The District will celebrate its first officially recognized Bisexual Pride Day on Sept. 23 as part of a grassroots effort to be celebrate the bisexual community, often the targets of prejudice from both the straight and gay communities.
The day, which is modeled after several other LGBT-related prides, aims to educate the rest of Washington about issues affecting the bisexual community. According to Loraine Hutchins, a local professor and well-known bisexual activist, this year marks the first official Bi Pride, but local bisexuals have been holding unofficial celebrations since the 1990s.
A representative from Mayor Vincent Gray's (D) office is expected to issue a proclamation declaring the day as ''Celebrate Bisexuality Day,'' in keeping with Gray's record of promoting and defending pro-LGBT initiatives, for which he will be honored at The DC Center's annual fall reception, Sept. 20.
To celebrate Bisexual Pride Day, The DC Center, the city's LGBT community center – in conjunction with D.C. chapter of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and the Alliance of Multicultural Bisexuals (AMBi) – will host a panel discussion with local bisexual activists ABilly Jones-Hennin and Sabrina Sojourner.
Jones-Hennin says he hopes Monday's panel discussion will educate people and help them realize that bisexuals exist across all demographics.
Hutchins adds that, on confidential surveys, more people identify as bisexual than gay or lesbian, particularly among younger groups and among people of color.
''Bisexuals have largely been invisible in the District of Columbia,'' says Jones-Hennin. ''In spite of it being politically correct to say LGBT, people often don't understand – or make crude jokes – when it comes to bisexuality. We are a strong part of the LGBT movement, but when we are ostracized, it ends up pushing us back into the closet.''
The Celebrate Bisexuality Day panel discussion will be held in the first-floor conference room at The Residences at Thomas Circle, 1330 Massachusetts Ave. NW, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Monday, Sept. 23. For more information, call 202-682-2245 or visit thedccenter.org.