La Trobe University is conducting one of the largest ever studies into the mental health of people who are attracted to more than one gender.

The Who I Am study is examining the little understood reasons for poor mental health in bi and pansexual people.

Lead investigator Julia Taylor said previous research has consistently found bi and pansexual Australians have worse mental health than gay or straight people.

“Bisexual and pansexual people are frequently subjected to discrimination and a lack of social acceptance—even within the lesbian and gay communities,” Taylor said.

“People are assumed to be heterosexual or homosexual depending on the gender of their partner and there is a lack of widely visible bisexual role models and few organised communities.

“Despite a large body of evidence showing poorer mental health among bisexual and pansexual people, there is very little understanding about the reasons for this.”

Taylor said the study has already received an overwhelming response.

“We have had around 2,000 people complete our survey so far, highlighting the clear need for this type of research,” she said.

“Many bisexual and pansexual people feel their sexuality is invisible or they are not respected and this is a way for them to be heard.”

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