September 16th through the 23rd is Bisexual Awareness Week! It’s a great week to celebrate bisexuality while raising awareness of issues that affect the community. Here are some issues and common misconceptions that the bisexual community is fighting to overcome:
- Bisexual women are more susceptible to intimate partner violence than any other group.
Multiple studies have noted that bisexual women are alarmingly likely to experience sexual violence; the risk is even worse for bisexual people of other marginalized identities, such as bisexual people of color and transgender bisexual people. Why? For one, bi women are highly fetishized and wrongly thought of as always sexually available, and are at risk for being harassed based on their bisexual identities alone. In addition, members of the LGBTQ community are known to have high rates of substance abuse that could leave them vulnerable to violence. You can read more about what researchers are saying about this phenomenon, and how we can fight it, here.
- Bisexuality is not being half gay and half straight.
Bisexuality is just being bisexual. Some bisexual people might experience attraction so that they feel they’re equally attracted to all genders, but others might experience a great deal of attraction to one gender and almost none to another. For yet others, thinking about it in terms of how attracted they are to the genders isn’t helpful at all-- they’re just attracted to people.
- You don’t have to have experience dating men and women to know that you’re bisexual.
Bisexual erasure in coming out is a huge issue in the community. Bisexual people dating the same gender are told they’re gay while bisexual people dating a different gender are told they’re straight. The truth is that you can discover a bisexual identity at any point in your life, no matter what your dating history is, and regardless of whether you’re in a long-term relationship or not. You can read here about a woman who discovered that she was bisexual at 31 while being happily married!
A quote from that last article that resonated with me in terms of coming out is this: “It’s like I discovered a whole new color, and now I see it everywhere.” Coming out as bisexual has been one of the happiest things that has ever happened to me too! I hope that we can all work together to make the world a safer place for bi people so more and more people can experience that joy.