors - deep pink, royal blue, and lavender - which each have representative meanings.
The deep pink stripe represents same-gender attraction; the royal blue stripe represents the possibility of opposite-gender attraction; and the lavender stripe represents the possibility of attraction anywhere along the entire gender spectrum.
Activist Michael Page designed the flag in 1998, hoping to help increase the visibility of bisexuals.
The Bi Visibility Day website also hosts a "Flying the Flag" section on its website where people are able to post locations where the bisexual pride flag is flying around the world.
Bisexual Pride events
The Bi Visibility website lists dozens of events happening around the world in the UK, Ireland, Canada, United States, Australia, France, Israel, Mexico, Spain, The Netherlands, Norway and Denmark.
In California, events are scheduled in three cities, including Los Angeles, Bakersfield and San Francisco.
The Los Angeles Bi Task Force hosted a bisexual arts festival and social at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center on Sunday.
Today in Bakersfield, students and other campus community members at Bakersfield College will host an information table, panel discussion and BBQ.
In San Francisco, a Celebrate Bisexuality Day party will be held at El Rio from 6-10 pm.
Additional information about these events and others happening around the globe is on the Bi Visibility Day website under the "2013" tab.
White House roundtable
Today, as Americans commemorate Celebrate Bisexuality Day, GLAAD reports that the White House is holding a roundtable with some of the country's top bisexual advocates. This is a historic first gathering at the White House to address issues facing bisexual Americans.
Invitations were sent a month ago to this closed-door roundtable. The White House worked with prominent bisexual organizations Bisexual Resource Center, based in Boston, Mass. and BiNet USA, a national network of bisexual organizations.
According to the Washington Blade, bisexual advocates are excited for the gathering.
Ellyn Ruthstrom, president of the Bisexual Resource Center, said the White House roundtable provides an important opportunity for bisexual advocates to come together to “share their perspectives” with LGBT advocates and administration officials.
“Our bisexual community is suffering to a larger degree on many of these different health disparities, mental health issues,” Ruthstrom said. “You just assume if we’re addressing just the LGBT community as a whole, then we must be taking care of bisexuals. And that is not the case.”
The White House has given little information about the roundtable, citing that it is closed to the public and to press. The practice of holding closed-door meetings is common, not just for LGBT issues.
Bisexual people are often either ignored or face terrible myths about their relationships. The Miami Herald spoke with Luigi Ferrer, one of the attendees about the issues facing the bisexual community.
"There is still a lot of prejudice around bisexuality," Ferrer said. "Mental health professionals aren’t immune to that, although they try to educate themselves."
Also, he said, "there really hasn’t been a strong national organization speaking out for bisexuals."
"What that leads to is being left out of important policy conversations," he said. "Now we are finally having some of those."
On today, Celebrate Bisexuality Day, it is important for media outlets to tell the stories of bisexual Americans. The White House roundtable is one such way to reach out to bisexual people.
Additional information about Celebrate Bisexuality Day is HERE.
Left photo: The bisexual pride flag.