Bisexual Women’s Mental Health Remains Poor, So What Do We Do?

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In familiar and horrible news, bi women in the UK experience worse mental health than straight women and lesbians. Based on responses from 5,700 lesbian and bisexual women surveyed in 2007, bisexual women had worse outcomes than lesbians in most categories, according to a new study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published in the Journal of Public Health.

Bi women were 64 percent more likely to report a problem with disordered eating and 37 percent more likely to have self-harmed compared to lesbians. They were also more depressed and more anxious, less likely to be out to friends and family, and less likely to be in relationships.

Only 16 percent of the sample identified themselves as bisexual, although other studies have shown numbers of UK bisexual and lesbian women to be about equal. That may be because bi women are ashamed to report their identity — a shame that leads to further mental health problems, the study authors note.

“These disturbing results echo international findings on mental health differences between bisexual and homosexual people,” said Lisa College, the study’s lead author. “Although non-heterosexual women as a group have far poorer mental health than heterosexual women, bisexual women report even worse mental distress than lesbians. All women deserve equal chances of mental wellbeing and happiness, regardless of their sexuality. Homophobic prejudice is now widely and rightly condemned; specific stigma around bisexual identity needs to be similarly confronted.”

As we’ve reported, bisexuals struggle with physical health problems at higher rates than gays and lesbians, too.

via the Bi Resource Center

via the Bi Resource Center’s Bisexual Health Awareness Month, held in March

The press release on the UK study also notes that 10 years ago, bisexual and lesbian women had similar rates of mental health distress, and “The authors suggest that legal and social changes in subsequent years (e.g. the 2004 Civil Partnership Act, and improvements in public attitudes towards lesbian and gay people) may have benefitted lesbian women more than bisexual women. The 2012 Bisexuality Report highlights ongoing prejudice against UK bisexual people.”

Put another way, the fact that bisexuals are invisible in the equality narrative and often not considered while pushing policy efforts means we’re not benefitting from those efforts as much as our lesbian counterparts.

A study like this comes out a couple times a year and it can get exhausting to constantly realize how rocky the landscape is for bi women — a combination of poor mental health outcomes, shame, lack of resources and overt social prejudice and erasure look massively overwhelming.

But the first step is talking about it — studies like this are vital, even if they all say the same depressing thing, because they force people to confront the real impacts of biphobia and discrimination.

Last year’s LGBT MAP report “Understanding Issues Facing Bisexual Americans” highlights some suggestions for improving these outcomes. One key solution is bisexual competence training for healthcare providers — for example, therapists need to learn that bisexual patients may have very different experiences than gay and lesbian ones. Researchers looking at LGB issues need to investigate and report more precisely to raise awareness for the distinct needs of each group for the benefit of all groups and the community as a whole. They should also avoid conflating sexuality and gender identity.

Another necessary step is creating more bi-specific resources and projects within larger LGBT organizations and as stand alone initiatives to improve visibility, access and understanding about and within the bi community, and existing organizations and researchers need additional support from LGBT funders.

“We need to have executive directors who have the autonomy of being salaried by their organizations,” said bisexual advocate Estraven Le Guin. “It is so ironic that we have such high poverty levels and we can’t even pay the folks who are doing the work for us, they have to have other jobs on the side. ”

2014 was a big year for bisexuals. Bisexual celebrities were louder than ever — who can forget Anna Paquin’s perfect, side-eye-filled rebuttal to Larry King’s dumb questions? We celebrated the first ever Bisexual Awareness Week, the first ever Bisexual Health Awareness Month, Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra gave us an animated bi couple to cheer for, and bisexuality became a mainstream topic after the New York Times Magazine article that shall not be linked revived the public conversation about whether bisexuality exists (hint: it does).

Let’s make 2015 even better. We need more funding for organizations like BiNet USA, Bisexual Resource Center and BiUK, some of the only groups dedicated to providing resources for bisexual people, and LGBT organizations need to dedicate more resources to bisexual people and our specific challenges. The media should stop questioning bisexuality’s existence and instead address our stories with compassion. Bi women deserve physical and mental health care that responds to their needs so we can make statistics like those in the UK study and so many others a thing of the past.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

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Adrian is a writer, a Texan and a Presbyterian pastor. They write about bisexuality, gender, religion, politics, music and a whole lot of feelings at Autostraddle and wherever fine words are sold. They have a dog named after Alison Bechdel. Follow Adrian on Twitter @adrianwhitetx.

Adrian has written 153 articles for us.


  1. Thank you for this article, Audrey!

    I’ve often wondered to what extent my (often poor) mental health is linked to my bisexuality.
    Also, I’m so glad you said that “therapists need to learn that bisexual patients may have very different experiences than gay and lesbian ones.” Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find one.

