Two of the most prevalent stereotypes associated with bisexuals are that they’re promiscuous and indecisive. Not only are these stereotypes distortions that fuel biphobia, but the San Francisco Human Rights Commission also approved an eye-opening report that confirms bisexual invisibility has serious consequences on bisexuals’ health and economic well-being.
Many people don’t realize that being bisexual doesn’t necessarily mean randomly “switching sides.“ Being bisexual can mean identifying primarily as gay for long periods of time or identifying primarily as straight for long periods of time. It can also mean favoring one sex more than the other. Being bisexual is not merely a “phase” of experimentation that is en route to a gay or lesbian orientation.
Bisexuality is the capacity for emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction to more than one sex or gender. A bisexual orientation speaks to the potential for, but not requirement of, involvement with more than one sex/gender. (Source)
Although many lesbians have had relationships with men at some point in their lives, being bisexual continues to carry a stigma. There is the persistent fear that a bisexual woman could at any point dump her lesbian partner for a penis. As a result, bisexual women often feel ostracized from both heterosexual and lesbian communities, leaving them more at risk for suicide, poverty and more.
The report found that…
- Bisexuals experience high rates of being ignored, discriminated against, demonized, or rendered invisible by both the heterosexual and the lesbian and gay communities. Often, the entire sexual orientation is deemed invalid, immoral, or irrelevant.
- Nearly half of bisexual women had seriously considered (or attempted) taking their own lives. Among women, bisexuals were 5.9 times more likely and lesbians 3.5 times more likely to report having had suicidal thoughts or attempts than their heterosexual counterparts.
- While gay men earned 2-3% less than straight men and lesbians 2.7% less, bisexual men earned 10-15% less and bisexual women nearly 11% less.
- Bisexual women are more than twice as likely as lesbians to live in poverty (17.7% compared to 7.8%), and bisexual men are over 50% more likely to live in poverty than gay men (9.7% compared to 6.2%).
Bisexuals are just as much a part of the LGBT community as lesbians, gay men and trans people. In fact, the report indicates that self-identified bisexuals make up the largest population within the gay and transgender community in the United States. It is time we collectively and individually confront our prejudices. Then eradicate them through dialogue, acknowledgment and the practice of inclusion.
photo credit: tedeytan 2017.07.02 DC People and Places, Washington, DC USA 7284 via photopin (license)