Bi erasure happens in many ways.
When people push the idea that bisexuality does not exist. When people continue to refer to us as “lesbian” or “gay”, even if we’ve already self-identified as “bisexual”. When people tell us that we just use the term “bi” to “deny our homosexuality”. When people insist that we are actually straight, and are just experimenting or confused. When people describe bisexuality as a “purgatory” for people who have yet to make up their minds. When people hyper-sexualize us (called as “flirts”, “perverts” and “polygamous” because we are attracted to both males and females).
In all of these, we get brushed off as non-existent.
And this is why – even if we supposedly count as among the letters in the LGBT alphabet – bisexual Pride continues to be weak in the Philippines (particularly when compared with LBT).
The LGBT community itself is part of the “problem”, with many members believing – if not advocating – the erroneous beliefs (cited above) about being bi.
Consider this: In 2016, when we joined the Metro Manila Pride parade, that annual gathering supposedly to highlight (all) LGBT Filipinos, there were only two of us who openly marched as bisexuals, representing Side B Philippines. In hindsight, another group whose members identified as bi was there; but that group was not even considered a “real/actual” organization, just a “gathering of similarly self-identifying people”.
Suffice to say, it continues to be a challenge to have bisexual people come out.
And not extending a hand is not making it easier either.
But I believe a pro-active approach can help.
Let me be blunt here: The Philippines’ LGBT community needs to affirm our existence.
Help us steer the conversations about us – e.g. not confuse being bi with just being “discreet”. Celebrate “Bisexual Awareness Month” every September. Support bi-led activities (e.g. next year Side B Philippines is planning to spearhead a bi awareness campaign and hold numerous activities to ensure bi visibility). And perhaps more importantly, help us create a culture wherein bi people define their own identity. In a gist, help us help ourselves…