Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
This March, HRC joins the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) and other bisexual community advocates in celebrating the third annual Bisexual Health Awareness Month. This year’s focus is on bi+ (e.g. bisexual, fluid, no label, pansexual, queer) youth.
“Bisexual+ youth, who encompass a diverse spectrum of sexual identities…experience higher rates of suicidality, substance use, bullying and sexual violence compared to their gay, lesbian and straight peers,” BRC explained. “They are also less likely to be connected with programs and services, both at school and in their local community, that can best support them.”
HRC’s 2014 report, Supporting and Caring for Our Bisexual Youth, found that when compared to their lesbian and gay peers, bisexual youth were more likely to experience being excluded and harassed, less likely to have caring adults to turn to if they felt sad and less likely to report feeling happy.
These disparities among bi+ youth translate into further disparities among bi+ adults, particularly when it comes to health. In partnership with BRC, BiNetUSA and the Bisexual Organizing Project, the HRC Foundation’s issue brief, Health Disparities Among Bisexual People, highlighted these disparities, which include higher rates of cancer, heart disease and obesity, and higher rates of HPV and other sexual health issues, likely stemming from a lack of access to preventative care and not being out to medical providers. The Williams Institute found that 39 percent of bisexual men and 33 percent of bisexual women reported not disclosing their sexual orientation to any medical provider, compared to only 13 percent of gay men and 10 percent of lesbians who chose not to disclose.
“With more and more youth coming out as bi+, the need to highlight their disparities becomes more crucial every day,” BRC Co-Presidents Heather Benjamin and Kate Estrop said in a joint statement. “This year, Bisexual Health Awareness Month is providing a needed spotlight on bi+ youth to educate parents, teachers, administrators, health professionals and other members of the LGBTQIA community on how they can help. It’s important that bi+ youth know that they are not alone, they are valued and they have community.”
HRC is proud to join BRC, Trevor Project, BiNet USA, Bisexual Women of Color and other community advocates to raise awareness about these critical issue.
For more resources and information on HRC’s work with the bisexual community, visit hrc.org/bisexual.