ALLY Hosts Panel on Bisexuality

Daniella Amendola, Print Editor

Dominic Augustine
Daniella Amendola, presenting at the Bi-Panel.
Dominic Augustine
Connor, presenting a the Bi-Panel.
Noah Schweiger
From left to right: Kayli Boyes, Breann Hunsinger, Dominic
Augustine, Margarite Connor, Erin Duvinski and Daniella
Amendola at the Bi-Panel in Insalaco Hall.

Students addressed many facets of bisexuality during an ALLY program marking Bisexual Awareness week Sept. 26.

Presentation topics included bisexual stigma, biphobia, bisexual health and bisexuality in the media.

“This is something we did on campus through the ALLY student organization and the Pride Alliance, and it was just to bring visibility to the fact that there are people out there that are bisexual, and that’s like one of the things when you think of gay, lesbian and transgender rights, you kind of forget the B in the LGBT, right?” said Dr. Ryan Watson, assistant professor of fine arts and an advisor of the ALLY Program.

Watson believes bisexuality is a perplexing  issue because people still claim that it’s not real.

“It’s still, in some people’s minds, acceptable to say it’s not a real thing, or ‘why can’t you decide?’” said Watson. “Somebody told me today that someone told them one time, ‘Oh, well you must cheat on everyone you date, because you just want everybody.’ So I think it’s good that they had a panel to sort of dispel some of those notions for people, and sort of say that it’s an acceptable thing,” he said.

It’s acceptable and real, he stressed.

“It’s a real thing, and there are people who are really bisexual, not just someone who can’t decide.”

Watson thinks the event aligns with the university’s values to support students  from diverse backgrounds, who have  diverse sexualities and diverse ethnicities.

“And at the same time, I think it’s important for the larger campus community who might not be as plugged into LGBT issues, that they get to see that, ‘Hey, my classmates are, you know, different sexualities.’ I know that the panel had a vast representation of people— gay, bisexual, transgender. They had a little bit of everything.”

Watson remarked that while the university is a small Catholic school, and people may assume that there is not much diversity of sexuality, orientation and gender on campus, there is.

Dr. Grace Chen, professor of biology and a member of the Pride Alliance, attended the panel.

“I expected that [they would] introduce what is bisexuality, what’s the proportion of people who are bisexual, and what [are the] common frustrations bisexual people have,” said Chen.

Chen said that she was pleased with the panel and how it turned out as were students in attendance.

“I loved it, personally,” said first year speech language pathology major Lauren Schuster. “I have a lot of friends who are LGBT, and I mostly identify as straight, but like I question a little, and it’s nice to hear it talked about so openly, especially because I came from a tiny Catholic school where it was very much like, ‘Oh! Thank you for coming out. We’re just never going to talk about it or acknowledge it again.’ And it’s nice to see that kind of openness on campus.”

Mollie Langan, first year speech language pathology major, welcomed the open discussion.

“I am bisexual,” Langan said, “and someone asked me why I was coming, and I made the joke, ‘I am bisexual, and I want you to be aware of me.’ But honestly, it’s really hard because I am always down for good, positive LGBTQIA+— got ‘em all— representation in the media, but there is literally no bi representation. And at the same time there’s bi erasure. It’s not even that there’s no representation; it’s that they actively work not to acknowledge that we are people that exist, and have feelings that are fine, and it really sucks.”

She added that the event made her feel supported.

“It was nice to come here and have people that love you, and have them like validate that like, yeah you exist, and this isn’t something that you’ve made up in your head. It’s like a real thing that other people experience, and acknowledge, and talk about,” Langan said.