People gather at a bi visibility awareness month march, one protestor holds a sign with the bisexual flag colors that reads

Celebrating Bisexual Visibility Month

September isn’t just the beginning of fall here in Worcester, MA, it’s also known globally as Bisexual Visibility Month. This month-long celebration is all about honoring and uplifting the individuals who find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of bisexuality. Whether you're bisexual yourself or an ally, bisexuality has a long history and deserves to be recognized. Recognition is a form of celebration and encourages others to learn about the history of bisexuality and important bisexual men and women current day and historically.

Bi Visibility Month: A History

Bisexual Visibility Month, also known as Bisexual Awareness Month, has its roots in LGBTQ+ activism. September became officially recognized as Bi Visibility Month in 1999, thanks to the tireless efforts of Wendy Curry, Gigi Raven Wilbur, and other change-making LGBTQ+ activists. Officially, Bisexual Visibility Day is celebrated every year on September 23rd

The purpose of celebrating bisexuality for the month was simple yet profound: to shine a spotlight on bisexuality and to combat the stigma and stereotypes surrounding it. By devoting a whole month to celebrating and raising awareness about bisexuality, activists hope to ensure that everyone feels seen, heard, and respected. Read more in-depth about the history of bisexuality and the individuals who worked hard to be seen and heard.

So… What is Bi Visibility Month, Exactly?

Bi Visibility Month is a time to celebrate, educate, and advocate for the bisexual community. Historically, bisexuality has been widely misunderstood or written off entirely, leading to harmful stereotypes and erasure of bisexual identity and individuals. Dedicating the month of September to bisexual awareness provides a platform to debunk myths and foster understanding. Simply put, it’s all about letting people know that bisexuality is valid and that love knows no gender boundaries.

Someone holds up a sign at a pride parade that says "Bisexuals visible and fighting" in Spanish "Bisexuales visibles y en lucha" to show support for bi awareness and bi visibility.The Importance of Bisexual Visibility

LGBTQ+ activists envisioned a world in which everyone would be able to love who they love and suffer no discrimination, violence, or hate. Celebrating bisexual visibility every September is about creating a world where every bisexual individual feels safe to express themselves and their love, and is ultimately accepted and cherished for who they are.

Visibility matters because it helps combat biphobia and fosters inclusivity. When bisexual individuals see themselves not only acknowledged but represented and celebrated, it leads to increased self-acceptance and a sense of belonging. On the surface, this may seem simple, but cultivating these positive feelings actually leads to diminished experiences of depression and self-harm in the LGBTQ+ community. Bi Visibility Month is a step toward reducing mental health disparities in the bisexual community and improving overall well-being, physically and emotionally. 

Many people gather holding banners and signs in support of LGBTQ+ individuals, bi awareness and visibility, and the rest of the queer community at a pride parade or a bi visibility month march.Everyone Benefits

Bisexual Visibility Month isn't just for the bisexual community; it's for everyone. Below are a few reasons that Bisexual Visibility Month is crucial in our communities:

Education and Awareness: By learning about bisexuality, schools, workplaces, and families, are able to break down stereotypes and prejudices. This knowledge can lead to more inclusive and accepting communities. Learn more about bisexuality.

Support and Allyship: Celebrating Bisexual Visibility Month shows support for the bisexual community, making bisexual individuals feel valued, seen, and understood. Gain a deeper understanding of cultivating allyship.

Intersectionality: Bisexuality intersects with other aspects of identity, such as race, gender, and disability. Recognizing and celebrating this diversity promotes a more inclusive society and ensures the support of each and every individual. Read more about intersectionality.

Mental Health: As we mentioned earlier, increased visibility improves the mental health and well-being of bisexual individuals. A happier, healthier community benefits us all.

How To Get Involved

Celebrating Bisexual Visibility Month is all about participating to make a difference in our communities. Here are some ways to get involved…

Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn about bisexuality, its history, and the challenges bisexual individuals face.

Show Your Support: Attend local events, engage with social media campaigns, and wear purple, the official color of Bisexual Visibility Month.

Amplify Bisexual Voices: Share articles, books, and art created by bisexual individuals. Give them a platform to share their experiences, and don’t forget to listen!

Donate: Consider donating to organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community.

An individual in a hot pink suit stands in front of a crowd at a pride parade, fist raised, or perhaps it's a bi visibility month celebration. Attend Inclusive Events

Celebrating Bi Visibility Month involves heightened awareness and learning, but it should also involve fun! 

We are excited to share that we have a fantastic event lined up for the beginning of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month! At Pawsitively 4 Pink, we have created an incredibly supportive and inclusive community centered around supporting local Worcester women battling breast cancer. Our events bring locals together to raise money for local underserved women so that we can make a direct financial impact on their lives. Join us on October 7th for our "Rhythm 4 Ribbons" event. We'll be hosting some incredible live music and local food trucks. This is a fantastic opportunity to connect in a safe, supportive environment and aid a worthy cause!

