The powers that be (mainly the Bisexual Resource Center) have decided that March is when we celebrate Bisexual Health Awareness Month, in addition to St. Patrick's Day (my third favorite holiday.) Let's dig in to some of the facts on bisexual health:
- Bisexual people are more likely to have considered suicide than lesbian, gay or straight people
- Bisexual women are more likely to have an eating disorder
- Bisexual people are more likely to have experienced intimate partner violence (including rape, physical violence and stalking) than gay, lesbian and straight people
- Bisexual people are less likely to be out to those closest to them
The list goes on and on...
Given these staggering, often tragic statistics, why is bisexual health awareness cause for celebration? And how exactly can we go about celebrating it? The answer lies in some of the more positive, encouraging facts, including that bisexual people make up more than half of the LGBT population, that the percentage of people who identify as bisexual is increasing, and that studies are proving the benefits of coming out as bisexual.
When we as a community are aware of the unique mental and physical health challenges that bisexual people face, we can work together to address them. As individuals, bisexual health awareness can help us get and stay healthy.
Bisexual Health Awareness Month is ending soon, so here are six practical ways you can celebrate it this week, or any time throughout the year:
- Get the facts: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Knowledge is power. You can start by scrolling #BHAM2017 on Twitter.
- Help educate others about bisexual health, including both straight and queer people.
- Help your healthcare provider learn how to be a good bisexual health ally. (Or find one who's open to doing so.) Here's a great visual summary of how they can do that, taken from BiNet's excellent Bisexual Community Issues Presentation.
- Come out to your doctor and get tested for the full spectrum of STDs. Personally, I have found, and my partners have as well, that telling doctors that I have multiple partners of multiple genders makes them more willing to provide full STD screenings.
- If it is safe for you to do so, come out in general, especially to those who are closest to you. (In case it doesn't go so well, here's a great resource from the BRC.)
- Connect with the bisexual community. Given the lack of visibility and acceptance of bisexuality, being bisexual is often a lonely and isolating experience. Connecting with fellow bisexual people can help! BiNet has put together a great map of bi groups and even something as simple as connecting with bi advocates and activists like me on Twitter can help as well.
If you have questions about bisexuality or bisexual health, or if you just need to talk, please reach out to me. Be safe, be happy and be well.
Love & Pride,