Here is a truth I have not wanted to face. I have not wanted to face this sobering reality because I prefer to keep a pretty positive facade presented to the world. However, Bisexuals have a very tough time of it. Bisexual acceptance continues to trail that of gay men and lesbians. (I am not forgetting our trans and non binary siblings, many of whom are Bi, I know they face a tough situation, too) The bottom line is young bisexual women (and men) are much more likely to be suicidal. I worry about them so much. I was a young bisexual woman once and I remember the challenges. That kind of pain is pretty hard to forget.
Straight and lesbian women (along with straight and gay men) certainly suffer from depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts but both of those groups have more support than Bi women (and men) do. Bisexuals are excluded from the acceptance that many lesbians have and a community that is also receiving more and more support from society at large.
Bis have unique stressors;
- Stereotypes: that we’re confused (“Pick a side!”); that we’re deceitful (“You’ll cheat”) or we’re promiscuous (“You’ll jump on anything that moves”)
- Discrimination: (“I would never date a Bi”) (“You’re just doing it for the attention”)
- Invisibility/Erasure: (“Bisexuality is not real, you’re just gay/straight”) (Bis are vastly underrepresented in the media)
- Lack of Community Support: Bis often don’t feel accepted or at home in the larger LGBT community. Not having a place, either in the gay or straight community, often makes us feel adrift or alone.
What do we need/what would help our Bi community:
- Acceptance: First and foremost, acceptance from both the straight and gay communities. Bis are an important and valid part of the LGBT community and should no longer feel like outsiders. We are Queer. We Belong. We need and deserve the support, financially and emotionally.
- Supportive medical care: Healthcare needs to be inclusive.
In addition, health care professionals are not trained to ask about sexual orientation when treating individuals. This is something that results in Bisexuals feeling less than legitimate and also results in poorer health outcomes. In my own experience, I will say that my physician was surprised when I told her I was Bi. I mentioned she had never asked me about my sexual orientation and just assumed I was straight because I have been married to a man for such a long time. To her credit, she understood my concern immediately. My suggestion to her, regardless of the age or relationship status of her patient, was to ask the following: Are you attracted to men, women, both or neither? This simple step would result in individuals feeling more comfortable in discussing their health concerns, and anything related to their sexuality, with their doctor.
Bonding as Bis can go a long way to lessening our isolation. When you know that someone else has had many of the same challenges and struggles that you are going through could help to feel as though you are not alone.
Here is a link to information from the most recent Bisexual Health Awareness Month. Use your resources. Don’t be afraid to share your truth with someone you trust. There should be no shame or stigma in finding a world that does not unequivocally support you to be challenging. It is not you who has to change; it is the society that does not support you that has to change.