September 22 was Bi Visibility Day – a day to raise awareness and celebrate the bisexual community.
Starting in 1999, Bi Visibility Day was launched in response to the bi-phobia experienced by many men who are told they are not actually bisexual or that they are “greedy”.
While we are moving forward when it comes to discussions on sexuality, a recent DNA news post about a rugby player who came out as bi attracted many comments that implied he’d start off bi and end up gay. These comments show we still have a long way to go.
These attitudes toward the bisexual community could have something to do with the alarming mental health statistics the community experiences. Last year, Australia’s La Trobe University in partnership with Bi+ Australia published a study called Who Am I to shine a light on these statistics.
Interviewing over 2,600 bisexual people across Australia, the study found that one in four had attempted suicide, almost 80 percent considered self-harm or taking their own life, and 40 percent had experienced depression.
La Trobe’s Julia Taylor said in a statement the study proved that further support was needed to improve the mental health of bisexual people.
“Attraction to more than one gender is very common among Australian adults and most health practitioners are unaware of the very poor mental health associated with this group,” Taylor said.
“While there’s been an increased focus on lesbian and gay health in recent years, a substantial gap in knowledge specifically on bisexual health needs still remains,” Taylor added.
Taylor also said she hoped the study would bridge a gap in understanding of bisexual mental health for GPs and health professionals.
“The findings have given a unique insight into what challenging life experiences bisexual people are going through and how this is impacting their mental health,” Taylor said. “This study from La Trobe, along with the organisation Bi+ Australia, is making a real impact in enhancing the understanding, acceptance, inclusion and celebration of bisexuality in Australia, and hopefully the world,” Taylor said.