    • Same here. I should have immediately fired the therapist who asked me if I could ever be satisfied only having sex with women, as I’m married to one… but I was too desperate for help. (I found a much better therapist later!) That experience was so humiliating.

      • Yeah, I also had a therapist who seemed to view my sexuality as a sign that I just didn’t know what I wanted. She made similar comments about the fact that I dated a trans woman (whom I guess she viewed as somewhere in between male and female?). I stopped working with her when it became clear that she didn’t understand or respect my identity or the identity of other people I dicussed with her. Thankfully I found a better therapist as well.

  2. Funny how you can grow up feeling neither here nor there, depressed for seemingly no reason, and chalk it up to being emo. I think bisexual women often tell ourselves we should just buck up because at least we get to blend in, and having “passing privilege.” And then you look at the hard facts and some things fall into place and you find a magical universe called Autostraddle and you don’t feel like such a loner. And yeah maybe i’m still a lil’ emo, but it’s places like this and people like y’all that make shit sparkle.

  3. Did I understand correctly – 10 years ago the mental health of lesbians and bisexuals was the same and now only bisexual mental health has stayed on the worse level?

    If so, this is HUGE news.

    On a more general note, for me the main problem of the discussion is that it is almost always automatically assumed that bisexual (pan, etc.) women are in relationships with men (hence the bullshit of “passing priviledge”). Personally, as a pan person with a wife, I face both all the shit of homophobia AND all (well not all, but definetly a lot) of biphobia.

    No wonder people go mad.

    Excuse my language, I am MAD.

  4. Thankyou, for writing about this. How we’re perceived/affected by (surprisingly common) underlying stereotypes continues to be soso disheartening. Though at the same time, I’m commenting in a place where I never feel the need to prove that I exist. I don’t need to address the idea that, “Ohh, nono, you’re not bisexual, you’re just [insert frustrating trope here].” Autostraddle is such a relief.

    Anyway. Thanks, is what I mean to say, beneath the tangent.

    • Look at these comments

      Aren’t they neat

      Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?

      Wouldn’t you think I’m the bi,

      The bi who has everything?

      No seriously, could a discussion like this ever be complete without a defensive biphobic comment denying reality?

    • A bi person being in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex does not make it a heterosexual relationship. This is exactly the kind of ignorant comment we have to deal with from people who should be our allies.

      • Um, how is it not a heterosexual relationship? Like…opposite sexes = heterosexual. That’s LITERALLY the definition. Your sexuality might not be heterosexual but your relationship is. Just like if I was dating a bi girl, the relationship would be homosexual because we’re the same sex.
        I think you can talk about oppression without denying the privileges that come with being in a heterosexual relationship. And there are (SURPRISE!) so many privileges. You can get legally married in any state or country you please, you can do all the PDA you want to without getting yelled horrible things at you, procreation isn’t so much of a chore and you can adopt so much more easily, you can walk into a church with your kids and not get glared at or ignored or asked to leave, you don’t have to think too hard about bringing your significant other to work functions or introducing them to friends/work people/etc, your parents won’t flip shit and disown you for dating/marrying your significant other, your marriage is seen as legitimate, your relationship is seen as legitimate, you don’t have to mess with the legal issues of making sure that the children you have together are recognized as BOTH of your children, you don’t have to deal with stupid questions from people about which one of you is the kid’s REAL parent, no one asks you how you have sex, no one asks you which one of you is the man, I could go on and on and on and on here.

        Not every bisexual person has those privileges. But when you’re in a relationship with a person of the opposite sex, you sure as hell do, and to deny that, and to deny that it’s somehow fundamentally different than other heterosexual relationships is just insulting to those of us who can’t access those privileges. It’s not biphobic…it’s just the way society works. I know, sucks, huh.

        • You make real points about legislative or social privileges that *some* bi people sometimes have (and can have revoked at a moment’s notice).

          These are, unfortunately, not enough to keep us sane. We’re not arguing about the same things here.

        • That’s true, actually – when I’m in a relationship with someone of the “opposite” sex, I don’t have to deal with those things (that I do have to deal with when I’m in a relationship with someone of the “same” sex.)

          The thing is, when I’m in a “straight” relationship, it IS fundamentally different from when two heterosexual people are dating each other. Because I’m not heterosexual, never have been, and never will be. Which is why I’m uncomfortable calling that relationship a heterosexual relationship – although it is between two different sexes, at least one of the parties in the relationship isn’t heterosexual.

