Throughout January, the Utah Pride Center will observe its second Bisexual Awareness Month, that organizers claim is the only event of its kind in the country.
The concept for a month dedicated to raising bisexual visibility began in September, 2005 when Jay and Shauna Brock, created the Utah Bisexual Support Group. When the Brocks asked about the bisexual community’s presence at the Center, Adult Program Director Jennifer Nuttall encouraged them to help start more programs to encourage more bisexual participation.
Shauna Brock said that she is proud that a Utah event is leading “the discussion of our issues in the public forum.”
“Since Kinsey’s research in the 1950s, the existence and prevalence of bisexuality has been accessible public knowledge, but our invisibility has endured through the decades. I hope this trend begins to reverse as January’s events bring increased awareness,” she said.
Conducted throughout the 1930s and 40s, Professor Alfred Kinsey’s research, which included the rating of an individual’s sexual behavior and sexual desire on a scale between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual, was not the last to be conducted on bisexuality. As part of her own research into sexuality Dr. Lisa Diamond, an Associate Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah, has conducted several studies into the sexuality of women who identify as sexual minorities. “[N]onexclusivity in attractions appear to be the norm rather than the exception,” Diamond says of her work. “And this is critical to understanding sexual fluidity from a psychological perspective.”
Organizers of Bisexual Awareness Month say that research like Diamond’s proves that the bisexual behavior and attraction exists and merits further study.
According to Rachel Langton, one of the moderators of the Bisexual Support Group, the goals of the month long event is to break down stereotypes about bisexuality (including the myth that it doesn’t exist) and to encourage a sense of community among a group that is often ignored and marginalized.
“While many people’s sexualities are, in fact, fluid over the course of their lifetimes, we are a culture that demands labels and boxes. So, if you’re a bisexual woman who happens to be dating a man, then you are instantly classified as heterosexual,” she explained.
“If I bring an opposite sex partner to the Pride Festival, I sometimes feel like an outside spectator rather than being recognized as actively celebrating my sexuality,” agreed Yana Walton, the Center’s Director of Communications. “In the same vein, if you’re a bisexual man who is dating a man, it is often though that you must be gay.”
During January, the Utah Bisexuals Support Group will host several events focused on educating the public about bisexuality and breaking down stereotypes (see accompanying schedule for further information).
The Utah Bisexuals Support Group is part of the Utah Pride Center’s adult programming. The group meets at Center on the second Thursday of each month from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. For more information, please contact the Utah Pride Center at utahpridecenter.org. The support group’s Web site is located at utahbisexuals.bravehost.com/index.html.