If you can’t make it to Rhythm 4 Ribbons, don’t worry - there are more events on the way! If you’re interested in getting involved in Pawsitively 4 Pink by hosting a percentage night or volunteering, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Or, support Worcester women fighting breast cancer with a direct donation. Every dollar makes a difference!

Health Care For Gays: Finding Inclusive Care for LGBTQ+

Here at Pawsitively 4 Pink, Pride month is a big deal! We wanted to help celebrate by spreading important info about finding supportive and comprehensive healthcare and health care professionals who are supportive of LGBTQ+ individuals. 

Anyone who has searched for a doctor knows how hard finding a high-quality professional can be - and that only gets exponentially more difficult when searching for an even smaller pool of healthcare professionals who have experience working with the LGBTQ+ community. Finding a doctor who is not only knowledgeable about specific needs but also supportive and open-minded is crucial to the patient’s overall well-being. 

A good, comprehensive, and open doctor is crucial as they provide the necessary care and create a safe space for patients to discuss their concerns without fear of judgment or discrimination. At Pawsitively 4 Pink we believe deeply that each and every person deserves adequate and complete health care no matter their sexuality or financial status, especially the women we serve who are diagnosed with breast cancer. Below are steps LBTQ+ individuals can take to find the doctor and care they deserve.

1. Look for Clues Online LGBTQ+ Friendly Health Care Providers: 

Start by researching healthcare providers in your area who explicitly state their commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusivity. This may be harder in some states than others, of course. Look for clinics, hospitals, or individual doctors who have affirming policies stated on their websites or have been recommended by LGBTQ+ organizations or community members. Check your surrounding area for women health care centers. Online directories like the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) or LGBTQ+ health advocacy groups are valuable resources to find gay and lesbian-friendly doctors.

If it’s unclear whether or not a provider or center is LBGTQ+ friendly, it’s a great idea to make an anonymous call and ask whether or not the center sees LGBTQ+ patients on a regular basis or has gender-affirming spaces. The way staff answers these inquiries will provide even more clues as to whether or not this space is right for you.

Doctor who provides LGBTQ+ affirming care and specialized knowledge for their LGBTQ+ patients holds up a cut-out chat bubble, encouraging patients to start the conversation.2. Seek Out Recommendations: 

Rely on the community to help guide your search. Reach out to friends, family, or members of LGBTQ+ communities and ask them about their experiences with healthcare providers. Personal recommendations provide invaluable insights into which doctors who are knowledgeable, supportive, and open to providing inclusive health care for gays and other LGBTQ+ individuals. 

Crucially, your community will also steer clear of noninclusive or downright non-affirming providers. Consider joining local LGBTQ+ support groups or online forums on sites like Facebook groups or Reddit to connect with individuals and learn from others’ experiences.

3. Schedule a Consultation: 

Once you have identified potential doctors, schedule consultations or introductory appointments with your top choices. Use this opportunity to advocate for yourself by discussing your concerns, personal medical history, and asking questions. 

Based on the provider’s response, you will be able to quickly gauge their understanding of LGBTQ+ healthcare. Pay attention to their responses or hesitations, body language, and overall attitude toward your inquiries to ensure they are knowledgeable and respectful. A good doctor will be open to learning and willing to adapt their practices to meet your unique needs and concerns.

For urgent questions, resources like Roo, a chatbot released by Planned Parenthood, are a great starting point for those who can’t get to a doctor immediately. 

Image of a stethoscope resting over a rainbow heart and a paper cut-out family with two moms represents the importance of gay friendly health care and LGBTQ+ affirming doctors in gay family planning and gay healthcare support.4. Consider Specializations: 

While general practitioners provide primary care, it’s worthwhile to consider seeking specialists who have expertise in LGBTQ+ healthcare or specifically women's health. They are sure to have an even deeper understanding of the specific health challenges faced by LBTQ+ women. This would be especially beneficial for someone struggling with long-term health issues, chronic illnesses, or even breast cancer.

5. Trust Yourself: 

No matter what you read or hear, always trust your gut when choosing a doctor. Finding comfort and trust in your health care provider is essential for establishing a strong doctor-patient relationship. If you have hesitations towards your doctor, you may not tell them the full story 100% of the time, which in turn has the potential to cause inadequate care. 

If you feel uneasy or judged during your initial consultation, it is a sign that this doctor is not the right fit for you. Do not give up! There are plenty of doctors out there, so schedule multiple consultations to give yourself a few different options to consider. Each doctor will be able to provide something unique, and it’s only a matter of time before you find the right one for you.

Remember: Health care for gays and LBTQ+ individuals is your right! You deserve a healthcare professional who listens to you, respects your choices, and addresses your concerns with empathy and understanding.

That’s what we’re all about: Providing financial support to local underserved women battling breast cancer. If you’re passionate about helping women, get in touch to explore volunteer opportunities. Or, if you're struggling with a breast cancer diagnosis, please join our support group.