West Hollywood is set to host what is believed to be the first citywide bisexual Pride in the country.
The Los Angeles chapter of community group amBi is organizing the event, to be held September 22, the day before Bisexual Visibility Day, alongside the City of West Hollywood and HRC L.A. September is also Bisexual Awareness Month.
“While a small number of cities have issued proclamations recognizing Bi Visibility Day, this is an historic celebration as the first full-fledged Bi Pride celebration hosted by any U.S. city,” Ian Lawrence-Tourinho, President of the amBi network, told the Los Angeles Blade.
Despite nearly half of the LGBTQ community identifying as bisexual, according to a recent study, bisexual erasure remains a problem. Therefore, it is important for the community to be actively visible, Lawrence-Tourinho said.
“Short of carrying bi flags around all day, to be visibly bi we’d have to walk hand in hand with at least two people who aren’t the same sex.”
Further, he says, much of the general public remains “threatened by bisexuality” because of its inherent blurring of the assumed “clear lines between straight and gay that people find very reassuring.”
“Ostensibly LGBT events and LGBT organizations fail time and time again to address bi community. Just a few years ago, it was common for amBi to get booed and heckled by gays and lesbians in the crowd as we marched in the LA Pride Parade. We still get hostile people coming up to us at the festival every year,” he continued.
“Communities of color, trans and non-binary people, bisexuals, and lesbians still receive a lot of discrimination in our community at large,” added John Erickson, of the West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board.
“After the city formally recognized Celebrate Bisexuality Day last September, it came up as another way to engage the bi community in West Hollywood—outside of the policy work we did internally at the city to draw more attention to the bi related services the city offers as well as has on its website,” Erickson continued.
“The board took it upon themselves to work out this major event and get it cosponsored by the City Council and then work with all the partners that are currently engaged to make it the success that it will be.”
“Since being involved with HRC, I wanted to make it possible for bisexuals, especially bisexual people of color to feel equality and to feel part of the community and celebrated,” said Ashlei Shyne, who works in the HRC’s Community Engagement Subcommittee. “I hope this is a first step in coming out of the shadows and feeling prideful of our bisexuality in The City of West Hollywood.”
The First Annual Bi Pride celebration, a free event, will start at 1pm, with a rally in front of the West Hollywood Park Auditorium. That will be followed by a Bi Visibility Walk through West Hollywood, and will end by circling back to the Auditorium for a party. Performers will include Torrey Mercer, and L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs Artist-in-Residence Kai Hazelwood.