By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com September 23 2011 3:15 PM ET
With bisexuals saving the planet on Torchwood, bisexuals saving their necks on True Blood, and a number of celebrity hotties coming out as bi, it certainly feels a bit like we’re having a bisexual moment. But do a couple of significant studies, a handful of out celebs, and some legal rumblings roll back decades of invisibility?
Now that we’re celebrating Bisexuality Visibility Weekend, here are 10 bisexual news notes from 2011:
1. San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission releases an alarming report on bi visibility, “Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Regulations.” It’s the first time any governmental body has released such a report, and it's already having an impact all over the world. For example, we’ve heard about activists in Spain, Bolivia, and Australia using it in their efforts for more inclusion of bisexual issues, as well as here in the U.S. The LGBT advisory council for Chicago’s Human Rights Commission also voted to endorse the report.
2. The “Bisexual Invisibility” report combines research, studies, and first-person accounts to show that self-identified bisexuals make up the largest single population within the LGBT community in the United States. In each study, more women identified as bisexual than lesbian, though fewer men identified as bisexual than gay.
3. They proved it’s not a phase: A longitudinal study of sexual minority women (lesbian, bisexual, or unlabeled) found that over 10 years, “more women adopted bisexual/unlabeled identities than relinquished them.” Of those who began the study identifying as bisexual, 92% identified as bisexual or unlabeled 10 years later, and 61% those who began as unlabeled identified as bisexual or unlabeled 10 years later.
4. Sheryl Swoopes may be one of those women. After coming out as a woman in love with a woman, Swoopes quietly broke up with her longtime girlfriend Alyssa Scott and got engaged to a man. Most bloggers reacted poorly.
5. Dan Savage told bisexual activists he’s evolving. Once considered the biggest proponent of “it’s just a phase,” Savage met with bisexual leaders and by many accounts is attempting to address this bi erasure in his work.
6. The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance changes its policy to include bisexual and transgender players. A federal judge also refuses to throw out a lawsuit brought against the alliance by Stephen Apilado, LaRon Charles, and John Russ, former players who were members of the team D5, which made it to the finals of the Gay Softball World Series in 2008. The league questioned the players’ sexual orientation and then voted on whether the men were gay or nongay, in a process the men — all bisexual — say was humiliating. The National Center for Lesbian Rights is representing the men in the lawsuit.
7. A bisexual headlines a prime-time TV show. First Anna Paquin, star of HBO’s True Blood, comes out, as does her costar Rachel Evan Wood. Even bigger, NBC’s The Playboy Club casts bisexual actress Amber Heard as the star — or at least one of them.
8. Even so, the S.F. human rights report uncovers some bummer news too: Because of invisibility and biphobia, bisexuals have the highest suicide rates of any sexual orientation, experience greater health problems than the broader population, and report higher rates of hypertension and smoking, and bisexual women are at an increased risk of domestic violence.
9. It is worth noting, though, bisexuals have better orgasms. Research shows self-identified bisexual women had more orgasms per week on average than lesbian or straight women. This according to Paula Rust’s Bisexuality in the United States, a book that is 10 years old, but it’s likely the orgasms were just as plentiful in 2011. (If you have time, read her other book, Bisexuality and the Challenge to Lesbian Politics: Sex, Loyalty, and Revolution.)
10. Scientists prove bisexual men exist. Just six years after a study claiming otherwise, researchers at Northwestern University proved that men who claim to be bisexual are indeed attracted to both men and women. Another not-yet-published experiment, reportedly found that bisexual men are significantly more aroused by bisexual porn — porn showing sex between two men and one woman — than are straight or gay men.
What’d we miss? Leave us a note in the comments.