Members of Melbourne’s bisexual community have spoken out about biphobic abuse allegedly hurled at them during this year’s Pride March in St Kilda.
Bisexual Alliance Victoria (BAV) president James Dominguez — who’s marched in Pride March four times — said he was disappointed to hear the reports, but said negative comments towards bisexual marchers is common.
“It’s happened every year that I’ve marched since 2005,” Dominguez told the Star Observer.
“The things we hear every year are ‘make up your mind’, ‘you’re greedy’, ‘finish coming out’, ‘bisexuals don’t exist’, ‘get off the fence’ — negative things like that.
“We really want to let people know it’s unacceptable.”
Dominguez said he finds the negative comments, at a gathering celebrating sexual diversity, surprising.
“At a pride event where people are supposed to be embracing their sexuality and celebrating diversity, we’re being told we don’t exist, we don’t have a valid sexual orientation, we’re not real, and we’re lying to ourselves and lying to everyone by being there, which is a really upsetting attitude to have at an event like that.”
Dominguez said he wasn’t aware of the biphobic comments until a BAV member spoke about them weeks after the event.
“This time around I didn’t actually hear the comments. It just came to a head because one of our members became very upset by it.
“I didn’t find out how upset she was until we had a discussion group and one of the topics that came up was how upset she was by the things that had been said by the crowd.
“I thought, this has gone on long enough, we need to do something about this now.”
Dominguez stressed the BAV marching group received an overwhelmingly positive reaction during this year’s event, apart from the negative comments coming from a minority of Pride-watchers.
Pride March Victoria president Brett Hayhoe told the Star Observer the organisation would work with BAV to help raise awareness of biphobia, but said negative comments made along the march route are difficult to stop.
“We can’t held responsible for what individuals are going to say or do along Fitzroy St,” Hayhoe said.
“However, the organisation will certainly do whatever is in our power to highlight the plight of the bisexual community, a very strong, solid and legitimate member of the LGBTI community.”