Post submitted by former HRC Digital Media Manager Helen Parshall
Studies show that as many as half of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer population identify as bisexual -- making the bisexual community the largest single group in the LGBTQ community.
Yet bisexual, queer, pansexual and fluid young people all too often report heartbreaking levels of stress, anxiety and rejection in their homes and communities, well beyond that of their gay and lesbian peers.
HRC and the University of Connecticut’s groundbreaking 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report found alarming trends among its bisexual, queer, pansexual and fluid-identified respondents, ranging in age from 13 to 17:
- Bisexual, pansexual, queer and fluid youth are nearly two times less likely to be out to their doctors and healthcare providers than lesbian and gay young people;
- 81 percent of bisexual respondents said they “usually” felt down or depressed over the past week compared to 71 percent of lesbian and gay youth;
- More than three-fourths of bisexual, queer, pansexual and fluid-identified youth said they "usually" felt feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness over the past week;
- Nearly half of bisexual young people reported they are not out to any of their teachers, compared to 32 percent of lesbian and gay respondents.
These alarming trends continue into adulthood.
According to the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC), approximately 40 percent of bisexual people have considered or attempted suicide, compared to just over a quarter of gay men and lesbians. HRC’s Health Disparities Among Bisexual People found that “when compared to heterosexual adults, bisexual adults reported double the rate of depression and higher rates of binge drinking.”
The prevalence of biphobia in LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ spaces alike contributes to these shocking numbers. BRC defines biphobia as “mislabeling bi+ people as lesbian, gay or straight, even when they come out as bi+.” Biphobia seeks to undermine the legitimacy of bisexual identities and comes in many forms: jokes, stereotypes, non-inclusive language and even abuse. The fear of being dismissed as “too gay” or “too straight” often makes it hard to be open.
Statistics like these are even higher for the bisexual people who are also transgender, people of color and/or people with disabilities, who experience biphobia at the intersections of transphobia, racism and ableism.
Research consistently points to an urgent need for parents, educators, allies and the broader LGBTQ community to support and care for these youth. It is up to each of us to educate ourselves and open the doors for bi, queer, pan and fluid young people to be able to embrace their true and authentic selves.
For more information, check out HRC.org/Bisexual.