BERKELEY -- Strangers on the street are thanking him. Emails are pouring in.
City Councilman Kriss Worthington said he never knew there was so much support for bisexuals until he introduced a resolution asking the City Council to proclaim Sept. 23 Bisexual Pride Day in the city.
The City Council approved the measure 9-0 Tuesday night, and Worthington said fellow council members were "falling all over themselves to be added as co-sponsors."
"Some guy came up to me on the street yesterday and said 'thank you for recognizing the invisible majority of the (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community," Worthington said Wednesday. "I didn't know we were tapping into such a deep vein that seems to be a pretty sizable group that has felt neglected."
Worthington said his research leads him to believe that Berkeley is the first major city in the U.S. to proclaim a day for bisexuals.
"I never knew so many people felt like they were a parenthetical afterthought," said Worthington, who is gay. "The woman who got me working on this said 'if I was gay or straight, I would feel comfortable coming out either way, but since I'm bisexual, I don't feel comfortable coming out to either side.' I felt that was so sad. She was stuck in the middle."
Delyn Hall, 36, of Oakland, who identifies as bisexual and who is an intern counselor at the Pacific Center in Berkeley which offers support groups and counseling to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups, said it's important to be recognized as legitimate, whatever the orientation.
"It's important for youth to get feedback and how it is OK to be in the world," Hall said. "Recognizing bisexuality as a legitimate category makes it easier for people to explore their sexual identity."
Hall said in the recent past she has identified as a lesbian but now is exploring her bisexuality.
"I was putting myself in the lesbian box, and the longer I tried to put myself in that box, it felt disingenuous," Hall said. "It's disconcerting. There's a social community that goes with being a lesbian. The bisexual community is harder to find."
Worthington, who also is running for mayor, said he underestimated the response to his resolution.
"It's just amazing. I'm getting on BART, and all these people I've never met are thanking me for doing this," Worthington said.
The resolution passed Tuesday night said Sept. 23 will be a "call for bisexual people, their friends and supporters to recognize and celebrate bisexuality history, bisexual community and culture and the bisexual people in their lives." It also said bisexuals are often saddled with negative and inaccurate connotations about their choices.
Worthington did say he got one disapproving email from a straight couple who said they were "tired of having the gay agenda shoved down their throats."
He thanked them for their input.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.