September 23rd marks Bi Visibility Day, a day when bi folk suddenly cast off our invisibility cloaks and parade around in pink, purple, and blue flags.
No, but seriously, Bi Visibility Day exists to raise awareness of and celebrate all types of bisexuality.
Far too often, bi people are questioned and harassed for their sexuality. People misunderstand us as “confused”, “greedy”, or “just going through a phase”. And some people don’t even believe bisexuality exists. So it’s wonderful to see it being discussed openly and positively during Bi Week.
To celebrate Bi Visibility Day, I wanted to highlight some of my favourite bi protagonists from YA novels and share why we should stan them.
Nathaniel from Sorcery of Thorns
Make no mistake, Nathaniel is a Bi King. The sass that rolls off him is enough to level a small civilisation. He’s charismatic, funny, charming, and when he casually mentioned liking ‘men and women’ I screamed. Being bi just fits his character so well because he seems open about his attraction to multiple genders.
I really want to see more casual bi rep in fantasy novels and Nathaniel is giving me those vibes. Having novels that focus primarily on sexuality and exploration of identity is hugely important, but having novels where being LGBTQIA+ is a fact of life and not the central storyline is also important because it normalises being queer. Liking two or more genders isn’t unusual or other, it just is. And that’s how it’s represented in Sorcery of Thorns. It’s basically, “oh I like two genders, now back to running from monsters”.
Monty from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Recent authorial transgressions aside, I still kinda love The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. The main reason for this is Monty. He undoubtedly has that chaotic bi energy going on, and although he doesn’t always make good/wise/informed decisions, he would do anything for those he loves. Up to and including sacrificing himself in a blaze of glory. (Monty, no.)
There are times when we see him treat women poorly, which is something I didn’t like about him at the beginning of the novel. But he reflects back on this over the course of the novel and realises the (many) mistakes he’s made. He sets aside his ego and resolves to try harder in the future, and that’s the kind of growth I’m here for.
Alice from Let’s Talk About Love
Alice is about as kind-hearted as they come and she works in a library. We stan 1000%.
She identifies as biromantic asexual and throughout the novel she explores both facets of her sexuality. At times she feels confused about her attraction to Takumi and questions whether or not she might want to have sex with him at all in the future.
Alice’s resilience in the face of other people’s stigma and lack of understanding is not only admirable, it’s empowering. She learns how to stand up for what she wants, and begins to accept herself as the powerful bi-ace queen she is.
I really connected with Alice’s story because I read it at a time when I knew I was biromantic, but was also exploring whether I might be a-spec. Her questions about her sexuality prompted me to ask similar questions about myself which helped me understand myself better.
Tanner from Autoboyography
Similar to Monty, Tanner has made mistakes and treated others poorly, but we can tell from the way he tries to help Sebastian that he has a kind heart.
He supports Sebastian’s exploration of his own sexuality with so much tenderness and sensitivity that we end up scrabbling around to find an old bookmark to dry our tears on. (No? Just me?)
It’s easy to see that Tanner has so much love to give; it overflows out of him into his writing. He’s passionate and has a keen sense of justice, but also has some incredibly carefree moments where he’s very comfortable with his bisexuality.
Frances from Radio Silence
Frances is such a big ball of stress at times that I really want to give her a hug. She’s incredibly driven, coming top of her class in virtually everything, but she doesn’t know what she aspires to do with her life.
Aled and Frances’s incredibly strong friendship and platonic love for one another were some of my favourite parts of Radio Silence. Similar to Nathaniel, Frances’s bisexuality isn’t the central theme of the book, but she discusses sexuality and attraction with Aled and tries to help him when he’s questioning his own sexuality and relationship experiences.
Seth from Coffee Boy
Seth’s energy is spiky bisexual. When Kieran first meets him, he’s cold, aloof, and prickly to the point of stinging you with his remarks.
But as the two grow closer, we realise that Seth’s spiky demeanour is a front, created to avoid being hurt again. He listens to Kieran’s frustrations and makes sure he’s treated equally in the office, not allowing anyone to make him feel uncomfortable, even unintentionally.
He seems prim, hyper-organised, and far to serious to ever laugh out loud, but we soon see his soft side beginning to come through when he’s with Kieran. Also, he has a cat called Dragon, and if that’s not enough reason to stan, then I don’t know what is.
Jessica from Not Your Sidekick
Not only does Jess have to grapple with being the only non-superhero in her family, she has to deal with misconceptions from her classmates about being bisexual and biracial. But she’s resilient and keeps picking herself up, even when others try to knock her down. And if there’s one thing I love in a character, it’s a refusal to be defeated.
Jess is uncertain about her sexuality at first and feels the (very real) struggle of “not being queer enough”. But as she explores her crush on Abby, she in turn explores whether she might like girls and what it would mean to be bi.
Estrella from Wild Beauty
Estrella and her four cousins are all bisexual Latina women, meaning we have not one, not two, but four bi characters in this book. Four.
The word ‘bi’ is never explicitly used (I think this is to do with the world-building and the fact that this word perhaps doesn’t exist in Estrella’s world), but the cousins are all described as liking more than one gender, which I (and most other readers) interpreted as bi/pan.
Estrella’s strong-yet-gentle nature makes her easy to warm to, and her exploration of both her individualism and sexuality was honestly beautiful. We stan girls who embrace their attraction to multiple genders.
Nick from Heartstopper
Oh Nick my soft, sweet bisexual cinnamon roll. I would protect him with all nine of my lives.
When we first meet Nick in Heartstopper, he hasn’t really considered is sexuality. But as he and Charlie grow closer he begins to do so and comes up against the confusion, fear, and internalised stigma that a lot of queer folk have to deal with.
So it’s a wonderful, heart-stutteringly good moment, when he finds the label ‘bisexual’ and feels like it suits him.
Something I feel is missing from this post is representation of non-binary or genderfluid bisexual characters.
Sadly, I don’t think I’ve read any books with this rep (I know I Wish You All The Best has this rep, but I haven’t managed to pick it up yet), which is something I need to work on.
So if you have any recs for books with non-binary bi characters then please let me know.
Hope you all have a wonderful Bi Visibility Day. Go wave those flags proudly. ❤
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