          So, essentially, I’m not straight, but passing as straight, and NOT by choice. Here are some of the things that go along with that: being really, incredibly alienated by people making wrong assumptions about my sexual orientation and my place in society ALL THE TIME. Knowing that if I were to be in love with someone different, all of those randomly conferred societal bonuses would instantly vanish AND I’d still be really, incredibly alienated by people making wrong assumptions about my sexual orientation and my place in society ALL THE TIME. On one hand, I feel that I have a pretty unique perspective on society’s views of sexual orientation – because I know what it’s like to have people treat me like I’m straight and like I’m gay.

          What I don’t get out of that: people seeing me for who I actually am, basically ever. That might sound fluffy compared to things like marriage and taxation and adoption. I assure you it’s not. Plus, my partner is female, so I’m on the wrong side of all that stuff anyway! Hooray!

          So I get the wrong side of homophobic comments and the wrong side of heterophobic comments and a special side dish of biphobic comments all my own. For instance – and I say this gently – “when you’re dating a man, you may as well be straight, right?” Actually, no. The legal bonuses I get come with a healthy side portion of cognitive dissonance.

          And note that this isn’t a study about, I don’t know, how easy it is for bisexual people to move through society. It’s a study about mental health. And cognitive dissonance, not being seen for who you actually are like ever, and (sorry for the snark but) feeling constantly compelled to write comments like this is not so good for my brain.

          tl;dr: I would gently suggest that an article about the poor mental health of bisexual women as compared to lesbians is NOT the place to write a comment about how bisexual women discussing their not being straight is “just insulting to those of us who can’t access those privileges.” This article is about something completely different.

          • Yeah, that. My relationship is not a heterosexual relationship because neither of the people in it are heterosexual. Just like I completed the lesbian sex survey because it specifically stated afterwards that it was for all female-identified people who sleep with female-identified people, even though it felt a little squicky. I certainly wouldn’t have if it hadn’t had that disclaimer- my sex isn’t lesbian, because I’m not a lesbian, by any reasonable definition.

          • I was responding to people being aggravated about other people calling their relationships heterosexual. I feel like that denial is dismissive and doesn’t acknowledge privilege. I wasn’t responding to the article.’
            I use this analogy a lot, but I think it works here, too. I am multiracial and pretty darn white passing. When someone calls me out on my passing privilege, I should not answer “but I’m not white! How dare you!” It’s beside the point. The point is that I walk through society being read as white. My ethnic makeup isn’t all that important when I, a white looking kid with a European last name, am interacting with cops. Or walking down the street. Or going across the border. Etc etc etc Do I sometimes hate that my ethnic background is erased? Of course I do.
            In the same vein, I pass for straight in public 100% of the time, even when I’m with my significant other.
            But yeah, I was responding to the comments that I replied to, not the article.

          • I understand where you’re coming from, but I feel uncomfortable with my relationships being described as heterosexual or lesbian because I’m neither one of those things. That doesn’t mean I’m not aware that if I’m dating a man, society throws me bones that I don’t get when I’m dating a woman. It’s the word itself that I feel doesn’t apply to me.

          • Also, I think this conversation could be important to have, but it does feel like a major derail from the topic of bisexual women’s mental health. So maybe we (including I) should go back to that, and not turn this into another bisexuality-free-for-all debate. Sorry to throw fuel on that.

        • Thank you! I only brought it up because 2 people put the term in scare quotes as though it weren’t an actual thing.

          I feel increasingly that I’m not welcome to voice my opinion in queer spaces as a lesbian. I didn’t say that bisexual women don’t face oppression under patriarchy just that if they are in heterosexual relationships (not that they are heterosexual!) that they do receive social privileges that lesbians will never receive. If we’re going to get anywhere we have to be able to listen to EVERYONE.

          • Actually, although my sexuality is non-monosexual, it does not allow for a heterosexual relationship. (Hint: I am also not cis).

            Your framing of the problem is faulty. I do not believe, and neithr do most people here, that gays or lesbians are my oppressors, even if certain individuals show themselves to be unpleasant or hostile.

            The thing about passing privilege is that it is something not all bisexuals ever experience, and not to the same degrees (think, for example, of a very butch bisexual woman). It gets brought up incessantly in a way that is not productive.

            When this study talks about mental health, it names a very recent familiar phenomenon: that if you are gay and monosexual, although your identity is shrouded in shame, repression, and other feelings, you are ‘something’. I can tell you from experience: I believed I was a lesbian from late childhood to late teens. Things were horrible, but at least I could cling to some definition of myself. Things became even worse when I discovered that I was not a lesbian. What this study is saying, and a lot of other people say from experience, is that in 2015, ‘gay’ is a recognized, if reviled, concept, whereas bisexuality is a non-concept. This can be better in certain contexts (passing privilege), but in the field of mental health, being a ‘nothing’ is even worse than being a ‘bad thing’.

