Supporting Our Bi+ Youth This Bisexual Awareness Week

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance results for 2019. The data follow a disturbing but unsurprising trend that HRC has seen before -- LGBTQ students are more likely to experience victimization, violence and suicidality than their straight and cisgender peers. More specifically, according to HRC’s analysis of the 2019 data, it’s also clear that bisexual, pansexual, queer and fluid (bi+)* students are facing additional challenges when compared to lesbian, gay and straight students

HRC’s analysis shows that:

  • 11% of bisexual youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. In comparison, 7% of straight youth reported experiencing this.
  • 31% of bisexual youth have been bullied on school property. In comparison, a similar percentage -- 29% of gay and lesbian youth-- reported experiencing this, considerably more than the 17% of straight youth who reported this experience.
  • 22% of bisexual youth have attempted suicide. In comparison, a similar percentage -- 21% of gay and lesbian youth -- reported experiencing this, considerably more than the 7% of straight youth who have experienced this.

HRC’s Bi+ Youth Report also underscores the challenges that bi+ students face:

  • Only 9% of bi+ youth would be very comfortable discussing a question about their LGBTQ identity with a counselor
  • 69% of bi+ youth report being teased or treated poorly at school because of their sexual orientation, compared to 60% of gay and lesbian youth
  • 26% of bi+ youth can “definitely” be themselves in school, compared to nearly 33% of gay and lesbian youth
  • 81% of bi+ youth “usually” feel down or depressed, compared to 71% of gay and lesbian youth
  • 85% of bi+ youth “usually” feel worried, nervous or panicked, compared to 77% of gay and lesbian youth

These data show that there’s an urgent need to support bi+ young people and ensure that they have the resources they need to not only succeed, but thrive in school and beyond. We need to ensure that all youth-serving professionals are informed and educated about bi+ identities, biphobia and the unique challenges that bi+ youth face.

Supporting bi+ youth starts with education. HRC has resources available at hrc.org/bisexual to help start the conversation. Elevating bi+ narratives, which can differ from those of gay and lesbian youth, is imperative to ensuring bi+ youth feel included. Youth should not be challenged about their bi+ identities, but instead, they should be accepted and supported when they say they are bi, pan, queer or fluid. By working together to make bi+ youth and their experiences visible, we can help make sure bi+ youth are supported.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation will continue to support and lift up bi+ individuals, stories and narratives, and is committed to ensuring bi+ youth and adults have the support they need to thrive.

* While data on pan, queer and fluid students was not directly collected by the CDC, many students who identify with non-monsexualities, such as pan, queer or fluid, may opt-in to selecting “bisexual” as the closest representation of their identity among their choices. As a result, HRC is using the bi+ umbrella to include pan, queer and fluid students.