A new campaign being driven by bisexual groups across Australia aims to increase visibility and raise awareness of the mental health issues facing bi people.

Encouraging bi people to use the hashtag #Bseen and to share their personal experiences, the campaign hopes to address the invisibility felt by those in the community.

The groups behind it include the Sydney Bi+ Network, the Melbourne Bisexual Network, Bi Alliance Victoria, and Bi+ Australia, the first national organisation dedicated to improving mental health outcomes for bisexual people.

“The #Bseen campaign aims to raise the profile of our bi community,” said founder of the Sydney Bi+ Network, Amber Loomis.

“We are here and we matter.”

Last year’s Who I Am study – conducted by La Trobe University researcher Julia Taylor – was the largest study of bisexual Australians, with Taylor admitting the results were worse than they had anticipated.

“What we found was high levels of psychological distress among the majority of participants,” Taylor said.

“They told us they had to pretend to be straight in some situations and gay in others. They faced questions about their sexuality from members of both the heterosexual and LGBTI communities.

“Many participants reported being told their sexuality wasn’t real, with gay men and lesbians trying to convince them they were really gay or lesbian and straight people insisting they were just experimenting.

“The very high rates of poor mental health and tendency towards suicide in this group are shocking and confirm why we need to do more to support bisexual people.”

Organisers of the #Bseen campaign hope to tackle the lack of community support around the mental health issues faced by bisexual people.

“Over half of the bi+ community are yet to ‘come out’,” said one of the individuals behind the campaign, Bree Mountain.

“You never know how much support from the wider community could mean to someone in this position.

“It is my hope that through raising visibility of the bi+ community, people will feel more comfortable accepting and sharing that part of themselves.”

To mark Bi Visibility Day earlier this year, advocate Ruby Mountford penned a piece for the Star Observer exploring the difficulties faced by bisexual people in finding safe and welcoming spaces within the LGBTI community. Similarly, advocate Steve Spencer opened up about his experiences as a gay man coming out as bisexual.

Bisexual people in Australia are encourage to take a selfie using the hashtag #Bseen, or post a video about their experiences, while allies are encouraged to show their support using the hashtag #WeSeeYou.

For more information visit: www.facebook.com/biplusvisibility

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