        • Studies tell us that bisexual women are more likely to have poor mental health and more likely to be sexually assaulted than either straight women or lesbians. These statistics demonstrate that the passing priviledge many bisexual women experince at some point in their lives doesn’t, on average, actually make us any happier or safer. I feel like this point is being totally ignored.

          I’m not denying that some bi women have real priviledges relative to lesbians some of the time, but it’s a lot more complicated than you are making it out to be. Being a queer woman in a relationship with a man can have it’s own challenges (being cut off from the queer community, people being overtly homophobic around you because they assume you won’t mind, people not taking your sexuality seriously, your partner being threatened by your sexuality, etc.) that adversely affect bi/pan women’s mental health.

      • “A bi person being in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex does not make it a heterosexual relationship.”

        This. No matter who I date, I want it to be a queer relationship. It’s not just my identity, it’s my outlook on life and relationships.

      • If you’re in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex you’re relationship IS heterosexual. That is simply fact. Your identity can be whatever the hell you want it to be. Chickenpantsexual if that’s what you want to call it.

        But you can get married, take your spouse to the company party, have or adopt all the babies in any state, immigrate freely, and retire. You know. ALL the important things. Be real for a second.

        • I think the problem with the word “heterosexual” is it’s used more often as an identity than as a descriptor of a relationship. When you say “your relationship is heterosexual,” people will interpret that as placing an identity on them that they do not claim. Just like I don’t enjoy my relationship being called a “lesbian” or “homosexual” relationship because a) I’m not a lesbian and b) I’m genderqueer so you can’t even say we’re the same gender anyway.

          If you want to describe a relationship, using a phrase like “relationship with someone of another gender” would probably be less incendiary and more accurate.

          Also? I’ve done all those things in your list (except babies and retiring, although both could be done) with my lady partner. I admit that there’s a lot of privilege that makes that possible (living in a gay-friendly city, living in a country with Federal laws that protect same-sex/gender couples, being able to travel somewhere with legal marriage), but still. That hasn’t made me immune to dealing with some pretty homophobic and biphobic shit in my day-to-day life.

          I’d say that’s the bigger problem – even with laws in place, we’re still othered and treated as deviant.

        • This article isn’t about marriage, or company parties, or anything other than mental health.
          But thank you for illustrating part of our problem.

    • There’s so much here to unpack, and I think (to bring it back to this article) it’s entwined within the mental health of bisexual people.

      I think what needs to be distinguished here is talking about perception (passing) and the messy, complex reality we inhabit. It’s not a heterosexual relationship when the people in it are not heterosexual; it’s perceived by much of society as a heterosexual relationship, so there are certain material opportunities (in some cases benefits) that come along with it.

      I don’t want to draw analogies to what are three very different situations for people, but I feel like on a broader level there’s some utility in noting the effects of “passing” (i.e. being perceived as occupying a “higher rung” on the ladder of our white supremacist heteropatriachal capitalist society) in all their complexity.

      I think it’s possible to note that in many cases, there are potential material benefits from being perceived as white, as male, as heterosexual (even if they are as simple as less harassment and should be basic for all humans) while noting that people who experience that perception but do not embody it in their lived reality experience some heavy cognitive dissonance and other mental repercussions – leading again, back to the subject of mental health, and one possible contributing factor for why studies keep showing this trend.

      If we go back to Nicole’s recent article on OKCupid dating I think it provides a nuanced perspective to consider.

    • I think whole idea of “passing privilege” (of any kind) needs a major re-evaluation. It is a fact that when a person’s true identity is suppressed it can do a number on their mental health – so while, yes, passing can provide access to certain privileges, it also comes with serious harmful effects. And in fact, sometimes the feelings of guilt, unworthiness or disassociation that come along with the privileges can magnify this harm. So rather than characterizing passing itself as a privilege, I think it’s more useful to talk about how, for example, some bisexual people can sometimes access certain types of heterosexual privilege. However, I agree with others who have said that this particular discussion is not the most appropriate one to be having in the comments section of this particular article.

      • As I said before, as a multiracial person of color, passing privilege is 100000% a real thing. Now, “passing” as a word to describe it can be challenged, but the privilege in going through life viewed as the dominant class cannot be argued. I think you need to do some reading by people of color, who arguably understand the dynamics of what it means to pass as the oppressor class and what it means to not better than any white person, even when talking about sexuality.
        Regardless, I stand by my point that girl/guy relationships are heterosexual no matter what and to call them queer is painfully offensive and erases the history of that word completely.
        Peace out.

