- September 24, 2015
Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
On the heels of the release last week of HRC Foundation’s issue brief, Health Disparities Among Bisexual People, I had the privilege of joining around 100 bisexual community advocates for a White House Bisexual Community Policy Briefing on Monday, September 21. It was awe-inspiring to find myself once again in the company of bisexual advocates, sharing their stories of resilience in the face of staggering trauma and adversity.
Despite many participants living well below the poverty line, attendees traveled great distances at their own expense to make sure that their messagesreached the ears of the Obama administration. There were attendees living with disabilities, mental illness, PTSD, cancer and HIV who set aside their own comfort and even safety to make sure that they were there to attest to the vast health disparities our community faces.
There were survivors of stalking, sexual assault and intimate partner violence who courageously shared their stories in hopes that having their voices heard by government officials could make a difference and save others in our community from the same kinds of trauma so many of us have endured.
When I talk to other people in the broader LGBT community about the disparities bisexuals face, I watch jaws drop. For example, 46 percent of bisexual women have been raped compared to 17 percent of heterosexual women and 13 percent of lesbians. Additionally, there are twice as many people who identify as bisexual than there are lesbians or gay men, yet few of us even know the unique challenges that we face because of our sexual orientation.
As I have learned through my work at HRC, the bisexual community is comprised of many deeply damaged and amazingly resilient people. We are survivors of trauma, abuse and marginalization. Many of us are also people of color and/or transgender, which makes us especially more vulnerable to such disparities and still, in far too many LGBT spaces, we remain invisible.
Our presence at the White House on the first day of this year’s Bisexual Awareness Week is, in that context, somewhat revolutionary; but there is so much work left to do.
For more information on bisexual people and the challenges we face, visit hrc.org/bisexual.