IDAHOT: Let's Talk About Biphobia

Photos by Poem Baker ©

Here at HOWL we are committed to fighting stereotypes, ignorance and discrimination, especially around the subject of sexuality and sexual orientation.

Some of us are, in fact, members of the queer/LGBT community ourselves.

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia, and we want to take this opportunity to send a shoutout with much love to our bisexual readers and focus in on the topic of biphobia.

Why talk about Biphobia?

Even though there are many experiences and needs that are shared within the LGBTQ community, there are also significant differences amongst each group (L,G,B,T,Q, and +).

Recent data has made it increasingly clear that we need to address the specific issues bisexual people face. In fact, resistance against bisexual people is often found to be even more prominent than towards other minority groups within the LGBTQ community. According to the Bisexuality Report;

“Bisexuality has been acknowledged to be an ‘invisible’, ‘excluded’ or ‘silent’ sexuality within several domains including but not limited to: mainstream media, lesbian and gay communities, sex research, psychology and psychotherapy, policy and legislation. It has been argued that bisexual invisibility is the main problem confronting bisexual people accessing services.”

Biphobia: negative attitudes, behaviors, and societal structures specifically targeted at bisexual people or anyone who is attracted to more than one gender. Common forms of biphobia include:

Bisexual denial: seeing bisexual people as ‘confused’ about their sexuality.

Bisexual invisibility: assuming that people are either heterosexual or lesbian/gay, or assuming people’s sexuality on the basis of their current partner.

● Bisexual exclusion: neglecting bisexual people/ groups.

● Bisexual marginalization: prioritizing lesbian and gay issues over bisexual ones.

● Negative stereotypes: i.e. assuming that bisexual people are promiscuous, spreaders of disease, incapable of monogamy, a threat to relationships/families or sexually available to anyone.

Photos by Poem Baker ©

The Effects of Biphobia On Mental Health

Of all the sexual identity groups, bisexual people have the most severe mental health problems, including high rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidality. This has been strongly linked to experiences of biphobia and bisexual invisibility.

Because of the link between mental and physical health, bisexual people should also be considered more at risk of physical health problems as well as an inclination towards dangerous behaviors such as substance abuse.

Two Key Recommendations for Allies

There are so many actions we can take to be supportive allies towards bisexual people. We’ll mention two that are incredibly helpful within the art & media community, should you choose to practice them:

1. Be aware of how bisexuality is represented and how this can feed into biphobia.

2. Endeavor to represent the diversity of bisexual people.

Photos by Poem Baker ©

To learn more you can go to:

Supporting and Caring for our Bisexual Youth

The Bisexuality Report

#SexColumn #LGBTQ #DeconstructingGender

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