        • Wow. I’m not easy to offend by any means, but that last sentence you just made there was pretty offensive itself.

          • I’m not saying that bi women aren’t queer. They are. Their relationships with men, however, aren’t. At all. Ever. And yeah, to say they are is wholly offensive.

        • You don’t have the right to police my relationships or the way I experience and name queerness in them. Listen to bi women when we tell you that our relationships are queer because we’re in them no matter the gender of our partners. If that concept makes you angry, dismissive, or uncomfortable, please consider whether this article — one about how biphobia leads to dangerous mental health outcomes for bi women — is the best place to express that.

          Anyway it’s my birthday so TIME FOR CAKE. Have a good one.

          • I think you need to some reading on the history of the word queer and its usage as a slur before you go about reclaiming it for unrelated things. Like, history is a real thing. Crazy, I know. And you’re disgracing all of those people who had that word hurled at them BECAUSE OF THEIR RELATIONSHIPS. And NONE of those relationships (literally none) were cis guy/cis girl. Literally zero. None at all. You might be queer, but your relationship is not in like any sense of the word. It’s offensive because of history, which I have no control of. Sorry not sorry, yo.

        • Again thanks, I think in the lgbt community we have a huge problem with women who engage in intimate relationships with men shouting over lesbians, cis lesbians in particular. We can’t say anything without being accused of bigotry.

          • I similarly think we have a serious problem with people who aren’t bisexual shouting over bi people about our experiences.

            May we all learn to hear each other better.

          • The bigotry accusation (not that I’m making one personally) would come from not the discussion of whether bisexual people in relationships with differently-gendered

          • (Sorry, cut off)
            …people experience different kinds of social acceptance or a different experience in general from people in same gender relationships, but from repeatedly not listening to many bisexuals who are telling you over and over again that they find your policing of their relationship descriptions to be offensive. There are ways to discuss the former without resorting to your own labeling of relationships that aren’t yours, over the voices of the participants in those relationships.

        • K’idazq’eni, I think it’s sad that your rigid conception of the word queer cannot accept the myriad ways in which people embody queer identities today. We know that it was used as a slur to insult same-sex couples, but you know what? Reclaiming a word/identity means that you have the agency to define what it means for you. Also, you added that “queer” was never used for cis woman/man couples. Who said that all bi women were cis or that the men they’re with are always cis? I actually think this is the perfect place to be having this discussion because it demonstrates some of the social factors and ignorance which lead to mental health issues for bi women.

          • “I think it’s sad that your rigid conception of the word queer cannot accept the myriad ways in which people embody queer identities today.”


            Life gets complex:

            -Focusing only on the straight-passing privilege of femme bi women ignores all the butch bi women.
            -A woman who is bi could date a guy who is bi, making the claim they are heterosexual a tad strange.
            -Either partner could be trans or questioning their gender.
            -A bi woman could be in a polyamorous relationship, a situation that makes a lot of classification systems seem quaint.
            -A bi woman could have ties (through children) to another woman, while dating a man. This results in constantly having to explain to teachers, other parents, etc, that both women are the parents.
            -A bi woman could be a widow (from a relationship with another woman) and maintain close ties to their old partners extended family, meaning they will always be thought of as being a daughter-in-law even if they date a man.
            -A bi woman could have a long established position or visibility in a queer community, something she should not have to give up just because she happened to be lucky enough to fall in love.

        • K’idazq’eni,

          I think way to much time is spent arguing about identity. The fact is bisexual women are having some concerning mental health outcomes. The privilege your talking about isn’t protecting them in this case. The label or status of their relationships with whatever partner they choose doesn’t matter.

        • I think everybody on this thread can be right without anybody else on this thread having to be wrong. When I identified as bisexual and dated men, I did pass as straight when I was with that man, and there were privileges that came along with it. HEAPS of them (like not having to come out as queer to anybody, ever!). I never felt offended by having to acknowledge those privileges. Sometimes now my girlfriend and I pass as straight because she sometimes passes as male, and those situations can be awkward at best and terrifying at worst (what happens when they realize she’s not a “he”?)… it’s a very different experience. And I think it’s okay to acknowledge that? It can be true that bisexual women experience cognitive dissonance and abysmal mental health outcomes and erasure of their identity and exclusion from queer spaces and invisibility and alienation and depression AND that bisexual women, when they are in relationships with men, pass as heterosexual. (And that that passing privilege doesn’t, actually, do anything for mental health outcomes, and might even be a driving force causing such depressing mental health outcomes.) We often use “lesbian” as an adjective to describe a thing happening between two women — like “lesbian sex” can describe sex between a bisexual woman and a straight woman, and “lesbian relationship” has described every relationship I’ve been in with a woman, regardless of our specific identifiers — so why is it bad to say “heterosexual relationship” between a man and a woman, even if both or one of them is bisexual? I don’t think I’d use that word myself but I guess I’m surprised it’s become a thing. Would you also say that it’s bad to say “homosexual relationship” between a woman and a woman if one or both of them is bisexual? (this is an actual question) I think maybe the english language needs more words in it

          • As a reply to Riese – I am not in a lesbian relationship with my wife, as neither of us is a lesbian.

