Bisexual Visibility Day 2019 is Sept. 23. Some 20 years after the commemoration officially began, Bs in our LGBTQs still face double-edged bias from both straight and gay communities. Here's 10 facts to help get us all on the same page
More to Love
No not that. There are more bisexuals than lesbian and gay people, according to the most recent studies. About 3.1% of the population are bisexual, with only 2.5% homosexual.
Introspection & Empathy
Bisexual people report more soul-searching and self-analysis than their gay and straight counterparts, and as a result say they feel more compassionate and sympathetic to others’ needs. By the way, those traits can also create better emotional and sexual connections.
Surveys show that straight people feel threatened by a non-binary world where bisexuals “play both sides for chumps,” and that gay people feel threatened because bisexuals “hide behind heterosexual privilege.” Trouble is, neither of those things is true.
Only 23% of bisexuals come out. Orientation doesn’t change just because a bisexual is in a relationship, but biphobia from both sides makes it easier for many to let people assume they’re straight if they have an opposite-sex partner, gay if their partner is of the same sex.
Staying closeted means most non-bisexuals tend to forget, or be willfully blind to the fact, that bisexuals exist. This invisibility can lead to erasure, a conscious or unconscious refusal to acknowledge that bisexuality exists, even when people proclaim it.
Upsides to bisexuality include an ability to see gray areas in all aspects of life, the beauty in everyone without stigma, to be accepting of people who express an identity different than theirs, to be more likely to challenge heteronormativity.
Women & Men
It was long believed that women were more likely to be bisexual, but it turns out they just tend to accept it in themselves more often and earlier. As culture shifts, more “mostly straight” men are acknowledging and acting on their varying degrees of sexual fluidity.
Approximately 25% of bisexual men, and 30% of bisexual women live in below the federal poverty level, compared to 20% of gay men and 23% of lesbians.
Employment and social discrimination lead bisexuals to higher rates of hypertension, smoking, risky drinking, STI diagnoses and heart disease. They are also three times more likely to be closeted to their healthcare providers who might help.
It’s biphobic to assume: “It’s just a phase,” “It’s a cover for homosexuality,” “You’re oversexed and unfaithful,” “You’ll happily do a three-way,” “You’re not really bi if your relationships lean more toward one sex than the other.”
Sources: Journal of Sexual Medicine, Institute for Personal Growth, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Cornell University Department of Psychology, Williams Institute, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
This feature originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue online here:
Pick up a new edition of Q each week at LGBTQ and queer-allied venues around Atlanta.