Mike Morse feels bisexuality gets a bad rap."People think that we can't make up our minds, that we're really greedy," Morse says.
During last year's Pride week, Morse and their partner Alix Todd noticed there weren't any events geared towards people who identify as bisexual.
"We were like, 'Well, if no one else is doing it, I guess we have to,'" says Todd.
Todd and Morse, along with their friend Ayla McKay, started the Halifax Bi, Pan and Multisexual Connection in August 2014.
Since then, the group has a social meeting about once a month at South House. They've also participated in panel discussions for the Youth Project and universities.
Bisexuality is the attraction to people with gender identities similar to one's own as well as attraction to people with gender identities different than one's own. The term is sometimes, but not always, used interchangeably with "pansexuality."
This year, in the hopes of raising awareness, the Bi, Pan and Multisexual Connection is participating in the Timeout lecture series during Pride week.
"We're going to have different speakers just speak to their own bisexual experiences," says Morse. The panel is taking place July 23 at the Halifax Central Library.
"The focus is hearing about real-life bisexuals in Halifax. Because we exist and we are important."
Morse says one of the questions they get most often is, "How do I let my parents know that my sexuality is real?"
Todd says bisexuality often gets erased, because people tend to base their perception of sexual orientation off of the relationship they are in at present.
"It can be really frustrating to have your identity invalidated like that," Morse adds.
In other words—if you're a woman dating another woman, you must be a lesbian. Dating a man? Congratulations! You're straight. The problem is, that's not really how it works.
People who identify as bi at one point in life may later identify as heterosexual, homosexual, or on another part of the spectrum. However, there are also many people who feel "bisexual" is the best way to describe themselves and will continue to do so all their lives.
"Bisexuality can be a phase that people work through on their way to another identity," explains Morse, "but it can also be its own identity—and that's great too."
Todd feels part of the problem comes from lack of bi representation in the media. Even when bi folks are present in shows or movies, it's often a poor portrayal.
"It's like: 'There's some girls making out at this party. That's really hot,'" she says. "You almost never actually see bi women in the media that's not in a sexualized context. Whereas, for men, there just isn't any representation."
Morse says it's important for people, especially youth, to know there's a community out there who will love and support them as they are. This can be particularly difficult for bi youth, who don't identify within the straight community but also feel invisible in LGBTQIA spaces.
"Sometimes, that [support] doesn't always come from home, and that's a really, really hurtful experience," says Morse.