As part of GLAAD's ongoing series of posts dedicated to Celebrate Bisexuality Day, we invited bisexual people to share their stories and talk about what today means to them.
By Amy Andre
Celebrating bisexuality is an act of healing and an opportunity to claim and create community. According to leading studies, when it comes to sexual identity, self-identified bisexuals make up fifty percent of the LGB population. And yet, we bisexuals (and our allies) remain in so many ways invisible and marginalized and not quite aware of the extent to which bisexuals are part of the larger LGBT community.
Research also shows that bisexuals are more stigmatized than people of other sexual orientations, including gays and lesbians. This stigma – and the accompanying sense of invisibility and marginalization– has a tremendous impact on bisexual health. Biphobia is real, and causes real health problems.
Recently, I co‐authored Bisexual Health, a public policy book published by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force in association with the Fenway Institute and BiNet USA (and available as a free PDF download on the Task Force’s website). In the book, my co‐authors and I document the fact that bisexuals suffer from poorer health than gays and lesbians. When it comes to sexual orientation, there is a hierarchy of health, with bisexuals at the bottom, heterosexuals at the top, and gays and lesbians in the middle.
For example, bisexuals have higher rates of smoking, drinking, drug abuse, depression, suicidal ideation, cutting/ self‐harming behavior, and domestic violence victimization, compared to gays, lesbians, and heterosexuals. These health issues are intimately connected to the biphobia and the higher levels of stigma that bisexuals encounter.
Celebrating bisexuality means celebrating the community that we are creating with each other. Celebrating bisexuality means affirming our place in the broader LGBT community. Celebrating bisexuality means recognizing one another, and saying to one another, “I see you, I know you, and I want you to enjoy health and well‐being.” Celebrating bisexuality is an act of self‐love and community love – which is an appropriate response to a sexual identity that is about one’s capacity to love others. And that’s what Bisexual Pride means to me.
Amy Andre, MA, MBA, is a writer, university lecturer, and the co‐author of Bisexual Health, a book published by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. A biracial, bisexual, African American Jew, she lives in San Francisco with her partner, a filmmaker. With a master’s degree in sexuality studies (focusing on bisexual identity and LGBT community) and a business degree in nonprofit management, Amy does consulting for LGBT organizations. Visit her online at www.amyandre.com.