It's Bisexual Awareness Week, an annual celebratory event that advocates for the rights of bi people.
One of the key ways to do this is to fight biphobia, which is defined as the fear, intolerance, and hatred of people who identify as bisexual. For bi youth who live at the intersection of multiple identities, biphobia can be particularly harmful, compromising their mental health and safety.
Statistically, bi youth face more hurdles than even gay and lesbian peers. Nearly half of this group seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to the Trevor Project, the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ young people. Moreover, 66 percent felt sad or hopeless for two or more weeks in a row in the past year, compared to 27 percent of straight peers and 49 percent of gay peers.
Handily, the Trevor Project has released a report, "How To Support Bisexual Youth," with guidelines on how to fight against this kind of prejudice in others as well as internalized biphobia, the unexamined biases many hold about members of this demographic.
Here are four key ways to challenge assumptions about bi people from Trevor's report:
- If you assume that a person is gay or straight based on their current relationship, work to reframe your understanding that the people in that relationship could be of any gender or sexual orientation.
- Take people for their word if they share a multisexual identity with you.
- Affirm and uplift the bisexual people in your life.
- If you see or hear an example of biphobia or bi erasure, address it by sharing that bisexuality is real and valid, as well as resources to learn more about bi identities.
By multisexual identity, Trevor is referring to a range of identities that include romantic and/or sexual attraction to people of more than one gender. Queer, pansexual, fluid, omnisexual, abrosexual, and skoliosexual all fall under this umbrella.
Bi erasure, another manifestation of biphobia, is any act that denies or challenges the existence of bisexuality. Calling this identity a "phase," assuming that a same-gender couple is gay and a different-gender couple is straight, or imposing another label on a bi person are all examples.
In addition to offering advice to allies, Trevor also provided three key ways bisexual people battling bias can practice self-care:
- Finding community with other bi people who know what biphobia feels like and can offer support.
- Connecting with a support system that can accept and validate you for who you are.
- Learning more about bisexual activists and the long history of bisexual advocacy.
Read the full resource at TheTrevorProject.org/BiGuide, which covers a range of topics on bisexuality. Earlier this year, Trevor also released a guide for being an ally for trans and nonbinary youth.
Need to speak with someone? Access the 24/7 TrevorLifeline (866-488-7386), TrevorChat, and TrevorText programs, which offer LGBTQ+ young people feeling suicidal an avenue to talk.