Happy Bisexual Awareness Day!
There's still a lot of stigma and misunderstanding about bisexuality today. A lot of people dismiss this identity, calling people "indecisive", "greedy", or "fake". And I admit, I'm the worst person to ask when it comes to picking restaurants or activities because I usually can't decide what to do. And I am definitely capable of eating an entire bag of chips without sharing. And I've been an actor... which is pretty much a professional fake. But none of that has anything to do with my orientation.
For bisexual people, there's often not one "coming out", but a long stream of them. Often, the pressure to hide is overwhelming. Even in the gay and lesbian community, bisexual voices are often excluded. People are going to make assumptions about who you are, what you like, and why. It's frustrating. It's tiring. And it's discriminatory.
So here's to Prodigy (aka David Alleyne), who came out in Issue #9 of Young Avengers. I'm so proud of you.
Bisexual women are almost twice as likely to be victims of domestic violence as heterosexual women.
This study by the CDC "found that 35% of straight women had experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by a partner at some point in their lives. But 43.8% of lesbian women had experienced one of the three, as had a full 61.1% of bisexual women."
If you've never been grabbed or hit by a loved one, I don't recommend it. I haven't encountered anything else that made me feel worse. I felt like it was my fault, because I should have seen it coming, I should have calmed him down. I felt ashamed. I felt like I was insane- like I was making it out to be a much bigger deal than it was. I felt like I couldn't trust myself or anyone else.
So here's to Harley Quinn, who left her abusive boyfriend and is now dating Poison Ivy. You are so brave.
Bisexual people are prone to higher rates of depression, self-harm, and anxiety.
This UK report attributed these higher numbers to biphobia. "The report reveals that bisexuals are often stereotyped as promiscious, incapable of commitment, a threat to relationships and spreaders of disease. Additionally, of all the common sexual identity groups, bisexual people most frequently have mental health problems." (Via).
I honestly can't say if the really bad depressive episode I had about ten years ago was due to biphobia. My best guess is what that it was triggered by a lot of things, and that was just one contributing factor. I was very isolated, and physically exhausted, and I wasn't in an environment that was particularly accepting. I was a really weird kid and I knew that I didn't belong anywhere. And the more those feelings piled up, the more it seemed like I couldn't feel anything at all, like the part of me responsible for feeling happy or sad or *anything* was just gone.
So here's to John Constantine, who has a long history of mental illness. You made it this far. Keep going.
Bisexual people face discrimination from both the heterosexual and homosexual communities.
Even though a high percentage of people in the LGT community identify as bisexual, this group is one of the least visible. Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project says that “the failure to account for bisexual lives and experiences compounds a lack of social support and keeps bisexual people in the closet.” (Via).
I didn't grow up in a homophobic household (one of my closest friends was told by his parents that if he "chose to be" gay, he would no longer be welcome in their home). But I think some part of my mom still doesn't believe me when it comes to who I am and what I want out of my life. She wouldn't mind if I was gay, as long as I intended to settle down and have kids. There's no space for a different lifestyle, and different needs, in the path she chose for me. She seems convinced that I'll never be happy as I am. And over the years, it's made it harder and harder to speak to her at all.
Here's to Loki, who is out of place at home. Your life is your own.
The overall opinion of bisexuality is extremely negative
People dismiss it as an orientation, calling it not real, or just an excuse people use to 'try' being gay. As if this identity is a disguise we're choosing to wear, instead of something that is innate. There's nothing wrong with being confused, and there's nothing wrong with experimentation. There's nothing wrong with having an identity that shifts and changes as you get older. And there's no reason to stigmatize anyone, whether they identify as bisexual for their lifetime, or just for a few months.
Researcher Dr. Mackey Friedman found that "this can cause feelings of isolation and marginalization, which prior research has shown leads to higher substance use, depression and risky sexual behavior." (Via). The pressure to hide- to pretend to be something we're not- isn't something we're making up. It's very real and it is killing us.