            I find it offensive and alienating when that is (daily) assumed.

            In my first language there is a word that means simply “a relationship between women” in one word, and that is what we are in. Not lesbian, that.

            As a comment to the wider discussion, I am also pretty surprised that in this space we are having a discussion about people having the right to define their own “pronouns”/definitions used/not used, I kind of thought that had been had already. But if it has to be had, I guess it is good to have it now.

          • What Blanche said. As mentioned before, I have no issue with discussing how a bisexual person is viewed in a relationship with a differently-gendered person versus same-. (Although article on health disparities for bisexuals probably not the place.) but as Bianca said, what’s unpleasantly surprising is “that in this space we’re having the discussion about people having the right to define their own definitions used and not used”. I expected better from autostraddle. Especially when the people on the other side of the discussion are not only ignoring our preference to have our relationships labeled as we feel they are, but *specifically* excluding our relationships from the umbrella of queerness.

          • Yup, it’s definitely the English language’s problem.

            Personally, I don’t feel comfortable describing myself or my relationships with the word “lesbian” or “heterosexual.” If some other bisexual person does, awesome! But for me those words don’t feel accurate, and they’re not the ones I’d choose.

            It seems like the argument you and others are making is about technical terminology: it’s true, two women dating is literally homosexual, same-sex, two women lovin’ each other. Ditto for heterosexual: a “different-sex” relationship. I get that, and I understand where that’s coming from.

            And if all I heard from the word “heterosexual” were “a relationship between two different sexes,” yes! Totally! Accurate! But “heterosexual” is also a word for an identity, a synonym for “straight.” As in, “heterosexual female,” meaning “a woman who only dates men.” That’s just how it is in English right now.

            So when people describe my relationships as heterosexual, lesbian, or homosexual, I don’t hear a descriptor of the sexes involved in the relationship. For me, it ties directly into the hundreds of times people have tried to fit me into a binary that doesn’t apply to me. “So you’re gay now?” “So you’re straight now?” “So you finally picked women?” “So you’re a lesbian?” “So you were just experimenting?” I’m not just spitting out clichés, these are things people say to me all the damn time.

            What would I like my relationship (with my fellow bisexual cisfemale partner) to be called? I don’t know. A same-sex relationship, I guess? A bisexual relationship (because it’s between two bisexuals)? Who knows? But “homosexual relationship” just sounds too much like “homosexual person,” and I’m not one, and neither is my partner.

            I know people who don’t use the labels I prefer aren’t actively trying to be hurtful, usually. I assume people who call genderqueer people by the wrong pronouns aren’t trying to make a point. Except, you know, when they are. Ditto for me: when people say lesbian this, heterosexual that, because they’re uncomfortable with me identifying as neither of those things. I don’t think that should be acceptable in queer community.

            And that’s also why it bothers me when EVERY TIME there’s a thread about bisexual people basically anywhere, some monosexual/lesbian women arrive to say, essentially, “But sometimes your life is easier than mine.” Yes, absolutely, society gives me straight privileges when it’s assuming I’m straight. But why assume I don’t know that? Why assume it doesn’t come with problems of its own? Why come into an article about bisexuals in order to make sure they’re talking about themselves the way they’d prefer? And why not acknowledge, especially, that sometimes THEY have privileges bisexual people DON’T have?

            Thanks for reading this essay-length comment! I’m sorry if it comes across as harsh sometimes – I’m really trying to have that not be the case, but I know it can be tough when it’s a topic that is so incendiary. (I wish my sexual orientation weren’t incendiary, but hey, so do all not-straight people.)

            And I think this would be a good time to say something that’s been on my mind for a while: would Autostraddle consider implementing a space of some kind for non-monosexual people only? It would be awesome to be able to have these conversations without the pressure of explaining myself to monosexual people every time they happen. (Sometimes is okay, if it’s genuinely helpful. It would just be nice to not have to do EVERY time.)

          • I second Aya’s request for a non-monosexual-only space. That would be awesome! And good for mental health, hey! (at least mine.)

        • K’idazq’eni – you have said in other discussions that you don’t even identify as queer. What makes you more qualified to define the word than actual queer people?

