After a successful Being Me session with our transgender friends months ago, Yellowkitties hosted the second session – this time round to discuss about bisexuality and pansexuality with four guest speakers from diverse backgrounds – Ye Zi, Yuping, Ruby and Dandy. And our moderator for the night was none other than our own Michelle!
The evening started with sorting out the food delivery, room setup and marking attendance with our Santa helpers – three volunteers from Thorne Harbour Health. We’re most grateful for their assistance, creating a relaxing scene for the participants prior to their arrivals.
People slowly began to trickle in at one of the largest rooms at Ross House Association. As usual, our participants mingled over Crust pizzas and snacks at the beginning. It was not long before we jump started the discussion on a wide range of topics – differences and similarities between bisexuality and pansexuality, challenges they face coming out to people and intersecting that with cultural expectations. Some of the very interesting discussions include:
- Bisexuality is the same as pansexuality. Bisexuality means being attracted to more than one sex but the perception has changed over time and bi-sexuality may be misunderstood as being purely binary – one or the other. Pansexuality is an evolved term that is all encompassing and some people are more comfortable labelling themselves as pansexual or queer or really, nothing at all. There is no right or wrong answers. Bisexuality to some people are really pansexuality.
- Yuping was from Burma and she spoke of how it was against the law to be gay, something which many of us may not have to fear by being here in Australia. It does put things in perspectives on how lucky we are.
- Mental health was a hot topic and Ruby implied that bisexuals tend to be the “forgotten community”. She highlighted that bisexuals are not only subjected to discriminations from the rainbow and straight communities, they are also the target for domestic violence. People may see them as being “greedy” for liking people of more than one sex, or being “unsure” or even seeing them more like a “sex object” especially for cis men. They are often asked to “pick a side” but it doesn’t work this way. Bisexuals and pansexuals simply like people for who they are.
- How it is important to love yourself as who you are. Well, I suppose this applies to anyone but it may be very exhausting for bisexuals and pansexuals to come out yet having their closed ones think they still have “hope” to change and will become straight one day since they can be attracted to the opposite sex.
- Support network is key and social groups are important. Some good resources can be found here: Melbournebisexualnetwork.com and https://www.biplusaustralia.org
Apart from the uncomfortably warm room, we received many good feedback from the participants – mainly around hearing different perspectives especially from a diverse panel. We concluded the night establishing more friendships and a deeper understanding of our bisexual and pansexual communities. The session would not have been possible without their unconditional efforts in sharing their stories and daring to be vulnerable. Thank you!
Thanks to Kim for introducing us to a couple of the panelists. They were great! And big thanks to Lesbian Incorporated for funding the event.
Till our next Being Me session in 2019! Feel free to privately message me on any topics you are keen to be part of. See you then.