What does it mean to be bisexual? Renowned gender and sexuality advocate Robyn Ochs puts it this way: “Bisexuals are people who acknowledge in themselves the potential to be attracted—romantically and/or sexually—to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
Bisexual Public Policy PrioritiesStatistics show quite clearly that bisexual people report higher levels of physical and mental health disparities, sexual and domestic violence, and poverty than gays and lesbians. Often these disparities can be attributed to bisexual discrimination and anti-bisexual bias. Wendy Bostwick’s study on microaggressions against bisexual people points out that many of these negative interactions are initiated by lesbian and gay people, so it is not surprising that Pew research has shown that bisexual people report much lower levels of feeling connected to the LGBTQ community. For more on the important issues facing Bisexual Americans please check out Movement Advancement Project’s Understanding Issues Facing Bisexual Americans report.
About Bisexual ErasureBisexual erasure/bisexual invisibility is a pervasive problem in which the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality (either in general or in regard to an individual) is questioned or denied outright. For example, two married women might spend time in community spaces dominated by lesbians. Perhaps one of the women is bisexual and objects to the assumption that she is a lesbian (i.e., when others call the two women a “lesbian couple”). However, every time she mentions this, others insist that she can’t really be bisexual or that her orientation doesn’t matter (perhaps with the subtext that she shouldn’t talk about it) now that she is partnered. Bisexual scholar, activist and theorist, Dr. Herukhuti has cautioned, “By selecting which loved ones and sexual partners in someone’s life are worthy of being recognized, bisexual erasure is a violent amputation of a person’s chosen family and community.”
Talking about bisexuals can help save lives.Thankfully the bisexual community has displayed a high level of resiliency and despite many challenges has worked to create awareness of important bisexual public policy priorities. Whether it be speaking with President Obama about the bisexual community, launching bisexuality related social media campaigns or advocating for fair treatment in the media, the bisexual community’s hard work towards equality should be recognized and supported.
Every day is a day you can support people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, non-monosexual, no labels, pomosexual, bi-romantic, pan-romantic, polysexual, multisexual or any of the several dozen “labels” the bisexual community celebrates and supports as equally valid and equally brave.
Bisexual cultural competency training is a necessity to understand bisexual history, identity, culture, politics and community. Please contact one of the three U.S. based bisexual non-profit community organizations to be connected to trainers affiliated with The Bisexual Resource Center, Bisexual Organizing Project and/or BiNet USA.