After the Pulse tragedy and then election last year, there was a wave of coming out stories from bisexual people and the wider LGBTQ community. In the face of tragedy and upheaval, people were inspired to be their true selves and to seek comfort, solace and fellowship with the community as a whole. So this year, many bisexual people are attending Pride for the first time. Combine that with increasing availability of bi swag (thank you Target!) and there has been a striking increase in bisexual visibility at the festivals I have attended so far this month. This is fantastic! If you’re bi and heading to a Pride parade or festival, here’s what you can expect: the good, the bad, and the ugly. These insights are based on my own personal experience, and the experiences of others I’ve interacted with online and in person. If you’d like to share your experience as a bisexual Pride attendee, I’d love to hear it in the comments below!
- Community: Finding, celebrating, and being visible with other members of the queer community, and especially the bisexual community, is a wonderful feeling.
- Fun: From parades to festivals, Pride is a fun atmosphere, with floats, vendors, community booths and info, food trucks, and activities. Most Pride festivals are family friendly, or have family areas, if you’d like to bring your kids. Take it all in!
- Overwhelm: the representation, celebration, and activism can be emotionally overwhelming. Take space for yourself if you need to, check in with yourself emotionally, and go with others who can support you emotionally.
- Party Culture: there is a lot of drinking, partying in the sun, and sometimes drug use. Be safe and know your limits.
- Loneliness/Lack of Representation: if you are one of the only bi people at pride, or the only one, it can make you feel sad and isolated. See if you can find some bi groups participating and meet up with them, or find other groups you might be affiliated with or interested in.
- Erasure/Harassment: being made to feel unwelcome because you are bisexual, or told you don’t belong at Pride either because you are bisexual or because you read as straight. I have only experienced this in my personal life, never at a Pride parade or festival, but I know it has happened to others. If possible, inform the person/people that you have every right to be at Pride, or find a buddy who can back you up. Pride is a place of celebration, so try to deescalate the situation if possible. If not, find a graceful exit and move on: erasure and harassment suck, but try not to let them ruin your overall experience.
With all of that said, let’s go back to The Good for a moment. The very best thing about being visible as a bisexual person at a Pride parade or festival is that you are helping fight erasure and lack of representation and visibility simply by showing up. When you show who you are with a banner, sign, button, t-shirt, makeup or other bi-flag inspired attire and accessories, you make someone out there in the crowd feel less alone. You also show the wider LGTQ+ community that WE DO EXIST. Thank you. Happy Pride.