This is part of #KaraniwangLGBTQIA, which Outrage Magazine officially launched on July 26, 2015 to offer vignettes of LGBT people/living, particularly in the Philippines, to give so-called “everyday people” – in this case, the common LGBTQIA people – that chance to share their stories.
As Outrage Magazine editor Michael David C. Tan says: “All our stories are valid – not just the stories of the ‘big shots’. And it’s high time we start telling all our stories.”
“The bi community has gained more visibility in recent years,” said Fire Sia, who helped found bi organization Side B Philippines. “But visibility is never a guarantee of understanding.” This is why, for them, “we need to work hard to educate our community on the bi identity, as well as communicate with other bi-identified group to gain knowledge from them as well.”
Fire Sia actually started moderating a Yahoo! group in the mid 2000s; it was called the Phil. Womyn’s Bisexual Network. And while “I was already an LGBTQIA advocate prior to that, (I) was mostly aligned with lesbian and womyn’s groups,” they said, adding that – in hindsight – “I decided to try to find other bi-womyn back then when I still identified as exclusively female.”
In 2016, Fire Sia co-founded Side B Philippines, largely as an offshoot of the continuing lack of bi representation even in supposedly LGBTQIA discussions and/or gatherings.
“LGBTQIA Pride, for me, is cultivating a culture of understanding and acceptance where identities are respected and people are understood,” Fire Sia said.
Fire Sia recognizes that there remain a lot of misconceptions about being bi (e.g. it’s just a phase), so “I share information with people who are would like to listen,” they said. “It’s part of my advocacy to dispel myths and provide clarity my bi identity.”
It is also worth noting that even from within the LGBTQIA community, bi inclusion – at many times – tends to be tokenistic. And for Fire Sia, the LGBTQIA community itself can help deal with this to ensure proper representation by “accepting and acknowledging that we exist beyond just being a letter and (that being bi as just) a phase.”
As for the bi community, “communicate with other bi groups and be open to conversation. Understand what bisexuality is so that you can help dispel myths and misconceptions. B confident. B proud. We are not invisible and we exist.”