In a powerful video released today, actor Evan Rachel Wood opened up about the many issues, stereotypes and misconceptions facing the bisexual community, including her own struggles.
“There are so many gray areas in this world, especially when it comes to gender roles and especially when it comes to sexuality,” she said in the video, which was released today in conjunction with LGBTQ Pride Month. “I found women very beautiful. I also found men very beautiful. I’m fluid.”
“I was getting crushes a lot on girls in middle school. People that I was afraid to be honest with for fear of losing them,” she said. “As open-minded as my family was, I was still terrified to talk to them.”
Recent surveys have shown that bisexual people are the largest group within the LGBTQ community: half of people who identify as LGB identify as bisexual. However, bisexuals are far less likely than their gay and lesbian peers to be out, citing stereotypes, skepticism and pressure to “choose” one sexual orientation as reasons for staying in the closet.
“I really started contemplating suicide because I had no way to express myself. I was also very, very confused because I didn’t know bisexuality was a thing,” she admitted. “There was no where to go. I think I already realized being bisexual or saying I’m bisexual was not cute and was looked down upon.”
Throughout the video, Wood shares a variety of statistics around health disparities in the bisexual community. For example, compared to other groups in the LGBTQ community, bisexuals face striking rates of poor health outcomes ranging from cancer and obesity to sexually transmitted infections to mental health problems. Bisexual adults are more likely to engage in self-harming behaviors, attempt suicide or think about suicide than heterosexuals, lesbians or gay men. Additionally, bisexual adults were three times as likely to report thoughts of suicide than heterosexual adults.
“I can only speak for my experience…there are many, many factors that come into play when dealing with statistics like this, but I can say it certainly heightens them and certainly makes them heavier and more frightening and more lonely and harder to bear and I hope that by sharing one bisexual story we’ll start to become real people with real stories and real struggles.”
Wood is bravely living openly and authentically, helping to shine a light on the dangerous but largely hidden crisis--the striking physical, mental and sexual health disparities bisexual people face. She hopes that by sharing these shocking statistics and her own person experience, more people will begin to recognize, respect and acknowledge the bisexual community.
“I want to wish everybody a happy pride month, no matter who you are,” she concluded. “I liked to call on you to stand by us and to acknowledge us and to open your arms.”
HRC Foundation, in partnership with BiNet USA, the Bisexual Organizing Project, and the Bisexual Resource Center, released A Resource Guide to Coming Out As Bisexual earlier this year to help bisexual people of all ages who are contemplating the important step of coming out.