          Being queer/LGBT used to be something that almost everyone felt the need to hide. Now society has progressed to the point that many queer people embrace that identity and want it to be known and recognized regardless of the gender of their current partner. I think reasonable minds can disagree over whether it makes sense to refer to opposite sex relationships as queer, but it’s hardly “painfully offensive” for a queer person to do so. It really isn’t up to you to police how queer people define what the word means to them.

          • Because I’m classified as queer, yo. I am labeled as part of the “queer community.” Whether I like it or not. Because I’m a raging feminist lesbian. So yeah, I have the right to talk about it.
            You know who’s NOT ever classified as queer? A cis straight guy in a relationship with a bisexual woman. And it’s literally terrifying to think of letting a guy like that in my LGBTQ spaces.
            And I don’t identify as queer because it was used as a slur for so damn long and because now, in my area, it’s synonymous with bisexual/sexually fluid/pansexual/whatever and I don’t want people thinking I like dudes, even a minuscule amount. I’m a proud lesbian. So.

          • I didn’t say you didn’t have a right to talk about it or define your own relationship to the word queer. Every LGBT person has that right, since all types of LGBT people have had the word used against them historically. If you don’t like it and don’t want to use it to describe yourself, I respect that. You should not, however, talk over queer people or act like you understand their identities and relationships better than they do.

            You consistantly act like you are the only one who understands queers history as a slur. In fact, it’s common knowledge, especially among LGBTQ people, and even more particularly among people who read autostraddle (a site that often covers LGBTQ history) . We all know the word has been used as an insult, we’ve reclaimed it, and it no longer holds any negative associations for those of us who embrace it as an identity. It’s not that the people that disagree with you are ignorant, we just disagree. Lets just let everyone define their own identies and relationships for themselves as get back to tackling the real problems effecting all LGBTQ people.

          • If you understood its history even a little bit, than you wouldn’t be disrespecting that history and the elders affected by it by repurposing it (or, more to the point, appropriating it) for your relationship with a man. Like, also, it’s a little colonialist and has some elements of white supremacy all bundled up in it.
            I’ll say it one last time, you might be queer, but your relationship with a cis dude is not. Ever. Full stop. End point.
            Ugh, this conversation is infuriating. And why I don’t identify as queer, because I have NOTHING AT ALL EVER in common with a cis straight dude, even if he’s dating a bisexual woman. And if HE gets to say he’s a in a queer relationship and by default entitled to queer spaces? That literally erases YEARS of reclamation and progress. Like, this conversation is a little homophobic, among other things. Ugh.

          • I predominently date women and genderqueer people and though I’m open to falling in love with anyone I’ve never been in a relationship with a man, so thanks for all those assumptions. I shouldn’t have allowed myself to get sucked into this derailing tangent at all, but it is so infuriating that you (and a couple of other people) are using a post about bisexual women’s poor mental health to police their identities and relationships.

            My queer identity is deeply important to me, one of the most important things in my life. Many of the other bi/pan/queer women and genderqueer people who have commented feel the same way. I have been interested in LGBTQ history for many years and I have spent a great deal of time, and continue to spend time, learning about our past and our present. Thousands of LGBTQ activists before me have fought for the rights of all LGBTQ people to define their relationships in their own terms and I am incredibly greatful for their work and their sacrifices.

            But thanks for assuming that I, and most of the other queer women on this thread (many of whom are married or in long term relationships with women), are ignorant assholes who are somehow appropriating our own identities and just want to be able to bring our male partners into lesbian spaces. That is so totally and completely not what this is about. If you need women only spaces to feel safe, I respect that. All men, including the male partners of queer women, should respect that. That has absolutely nothing to do with how an individual queer person defines their relationship with their partner/s.

          • That was a really powerful blog entry. Thanks for sharing, especially in light of this conversation about bisexuality and “passing privilege”.

          • Thank you for sharing so much and for the taking the time to explain your experience so eloquently. (And thank you PaperOFlowers for reading it and commenting, I rarely read things linked to in comments.)

    • As a kid I heard my mother and her friends say many times that bi women were just on the fence…that all women are either lesbians or straight. Throughout the eighties and nineties many lesbians were very cruel to bi women. (I’m not saying there wasn’t insensitivity going the other way too, but bi-erasure was pretty much the status quo).

      You may not like the narrative that the article above implies, but not liking something doesn’t disprove it.

  5. Aside from unpacking all the passing privilege stuff, I wonder how much intersectionality plays into this data? I know that many bi women are also trans and/or of color, and that also comes with its own challenges.

    • At this point given my experiences in participating in these conversations and always wanting an intersectional perspective on these issues, “bisexual passing privileges” is like the “black on black crime” throw away line when talking about racism, especially racialized violence.

