The shirts were designed by bisexual artist Chris Morris, with the initial idea from bisexual activist Vaneet Mehta.
Rainbow & Co, an LGBTQ+ owned and run apparel and accessories store based in Manchester, is launching a new range of shirts celebrating the bisexual community.
The first two shirts launched on Friday (7 August), focusing on bisexual men, but other shirts will launch in the coming weeks, focusing on bisexual women and bisexual non-binary people.
The shirts were designed by Chris Morris, with the initial idea coming bisexual activist Vaneet Mehta, who created the viral hashtag #BisexualMenExist last year, before it became a worldwide trend this year.
For every shirt sold, £5 will be donated to bisexual organisations; the London Bi Pandas, a community and activist group who aim to make the world a better place for Bi+ people; Biscuit, who support anyone who experiences biphobia and misogyny; Bi’s of Colour, which supports Black and other people of colour within the bisexual community; and the Bi Survivors Network, a support and advocacy network for Bi+ survivors of domestic/sexual violence.
Explaining the shirts, Adam Holcroft, the owner of Rainbow and Co, said: “The Bisexual community is often under represented and misrepresented, with a common trope being that Bisexuality is just a phase or that if you’re with a same-sex partner, you’re no longer bisexual, which are of course both untrue!
“This collection aims to build on the momentum gained through the hashtags on Twitter and give Bi+ people more visibility in their everyday lives through fashionable apparel.
“Of course the big selling point is that £5 from the sale of each shirt will be split between four amazing organisations supporting Bisexual people, and go some way to helping combat bi-erasure whilst supporting the wellbeing of Bi+ folk.”
Speaking about the shirts, Vaneet explained to GAY TIMES: After seeing the outpouring of love for the Bi men hashtag, the way people used it to come out, express themselves. How it helped people embrace themselves and increase visibility of Bi men, which is something I rarely see, as well as how it sparked the Bi women and the Bi non-binary hashtags. I decided I wanted to go further with it, to help signal boost the cause even further.
“The second reason was to raise money. I thought that with the popularity of the hashtags, maybe we could utilise this moment to ride that wave to help raise money for Bi organisations, which are criminally underfunded.”
In a blog post on London Bi Pandas, Vaneet wrote: “The struggles that bisexual people face in society is a topic rarely talked about. Biphobia and bi-erasure are extremely prevalent but, as with bisexual people themselves, the issues are erased and made invisible.
“Bisexual men are often seen as closeted gay men. Bisexual women are fetishised, said to exist solely to arouse men. Bisexual non-binary people are removed from the conversation entirely as people use an incorrect definition of bisexual; ‘attraction to men and women’. We are seen as cheaters, unsatisfiable creatures.
“We have to deal with biphobia and bi-erasure on top of the homophobia and, in non-binary people’s case, transphobia. And these struggles don’t go away when we enter the LGBTQ+ community. We’re told we’re queerbaiting, told to pick a side, told we don’t belong. We’re avoided and excluded, our struggles erased as we’re told we have it easier.”
In the blog post, Vaneet also explained the important of the #BisexualMenExist trend, writing: “In 2019, I created the #BisexualMenExist hashtag. This was in response to the biphobia I saw targeted towards my bi male friends online. The issue impacted me greatly, reminding me how the world sees us. In that moment, I decided a change was necessary. Instead of expending all of my energy fighting the abuse, why not counteract it with positivity and uplift other bisexual men?
“In 2020, on the back of the Love Is Blind episode where Carlton comes out as bisexual, the abuse was reignited and was incredibly intense. I decided to change the conversation once again, and the response was incredible.
“Not only that, but it sparked an outpouring of bisexual love from other areas of our community. #CelebrateBiWomen was created, giving bisexual women a space to celebrate themselves. #CelebrateBiNonBinary followed soon after, allowing people to celebrate their entire selves and break away from that binary view.”
You can purchase the shirts from Rainbow and Co.