Ending Bi Erasure — on TV and in Our LGBT Worlds
In the age of the Internet, one of the most provocative ways to share messages is with personal videos like the Dan Savage-launched popular viral stalwart, It Gets Better, or Cyndi Lauper’s Give a Damn, where Anna Paquin announced her bisexuality. Paquin could have also considered making her coming out statement with the Bi Social Network’s latest campaign: the viral video series I Am Visible.
Founded in 2009, the Bi Social Network is the first interactive bisexual network dealing with entertainment, sexuality, social events, and community — a large part of which is its campaign. Adrienne Williams, founder of Bi Social Network, says the campaign, which started in November 2010, is meant “to showcase the lack of visibility in the LGBT community on all sides, but really to showcase bis as having a place to be themselves.”
Williams started a yearlong project in 2011 to promote the I Am Visible campaign to stop biphobia and bi erasure, helping to get word out while speaking at the GLAAD National Media Institute for People of Color about bi inclusion and visibility. She was invited to the White House by President Obama to his LGBT reception in June, which made her a media darling in a variety of venues, including Stephanie Miller’s progressive talk radio show and the Associated Press.
The I Am Visible campaign goal is to make a difference in the lives of bisexual people, she says. Too often bisexuals are lost in the conversation over same-sex marriage (often reduced to “gay marriage” by the media), coming out, parenting, DADT, or any number of rights issues.
“We are a part of the gay, lesbian, transgender, and straight communities,” she says. “We also know that there has been a high level of intolerance of late — particularly in our gay and lesbian communities in print, Web, entertainment, politics, and social media. We are here to tell our stories.”
So far I Am Visible has had some star power — actor Paul Fitzgerald and musician Robin Renee are among notables who joined the campaign — but mostly, says Williams, “people who have joined are just everyday people. Many have writing stories about their lives, or submitted imagery for the campaign.”
Bi Social Network, a modern online community that also works to uncover “biphobia and bi-erasure myths of bisexuality” in social media and pop culture, already gets about 12,000 visitors a month and has 1,647 members and growing. While the I Am Visible campaign has a wide reach, the group also hosts Bi Talk Radio and, soon, a TV program and an online magazine. Now, that’s visible.