By Jenny Crocker, Spectrum Co-Chair
In an exciting turn of events, I am writing a BiBlog in March and not in September as I have done previously to recognise Bi Visibility Month and Bi Visibility Day.
That’s because March is Bisexual+ Health Awareness Month (#BiHealthMonth), which is a campaign led annually by the Bisexual Resource Center to raise awareness about social, economic, and health disparities for bisexual+ (bi, pansexual, fluid, queer, etc.) people and our community.
Bisexual and bi are umbrella terms used to refer to sexual orientations which express sexual and/or emotional attraction to more than one gender, or regardless of gender.
The bisexual+ community makes up around half of the LGBTQIA+ family and experiences significantly higher rates of physical, sexual, social and emotional violence, as well as worse physical, mental and social health.
Bisexual+ people often experience higher levels of mental health issues than their queer and straight peers, including suicide, substance use disorders, depression, and anxiety. One of the causes of this poor mental health? Biphobia, bi erasure and invisibility.
The Bisexuality Report (2012) found that attitudes toward bisexual people are more negative than those toward lesbian or gay people. 66% of respondents only feel “a little” or “not at all” part of a LGBT community. Bisexuality is also sometimes treated as a “phase,” a particular issue in the gay and lesbian community. This often leaves us feeling our identity isn’t valid and without support networks in either community.
This year’s #BiHealthMonth theme is ‘Connection’ to highlight the importance of connecting bisexual+ people to each other, to supportive communities, and to healthcare resources that are affirming of their identities. When bi+ people are connected, it can greatly improve our physical, mental, and social health, especially for those living in historically oppressed, marginalised or isolated communities.
If you would like to reach out and connect with other bisexual+ people then Bi Community News is a great resource for finding local meet ups; while many are still being held online, some are starting to venture back to meeting in person so it’s worth checking out.
There is also the annual BiCon event being held at Leeds Beckett University between 11-14 August later in the year. Find out more about it by visiting https://2022.bicon.org.uk