Why the bisexual community needs more attention

Bisexual individuals face many forms of marginalization, discrimination and issues that need to be discussed and resolved.

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The LGBTQ+ community, as a whole, faces a lot of persecution, unfairness and injustices on a day-to-day basis. The sad reality is that each particular group within the community faces different struggles and challenges. If we look at the bisexual community, we realise that society, in general, neglects and disregards the problems that bisexual individuals have to deal with. It is this inaction which further worsens the situations that bisexual people are in. Thus, it is paramount that discussions begin and people come together to find solutions to the various difficulties that the bisexual community faces.

An interesting statistic which various surveys and research projects have conducted and found, is that the bisexual community is larger than the homosexual community. Although these statistics would make one assume that problems affecting bisexual people would be regarded and resolved, the truth is that they aren’t at all. In fact, our society is still predominantly focused on the binary ideology, the idea that there are only two sexual orientations, those being homosexual and heterosexual, and two genders, those being man and woman. This binary has consequently caused the formulation of bi erasure, which is society and peoples’ actions, whether direct or not, to ignore, remove, disregard or exclude bisexuality and bisexual people. Bi erasure, which is perhaps the biggest form of biphobia, subsequently creates the belief that a person can only be homosexual or heterosexual, and there are no other alternatives.

The effects of biphobia and bi erasure are dehumanising, demeaning and debilitating towards bisexual individuals. In fact, they have had a major impact on the bisexual community. According to statistics, bisexual individuals suffer from higher rates of depression, stress and anxiety because they feel that their being, their identity, is being disregarded, and society and bigots are endorsing an abhorrent, false narrative that bisexuality is not a valid sexual orientation. In addition to this, most bisexual individuals end up dating or having long term relationships with a partner of the opposite sex because of the pressures of heteronormative society and the stigmas and discrimination that occur when individuals of the same sex date. Undoubtedly, extreme measures need to be taken to raise awareness about mental health issues that bisexual individuals are being challenged with because of who they are and society’s backlash for being themselves.

Not only are mental issues not being dealt with for the bisexual community, but sexual and physical health is not being taken care of properly either. There already is a problem when it comes to the lack of sex and health education for the LGBTQ+ community, and the bisexual community is no different. Once again, statistics show that bisexual individuals have a higher rate of being diagnosed with STIs, heart diseases and cancer. This is because the bisexual community is not directly educated about physical wellness, sex and sexuality. Although an attempt has been made to educate members of the LGBTQ+ community, it still needs to grow and reach more individuals until it makes a better impact. Unfortunately, biphobic and queerphobic individuals try to use these statistics to discriminate against the bisexual community.

It is vital that more awareness is created and spread about the issues that the bisexual community faces. We are lucky to have advocate groups such as Bi.Org, Bisexual Resource Center and phenomenal activists such as actor Sara Ramirez who are doing whatever they can, in their capacity, to make governments, organisations and lobbying groups & individuals aware of the issues that we face. It is also up to us, as bisexual individuals, and allies too, to unite and work together so that more political authorities listen to us and work with us to tackle societal issues that impact us. The bisexual community needs more attention because we have members of our diverse family who are suffering from multiple forms of oppression and marginalization, and this has resulted in many suffering from mental health issues.

At the end of the day, our society has a long way to go before it becomes an empowering and safe, brave space for bisexual individuals and queer bodies. However, it is important that we continue the process of changing the toxic, heteronormative, bi erasing society that we live in so that we can reach a point where our world can become a place where people can have dignity and be who they are.

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Luke Waltham is a BA Law Graduate. He is a BA Honours student and has been an activist for transformation, social justice and human rights. #BTSARMY

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