Putting the ‘b’ back in the GLBTI acronym, two online bisexual support groups have joined forces to create a new advocacy group — Bisexual Alliance Victoria — to increase public awareness of bisexuality.
The group has joined members of monthly chat group Melbourne Bi Chat and Victorian Bi Activists to establish an 80-person alliance with a four-member executive.
Bisexual Alliance Victoria president James Dominguez said it was time to develop a credible face to speak out on issues affecting the bisexual community.
“People outside in the heterosexual mainstream tend to think only ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’,” he said.
“It’s a problem of visibility… If you’re looking at sexuality from a binary perspective, you can see a straight person, or you can see a gay person because they’re holding hands or kissing the same or opposite sex.
“You can’t really see a bisexual.”
Dominguez said the group, which is still in the set-up stage, aims to provide a public voice and go-to point when issues arise affecting the bisexual community, including speaking out in the media when bisexual people are misrepresented.
Dominguez, who is married to a woman, said bisexual people can be marginalised by the gay and lesbian community for “not making up our minds”, and often find themselves in a social limbo.
Dominguez said it was “very disappointing” to hear insults like “stop sitting on the fence” hurled at the bisexual contingent in a recent Pride march.
“I’ve had friends who’ve lost their entire friendship network because they’ve told their friends that they’re not gay but bisexual,” he said.
“It can be very hurtful.”
Dominguez’s experience is backed by both local and international research which shows bisexuals have higher rates of depression.
In four Australian Research Centre for Sex Health and Society (ARCSHS) studies this decade, bisexuals showed poorer mental health than homosexuals.
Empirical research also suggests bisexuals face a negative attitude from heterosexuals and homosexuals for being ‘unreliable’.
“It’s about visibility,” Dominguez said.
“If we’re out there and that helps one person realise there are other people out there like them, then it’s worth it.”
Dominguez said the Alliance will work with social support group Bi-Victoria which has been running for more than 15 years.