Tel Aviv will be the second city in the world to hold a Bisexual Pride Parade on Bisexual Day of Visibility this Friday; Behind this initiation stands the Israeli Bisexual Pansexual Polysexual Forum, that recently joined the Aguda.
Members of the Bi Pan Poly Forum signing an agreement to join the Aguda – Israeli National LGBT Task Force. From Left: Olga Grechko, Noemi Sarussi, Ohad Hizki, Ella Amir and Miki Zaidel (photo: Yael Nodelman)
On September 23 the bisexual community around the world marks International Day for Bisexual Visibility. In Tel Aviv, to mark this day, the first ever bisexual pride parade will be held.
“Last year the date fell on Yom Kippur, and therefore of community here marked it a day earlier, in a cultural event called Bi*Ma Ptucha (‘Open Stage’),” explains Miki Zaidel, co-founder of the Bi-Pan-Poly Forum. “During the holiday Facebook feed photos began to appear from the first ever Bisexual Pride Parade that was held in Paris last year, and I said to myself, ‘next year we’ll have one like this in Tel Aviv’. I suggested it to the Forum and got its support and backing. Olga Grechko, co-founder of the Forum accepted the offer to be co-organizer. A few months ago we started running with the idea, we turned to the Tel Aviv Municipaly and to the LGBT Center, we submitted a police application to hold the parade and wow – it’s happening.”
A parade on Bisexual Day of Visibility is much needed at this time according to Miki, not only in France and Israel, but all over the world. “The bisexual community suffers a lack of representation in the media, literature, film and television,” he says. “Even when there’s a character that has been identified as bisexual, that character is usually disregarded as ‘actually’ a lesbian or straight person who ‘experiments.’ Even when a celebrity comes out and identifies as bisexual, the media is filled with news that ‘he is gay.’ We saw this clearly when Gili Mosinzon came out last year. This feeling of deletion and abolition of identity is one of the most prominent mental difficulties felt by members of our community.”
Unfortunately, when a person comes out as bisexual, they don’t suffer deletion of identity only from the straight community, but also from people of the LGT community, who also see it as a ‘phase.’ Studies show that the bisexual community has a greater tendency to develop depression, anxiety and addictions, and the suicide rate in the bisexual community is second only to the transgender community among LGBTQI people. Bisexual women experience more violence in relationships than women in any other segment. In Israel, the community relies on data from studies abroad, because there are almost no studies that have been conducted that examine bisexual people in Israel whatsoever.
“So by having the parade, we are not trying here, at least in our view, to separate or differentiate the bisexual community from the rest of the LGTQ community,” explains Miki, “but on the contrary, more proud visibility, more LGBT visibility, but also a compensation for the lack of constant visibility of our community. It’s definitely a pride parade, but to mark bisexual day visibility. This is why we invite and encourage allies – gay, lesbian, asexual or hetero (whether trans* or cisgender) – to come and support us in solidarity with another sector of our community at large.”
Joining the Aguda
The bisexual pansexual polysexual forum (or in short: The Bi/Pan/Poly Forum) was founded by an activist group of approximately 18 people, with different levels of involvement. It began with underground in-person meetings, while there was also a very lively chat on Facebook. Right now, Zaidel says, the forum conducts itself in a kind of “Athenian democracy,” with decisions made by a majority of members of the founding group. In the coming months the forum plans to become more organized and select formal administrative roles.
Last week, members of the Bi Pan Poly Forum signed an agreement with the Aguda, to become the bisexual branch of the Israeli National LGBT Task Force.
“When we began to discuss the future of the forum in meetings, our options were to continue as a non-organized community, meaning ad hoc projects which will be led by whoever wished to do it, or forming an organization for the bi/pan/poly community. At a certain point Noemi Sarussi, a member of the board at the Aguda and a member of our forum, proposed to be considered to join as a body into the Aguda, like the gay student fraternity did.”
“For most of us the idea looked like a good one. We decided to explore the possibility with the chairman and chief executive and when all was settled, a number of representatives of the Forum signed the accession agreement with the CEO, Ohad Hizki.”
“The main significance of the agreement is to receive an organized backing from the Aguda, and the help of its established infrastructure. We have already been cooperating very well with the Aguda’s hotline and the Nir Katz Center for fighting LGBTphobia. Of course we don’t see this connection as one-sided, with services only coming from the Aguda. We’d love to join the general work of the Aguda and to the beautiful projects that it leads”
With all these recent developments, it looks like the next year will be a year of visibility for the bi-pan-poly community. “After the success of the Tel Aviv pride parade that was dedicated to the transgender community in 2015, we thought to suggest dedicating the 2016 pride parade in Tel Aviv to the multi-attracting community, but when we saw the theme “Women for Change” is gaining momentum, we have decided that it is an important issue that we we want to support too,” says Miki. “Before discussions next year, we will formulate our opinion in the community. If this is something we want to promote and achieve, and we will act accordingly.”