Human Rights Campaign & UCONN Survey Finds Bi+ Youth at Heightened Risk for Discrimination

by Elliott Kozuch

Washington -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in partnership with the University of Connecticut, released the 2019 Bi+ Youth Report, a groundbreaking resource detailing the experiences of bisexual, pansexual, queer and sexually fluid (bi+) LGBTQ youth. The report, which analyzes responses from nearly 9,000 young people who participated in HRC’s online 2017 LGBTQ Teen Survey, reveals elevated levels of stress among these 13-to-17-year-olds, as well as an overwhelming lack of comfort in being open about their identity at home and in school.


“Over the past few years, more and more celebrities, politicians and others have come out as bi+, putting a spotlight on the bisexual community and making it more visible than ever,” said Jay Brown, HRC Senior Vice President of Programs, Research and Training. “However, even as visibility increases, bi+ youth are still experiencing biphobia and bi erasure in their homes, schools and communities -- and both within and outside of the LGBTQ community. As supportive parents, school administrators, teachers, counselors, advocates and other youth-serving professionals, we must continue to play an essential, affirming role in the lives of bi+ youth.”


The report is being released during Bisexual Awareness Week, which provides a vital opportunity to shine a light on the stories of the bi+ community. Studies show that as many as half of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer population identify as bisexual -- making the bisexual community the single largest group in the LGBTQ community. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, approximately 8% of youth ages 13-17 in the United States, or nearly 2 million young people, identify as bisexual.


HRC and researchers at the University of Connecticut found that:

  • Bi+ youth are far less likely to be out about their identities to people in their lives -- including family, friends, doctors, teachers and peers -- compared to gay and lesbian youth;
  • 68% of bi+ youth report being teased or treated poorly because of their sexual orientation;
  • Just 13% of bi+ youth received information about safer sex that is relevant to their identity;
  • 58% of transgender & gender-expansive youth identify as bi+; and
  • Only 11% of bi+ youth of color think their racial/ethnic group is regarded positively or very positively in the U.S.


The voices of bi+ youth are powerfully represented in this report:


“My parents look past me being bisexual and think it’s because of the friends I’m around. I don’t like talking to people about my sexuality. It scares me what they will think about me because of the stereotypes they’ve built about the LGBT community. I don’t want that to affect how people act around me.”


“Because of being bisexual, I would imagine that an adult counselor would have judgements of me, thinking it’s just a phase, that I don’t want to come out as fully gay, or even not believing in bisexuality.”


“I feel unable to share my sexual orientation because I often hear that bisexual people need ‘to just pick one,’ and I, as a young woman, am often sexualized for liking girls as well as boys.”


The U.S. lacks reliable data about LGBTQ people, especially about the experiences of LGBTQ youth. Supportive parents, school administrators, teachers, counselors and other youth-serving professionals play an essential role in the lives of bi+ LGBTQ youth. These findings will inform a variety of HRC Foundation programs for youth and youth-serving professionals, including the HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools and All Children-All Families programs; and the Time to THRIVE conference. The full results of the survey can be found here.


For more information bi+ identities, click here. The Coca-Cola Foundation was a generous supporter of this critical resource.


The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.



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