5 Things to Know About Bisexual Health Awareness Month

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Did you know that it’s Bisexual Health Awareness Month (#BHAM)? This month has been part of the Boston-based Bisexual Resource Center’s annual programming around health and wellness of bi+ populations for several years now, but this year’s theme, bisexual+youth, lends itself to the topics that YTH tackles every day.

Here are 5 things to know about bisexual health during this #BHAM:

  1. Bisexuals experience higher rates of sexual and intimate partner violence than gay, lesbian, and straight people, according to this Movement Advancement Project reportThe Network/La Red, a Boston organization working to support survivors of intimate partner violence, has released two resource sheets—one in English and one in Spanish—detailing the ways that bisexual identity may factor into someone’s experience of abuse or violence, and what to do about it.
  2. According to the MAP report, bisexuals report higher rates of self-reported poor health, engaging in smoking and risky drinking at higher levels than gay, lesbian, and straight populations. Additionally, compared to heterosexual and lesbian women, bisexual women have the highest rates of combining substance/alcohol use and sex.
  3. Bisexuals also struggle with mental health concerns at higher rates than straight, gay, and lesbian individuals. According to a study done in New Mexico, bisexuals are more likely to report attempted suicide than gay and lesbian populations—and they are four times as likely as straight populations to report suicide attempts.
  4. Bi invisibility extends into healthcare: when patients don’t feel comfortable being out to healthcare providers, they are at risk of not receiving care that meets identity-specific needs. Bisexuals are roughly three times less likely to come out to their healthcare providers than gay men and lesbians. A 2013 Pew research study found that only 28 percent of bisexuals felt comfortable being open about their sexuality. Because of biphobia and bi-erasure in medical settings, it is incredibly important to advocate for inclusivity in healthcare.
  5. Bisexuality is often excluded from sexual healthcare and sexual health education, and this has negative health consequences. Any silence or stigma that accompanies this gap in education and care contributes to the disparity in HIV testing for bisexual men—a recent study shows that bisexual men are receiving less treatment than gay men, partially because of the stigma surrounding their identities.

Brianna Suslovic is a youth advocate for reproductive justice and is currently in her senior year at Harvard College. Learn more about Brianna on her website and connect with her on Twitter.

Photo via Flickr


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