Bisexual Health Awareness Month recently came to a close. There was a lot to learn from the posts and articles provided by various Bi organizations. My takeaway is that there have been major strides in how we are perceived, how the media is presenting our community and how we feel about ourselves. However, we still have a long way to go to celebrate who we are.
I think the statistic that really gut-punched me was how few Bis are out to the significant people in their lives. The statistic for Bis is in the vicinity of 25% and that is significantly less than gay men (about 80%) and lesbians (about 70%). That is staggering. It means around 75% of us are not out to those who matter to us. It also implies that very few of us allow ourselves to be our authentic selves with those we love. Let that sink in. We are the Queer Majority. We are valid and valuable. However, due to biphobia (from all monosexuals but, most notably, from gay men and lesbians many of us fear coming out of the closet). Bierasure plays its part, too, as so few will accept our sexual identity as we express it. 1 in 4 of us go through our life letting society erase us because it is so challenging for us to come out and because our own LGBT community does not invest in or celebrate us.
Another hurtful truth is barely 20% of Bis consider their queer identity as something positive in their lives. In comparison, almost 50% of gay men and 40% of lesbians consider being queer as a positive thing. Whoa. That number is depressingly low for Bis. May I suggest that the fact that the LGBT community suffers from extreme biphobia may go a long way to explaining why this statistic exists. Self-reported acceptance from the LGBT community for Bis is staggeringly low. Almost 50% of Bisexuals report they experience little or none when asked how much acceptance they feel from their own Queer community. Frankly, as victims of phobia themselves, you would think gay men and lesbians would do better by us.
I won’t go through all the numbers here but there are other very troubling statistics regarding suicide rates (significantly higher for Bis), rape and domestic violence prevalence, health concerns (no doubt exacerbated by stress and discrimination), poverty issues (likely due to the fact that Bis often earn less than gay men and lesbians), PTSD rates, negative experiences with the police, higher rates of cancer, and more.
Why is this the case? Well, how about this statistic –27% of adults believe there is no ‘middle ground’ to sexuality. What this means is that over a 1/4 of adults think you can only be homosexual or heterosexual and that your bisexual reality does not exist. This alone makes it clear how challenging it is to be a proud and visible Bisexual. While this statistic clearly shows the ignorance of far too many adults it does not make it any easier to live your truth as a Bisexual person.
So enough with the doom and gloom….is it good to know this information, yes, because knowledge is power….does it make us all realize the need to work harder and smarter to support each other and to elevate the discourse regarding the Bisexual community. Oh. Hell. Yes. We all have a mission and it is to share the magic, beauty and joy that being Bisexual brings. We need to express how being bisexual enriches our lives. The fact we can appreciate the beauty and magnificence in all genders is a gift and a superpower.
We are at a very pivotal time. We are seeing more Bisexual representation in media. We are seeing more people in the public eye coming out as Bisexual. More and more of us are being truthful about who we are and our ‘out and proud’ numbers are growing. We are seeing people speaking their beauteous Bi truth unapologetically.
We can do this thing. We have the strength and resilience. That is proven by the fact that, against all odds, more and more of us are coming out and being our authentic selves. Every time we say OUT LOUD; I am BI and I am PROUD we do a solid for everyone in our community. I have said this before and I say it now; don’t do anything that puts you at risk and take your time if you are not yet ready but know there are many of us waiting to embrace you as one of our own –another amazing Bi person. We got you!
Biphobia is over, if we want it to be, if we will continue to work for it to be. ❤