I did not even know there was such a thing as a ‘bi flag’ when I came out. Did you dear reader? Yes Dorothy there is one although I doubt you will come across it much in Kansas.
The entire world knows about the pink triangle used by the Nazis for homosexuals in the camps. They better! But no one, not even in Holocaust museum in Germany today know why they picked pink to represent that group. That, I learned last month, when I attended a talk about the treatment of homosexuals (it did not focus on lesbians very much) in the Third Reich. “Branded by the pink triangle” was the title of the talk (and of a book) It was pretty sobering as you can imagine. Left the excellent lecture-slide show feeling “What the hell do I have to complain about in 2013 vis a vis bi-phobia?” What I did find amusing was the completely different sense of the colour pink in the 19 th c. It was then a masculine colour. It would be awfully tempting to launch out onto a tangent about semiotics right now, the signifier, the signified but I won’t. The line from Alice in wonderland will have to suffice, when it is said that words can mean whatever I want them to mean.
Why why WHY can”t people see how arbitrary, cultural, not handed down from God to Moses so many of our assumptions are (I am thinking of sexuality but really the entire panoply of society-culture comes into play).
What I also learned is the phasing out (conscious or not) of the pink triangle symbol in favour of the generic rainbow coloured flag for the LGBT community. Am not sure how much of a debate there is within the LGBT community about the “watering down”, ‘diluting’, Disney-fication of the Pride marches and gay culture generally. That is a post for another day (especially concerning “the mother of pride”, the great bi acvtivtist Brenda Howard).
My own personal flag story is this. The day I came out to the very first person face to face (and that went extremely well) I followed up that meeting with picking up a race kit for a running race I was going into in a few days. One of the freebies was this tiny pin that was nicely decorated in a colour scheme that very much reminded me of the bi flag. When I saw it I laughed and smiled feeling it was a good omen, that I was on the right path, that all would be well etc. And time has proven me right. I affixed that pin onto my backpack which is with me all the time when I am out of the house and I look at it and feel positive about myself, my journey, my life. It is possible the race organizer or whoever designed it, is bi and was giving some kind of wink wink signal to those in the know, but I suspect it’s just a random fluke non event. Zeus having fun with me I bet.
Another time I will write something about the day of the year you might actually stumble upon the flag, i.e. September 23. Bi visibility day, also called “International Bisexuality Day” (which is something I had never heard of). If you do a google search on the bi flag-colours you get many permutations, designs, shapes, sizes. Personally, I find the crescent moon image quite appealing as it is so evocative. The half-semi circle speaks to me. How the 2 half-moons intersect makes me think of the lovely imagery from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (loved that book in my early 20s) about lovers as trees growing side by side, providing shade for each other but not strangling one another. Fantastic!
Do suspect if one walked around with the bi flag pin on your lapel people would wonder which country you are from. Indeed. So the next time you see the bi flag, go up and kiss someone (you already know) and then do it again with someone of a different gender. On the cheeks, on the lips, I don’t care, just don’t give them “il bacio della morte” = “the kiss of death” (unless you are moonlighting for the mafia). Then pat yourself on the back for not being bi-phobic.