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Bisexual FAQ

Filed under: Bisexual, Coming Out

What does bisexual mean?

In simplest terms, a bisexual person is someone who can be attracted to more than one gender; but adults and youth who identify as bisexual sometimes describe themselves differently. Many bisexual adults have embraced the definition proposed by longtime bisexual leader, national speaker and award-winning activist Robyn Ochs:

"I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted - romantically and/or sexually - to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree."

This broad definition of bisexuality includes people who identify as pansexual, queer, fluid and other labels that suggest potential attraction to more than one gender.


How many people are bisexual?

According to the Williams Institute and the HRC Foundation's own research, studies suggest that about 50 percent of people who identify as either gay, lesbian, or bisexual, identify as bisexual. This makes the bisexual population the single largest group within the LGBTQ community.


Can a transgender person also be bisexual?

Yes, and some are. Because sexual orientation refers to a person's sexual or romantic attraction and gender identity is about how people identify themselves along the spectrum of gender, transgender people can identify as lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, or any other sexual orientation.


What is biphobia?

Biphobia is prejudice, fear, or hatred directed toward bisexual people. It can include making jokes or comments based on myths and stereotypes that seek to undermind the legitimacy of bisexual identity, like "bisexuality is a phase" or "bi people are greedy." Biphobia occurs both within and outside of the LGBTQ community.


What are some of the unique issues that bisexual people face?

In addition to biphobia, bisexual people are often excluded or rendered invisible in LGBTQ spaces and conversations about LGBTQ issues. Bisexual people are sometimes assumed to be straight or gay based on the gender of the person they are currently dating.

Because of biphobia and bi erasure, bisexual people suffer significantly higher rates of depression and anxiety, domestic violence, sexual assault, and poverty than lesbians, gay men, or straight cisgender (non-transgender) people. Bisexuals also face major health disparities and poor healthcare outcomes from a lack of adequate preventative care. The HRC Foundation’s study of bisexual youth suggests that biphobia and sexual harassment start affecting bisexuals at a young age.


What resources exist specifically for bisexual people?

The HRC Foundation publishes several resources that bisexual youth and adults might find useful, including the Coming Out guides, and the report Supporting and Caring for Our Bisexual Youth.

There are also several national organizations that advocate specifically for bisexual people. These include BiNet USA, the Bisexual Resource Center, and the Bisexual Organizing Project.