16 Feb 2012
A recent study on sexuality claims that bisexual people suffer the worst mental health problems including higher rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide.
The report, led by Dr Meg Barker, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the Open University, links the findings to the common experiences of biphobia and bisexual invisibility.
According to the study, attitudes towards bisexual people tend to be more negative than those towards other minority groups. Bisexuals are reportedly often stereotyped as promiscuous, incapable of monogamy, and a threat to relationships.
Dr Barker said: “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.
“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.”
However, the report also found that there are positive aspects to bisexual people's experiences, for example the ability to develop identities and relationships without restrictions linked to a sense of independence, self-awareness and authenticity.
Bisexual respondents also spoke of their acceptance and appreciation of others’ differences and a feeling of being well-placed to notice and challenge social biases and assumptions beyond sexuality.
Stonewall Policy Officer Alice Ashworth said: "We’re delighted to endorse this report, which builds on Stonewall research looking at the distinct experiences of bisexual people.
“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."
Find out more on The Bisexuality Report: Bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity HERE