A new report looking at bisexual inclusion and equality issues has found that bisexual people face more mental health issues compared to other groups in the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) community.
These includes higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide.
The report said that this has been found in the U.K. and internationally, and is linked to experiences of ‘biphobia’ and bisexual invisibility.
The report, led by Dr Meg Barker, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The Open University in the U.K., said that attitudes towards bisexual people were found to be more negative than those towards other minority groups, with bisexuals often being stereotyped as promiscuous, incapable of monogamy, a threat to relationships and spreaders of disease.
“Government policy and equalities agendas generally consider lesbian, gay and bisexual issues together. However bisexual people often face prejudice from within lesbian and gay groups as well as heterosexual communities,” said Dr Barker.
“They are invisible – not represented in mainstream media, policy, legislation or within lesbian and gay communities. Government and communities need to single out bisexual people as a separate group in order to address this equality gap.”
Although the attitudes and behaviours of others, and exclusionary structures, cause issues for bisexual people, the report found that there are many positive aspects to bisexual peoples’ experiences.
These include the ability to develop identities and relationships without restrictions, linked to a sense of independence, self-awareness and authenticity.
“Bisexual people also speak of their acceptance and appreciation of others’ differences and feel well-placed to notice and challenge social biases and assumptions beyond sexuality,” said the authors.
Alice Ashworth from British LGBT rights group Stonewall welcomed the report.
“Bi people will be pleased to know that researchers really do understand their needs. Now it’s important for service providers, the media and employers to take those needs seriously – we hope this important work helps them to do that,” she said.
The full report is