Researchers at Drexel University in Pennsylvania have discovered that bisexual women face a disproportionately high rate of anxiety, depression, substance use, and self harm.
Annie Shearer, the study’s publication research assistant, said in a press release that “prejudice and stigma from gay and lesbian communities in addition to heterosexual communities” plays a large role in the high levels of depression and anxiety within this group. “Some people still refuse to acknowledge bisexual and other non-binary identities as legitimate, which I think can be very harmful to those who can’t — and shouldn’t have to — identify as exclusively heterosexual or homosexual.”
The Brown University ‘Concerns for Bisexuals’ report yielded the same findings, reporting that “bisexuals face greater physical and mental health disaparities than lesbians, gays, and the broader population.”
Biphobia is a very real issue both nationally and internationally. Bisexual people are often assumed to have not made up their minds or are claimed to be sitting on the sexual orientation fence. Bisexual women are often considered more likely to cheat on their partners, and considered “greedy.” These assumptions are common and false. In the same way that transpeople still experience phobia from within and outside of the queer community, bisexual people are still fighting to be visible and valid in 2016.
American news site Think Process reports that “the report points out many disparities the bi community experiences beyond mental health consequences. They are less likely to be out to family and friends, they are more likely to experience poverty, and bi women in particular are more likely to experience intimate partner violence than either lesbian or straight women.”
“The bottom line,” nationally acclaimed educator Robyn Ochs explained, “is that it causes me and many of my bi+ [orientations that don’t fit the gay-straight binary] friends a great deal of frustration that the one place we should feel welcome, safe and at home — isn’t. You show up in need of support and may find yourself perceived as a distruptor, a complicator of tidy narratives and messaging, and as a threat.”
Researchers suggest that increased funding to raise bisexual awareness and education will help to remedy this high rate of mental illness.
Read the study in the Journal of Adolescent Health Online.