Media Coverage – Biphobia exists and it hurts

The following article was originally published in the Star Observer and was written by two Bi-Alliance members, Sally Golder (Treasurer) and Kathi Wilson.Quantcast

Speaking out – Biphobia exists and it hurts

As members of groups that support and advocate for bisexual people, we hear about prejudice not just from heterosexual but also homosexual communities (especially at ‘queer-friendly’ events and venues).

Enough is enough. That we are discriminated against in the homosexual and lesbian communities (groups who are subject to prejudice) feels more offensive than being discriminated against by mainstream society.

The distress of one of our members arising from biphobic prejudice while participating in this year’s Pride March, a supposedly queer-safe event, requires us to be more active in speaking up. Initial approaches to Pride March to improve matters have been met positively.

We want to raise awareness of the impact of attitudes reflected in taunts such as greedy, in transition, make a decision, traitors to the gay/lesbian cause, infidelitous — all of which reinforce the sense of non-acceptance.

Biphobia, discrimination and abuse directed towards bisexuals, often goes unacknowledged in discussions about discrimination in queer communities. Going on research findings of the deleterious impacts of biphobia, however, this requires urgent attention.

Bisexuals are more likely than lesbians or gay men to not be out to family and friends; experience covert and overt discrimination in both ‘straight’ and queer venues (including being asked to leave queer venues); suffer from mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety; be at risk for suicide; engage in behaviours that place their physical health at risk e.g. substance usage, being overweight; practise unsafe sex.

Bisexuals are no more likely to engage in multiple relationships than people who are gay, lesbian or heterosexual.

Imagine, or recall, what it is like to be subject to discrimination and misunderstanding because of your sexual identity.

The VGLRL believes strengthening bi (and trans and intersex) people strengthens us all.

It is time bisexuality is recognised as a legitimate sexual identity. We call on readers to join us in raising awareness about the impacts of biphobia and to stop these prejudices wherever they are seen.

References:

Browne K, Lim J (2008). Count me in too: LGBT lives in Brighton & Hove – Additional findings, bi people. University of Brighton & Spectrum: United Kingdom. http://www.spectrum-lgbt.org/cmiToo/downloads/CMIT_Bi_Report_Dec08.pdf

Conron KJ, Mimiaga MJ, Landers SJ (2010). A population-based study of sexual orientation identity and gender differences in adult health, American Journal of Public Health, 100(10), 1953-1960. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/short/100/10/1953

Cooney E (2010). Survey: Bisexual women in poorest health. White coat notes, 10 June. http://www.boston.com/news/health/blog/2010/06/_gays_lesbians.html

LGBT Advisory Committee: San Francisco Human Rights Commission (2011). Bisexual invisibility: impacts and recommendations. The author: San Francisco. http://www.birequest.org/docstore/2011-SF_HRC-Bi_Iinvisibility_Report.pdf

Moon MW, Fornili K, O’Briant AL (2007). Risk comparison among youth who report sex with same-sex versus both-sex partners, Youth & Society, 38(3), 267-284. http://yas.sagepub.com/content/38/3/267.abstract

Weitzman, G. (2006). Therapy with clients who are bisexual and polyamorous, Journal of Bisexuality, 6, 137-264. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a902686849~frm=abslink

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