As members of groups that support and advocate for bisexual people, we hear about prejudice not just from heterosexual but also homosexual communities (especially at ‘queer-friendly’ events and venues).
Enough is enough. That we are discriminated against in the homosexual and lesbian communities (groups who are subject to prejudice) feels more offensive than being discriminated against by mainstream society.
The distress of one of our members arising from biphobic prejudice while participating in this year’s Pride March, a supposedly queer-safe event, requires us to be more active in speaking up. Initial approaches to Pride March to improve matters have been met positively.
We want to raise awareness of the impact of attitudes reflected in taunts such as greedy, in transition, make a decision, traitors to the gay/lesbian cause, infidelitous — all of which reinforce the sense of non-acceptance.
Biphobia, discrimination and abuse directed towards bisexuals, often goes unacknowledged in discussions about discrimination in queer communities. Going on research findings of the deleterious impacts of biphobia, however, this requires urgent attention.
Bisexuals are more likely than lesbians or gay men to not be out to family and friends; experience covert and overt discrimination in both ‘straight’ and queer venues (including being asked to leave queer venues); suffer from mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety; be at risk for suicide; engage in behaviours that place their physical health at risk e.g. substance usage, being overweight; practise unsafe sex.
Bisexuals are no more likely to engage in multiple relationships than people who are gay, lesbian or heterosexual.
Imagine, or recall, what it is like to be subject to discrimination and misunderstanding because of your sexual identity.
The VGLRL believes strengthening bi (and trans and intersex) people strengthens us all.
It is time bisexuality is recognised as a legitimate sexual identity. We call on readers to join us in raising awareness about the impacts of biphobia and to stop these prejudices wherever they are seen.
info: Kathryn Wilson is with Bisexual
Alliance Victoria. Sally Goldner is with
the VGLRL and Bisexual Alliance Victoria.
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