Thursday 25 July 2019

Ally Challenge

I got chatting to someone the other afternoon about bisexuals and allies. In part it was prompted by being at Sparkle and seeing some publications offering tip for allies on how to be supportive to your trans friends, family, workmates and partners.

There have been similar things for lesbians and gay men and from within the diversity and equality campaigner bubble it feels like cishet allies more or less know what they should do and what they should look out for.

Is it different for bis? After all we were historically thought of in LGBT community discourse as kind of "gay lite", with therefore just a smaller level of the same support as you might give to gay friends and family members needed.

Except in recent years it has turned out that no: bisexual experience is, as the bisexuals were saying unheeded all along, qualititavely different from gay life. And it has turned out that, in the statistics, bi experience is not "gay lite" but a kind of "homophobia plus".

Up til now it has been hard for allies to help tackle biphobia because of our own invisibility and because of the lack of differentiation between gay and bi life experience in research and anecdote, and so willing allies simply didn't know enough about our challenges: about what biphobia looks like and what it does. It feels like we are in a time where that changes. At last!