“No results for #bisexual” was what greeted bisexuals across the weekend as Twitter took the action of filtering out bisexual related searches on its platform, removing the ability for bisexuals to have this visibility. Photos, videos and news sections were on continuous loading, or showed no search results leaving information inaccessible.
Social media has created a place for bisexuals to connect, engage and share information from all points across the world. Together the bisexual community is able to provide safe online spaces for each individual either in the closet or out. Online, bisexuals have the ability to be visible every second, minute and hour of each day.
Each media platform has given bisexuals the ability to fight against biphobia, bierasure and the rights for each bi person. Outrage over the bisexual removal shows the community is starting to gain a strong group of public activists and out members, ready to jump on the slight chance that bisexuals are being moved into obscurity again.
The filter has since been reversed, but the impact having visibility removed from a community where less than 1% of LGBTI funds are spent towards bisexual issues each year cannot be ignored.
Studies throughout the world have bisexuals at high risk of domestic violence, poverty and mental health issues. In Australia bisexual women (50.6%) and men (34.1%) aged 16 and over have been diagnosis or treated for any mental disorder. These statistics are important as social media plays a vital role in building connections, spaces and community through its service.
The fight for visibility is something bisexual people face on a daily basis, among the many areas bisexuals struggle with, visibility is at the forefront. A cause for many of the health disparities we see across the bisexual community show there is a direct link between the lack of visibility, available information, and places for bi people to seek help on issues they are finding difficult.
The stance that Twitter took was not surprising, the bisexual hash tag search is filled with pornography every day, making it near impossible to actually look for bisexual news in a public domain.
Why Twitter decided to remove the hash tags completely by putting a blanket ban on everything that comes under the bisexual or bisexuality search echoed of biphobia and erasure. It continues the sexualisation and fetishised notion surrounding bisexuals, seen as promiscuous and swingers, a stigma the community is continuing to shift as we are not porn but people.
In a week where news broke of 19-year-old British teenager Harry Corbett having tragically committed suicide after battling depression caused by his bisexuality, the move by Twitter couldn’t have come at a worse time. Internet and social media visibility for bisexuals is important for those who are either struggling with acceptance or battling mental health issues, it has given them relief with online groups for support.
Rising from the Bi Ban was a community united and growing, moving quickly to defend each other together as one against any form of bisexual discrimination. A collective bi moment as a stand was made, bisexuals were finally being heard as we found our voice.
Since the filter has been lifted, bisexual people and associated accounts have started reposting photos and news items to build an online bi presence again. It’s here where the focus should now be, harnessing the Twitter moment and turning it into a positive bisexual coming together.
Strength in numbers through visibility is how bisexual issues will be addressed, allowing bisexuals the ability to finally feel ready to come out as the mental health burden is eased. In one moment of Twitter strength, bisexuals in or out were finally visible, it was the positivity #BiTwitter needed.
It showed our true visibility.