      I also agree with your personal observations as they reflect my own with bi/pan poc dealing with challenges of biphobia, racism (queerness being seen as white) and accessing mental health facilities. There is a lot to account for dealing with this but I hope resources also consider problems that bi/pan poc face which would help me (other than listening and telling other monosexual people gay or straight to chill) be a better ally.

      • Agreed. As much as I feel that there is more to the story with the stats, I didn’t think the whole discussion about privilege (as much as it’s needed someday), was apt. Not all bi women are in an opposite sex relationship or enjoy “passing privilege”.

  6. Here we go, putting this comment in the CORRECT location because I know how tabs work:

    I think this article is great and this research is really necessary and good. And h/t to Aya for some fantastic comments above.

    However, I am a little frustrated that asexual people are systematically left out of studies, especially ones like this. I understand that we’re a small group and unless you’re conducting internet surveys, it might be hard to get enough data to be statistically significant, but sexuality researchers, do better.

  7. The benefits of passing privilege and negatives of bi-erasure can exist at the same time. Yes, there is societal approval associated with having a opposite sex relationship. And bisexual women have worse mental health than lesbians. Poor mental health is a really important barrier to a healthy happy life. I would place mental health in equal importance to marriage rights. If for no other reason, it can effect you for a lifetime across multiple domains in life. You choose to marry, you don’t choose to be bisexual.

    Also, biracial and multicultural people have been found to have negative outcomes attached to identity and self-concept. From my understanding some of it is associated to difficulty with cognitive dissonance. It is not universally great to pass.

  8. Those commenters questioning if/when/whether or not bisexuals even have it bad – and if/when/whether or not bisexuals are queer? Thanks for effectively driving home the article’s point.

    You know what else? I’ve been out as bi for over 25 years, and the song has remained the same. Either we don’t exist, or we only exist as untrustworthy filthy cheating disease vectors who will bang anything with a pulse and leave a [gender] for [another gender], thereby betraying an entire community…OR we’re just not good enough for a particular community to begin with. Regardless, other people feel totally free to define us on THEIR terms instead of OUR OWN. These tropes – whether in pop culture or in the media or in in-person or online discussions – have barely changed since 1990. On top of it, we have to come out to everyone we date – or risk all the troubles that can come along with being closeted. Plus try getting empathetic, non-assumption-based health care (mental health or otherwise). It’s exhausting! No wonder we have more mental health problems than other populations.

    • That said: I love who I am and how I am, and wouldn’t be any other way. Haters go bye-bye!

      • ‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
        And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
        Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
        I shake it off, I shake it off

        omg this song has been stuck in my head for days.

        Thanks for your experienced perspective and fed-uppedness. :)

  9. What’s the basis for speaking of a “first ever” Bisexual Awareness Week? Temple University had one of those back in 2002.

    • If you click on the link in the article, it takes you here, where it describes the first ever national Bi Awareness Week. I’m sure many colleges and university and local LGBT orgs have had some iteration of a bi awareness day or event before. And Bi Visibility Day/Celebrate Bisexuality Day has been around since 1999. But 2014 was the first nationally-celebrated Bi Awareness Week.


      • I had followed the link, and found nothing in that article saying who declared BAW. Perhaps the author expects you to infer that the groups mentioned did, but she doesn’t say this. Still less does she say that these groups are the only ones behind it. This sort of thing is of interest, since the number and breadth of organizations behind such an initiative is one measure of how much progress has been made.

  10. Audrey, I just wanted you to know that your reporting in Autostraddle on the health and psychological issues faced specifically by bisexual people led me to identify as bi for the first time, at 30 years old. It was a term I never wanted to use before, because I found it ugly and awkward and that it sounded like some kind of disorder.


    Your reporting has made me realize, finally, why it’s so important for me to claim that word, and how much of a better time I could have been having for the last ten years if I had just claimed that word as my own and worn it proudly. How much pain and confusion and awkwardness I could have avoided. How many great relationships I might have had with people I sometimes still think about, if I had just had the confidence in who I was!

    So, what I want to say most of all is, rock on, girl. You’re making life better for all of us, and probably saving many 20 year olds from the confused 20s I had.

    Big love from Calgary, Canada.

  11. “90% of people we know are profoundly uncomfortable with our relationship.”

    This is what my boyfriend said to me a couple of days ago. It was the first time he’d said anything like it. He is a straight cis male. I am cis female, and we are in a long-term happy and stable monogamous relationship.

    I not straight – this is something I have known forever but have not been able to articulate. I am bi. I have always been attracted to women but never really had the words for it. I am “out” to my boyfriend, and one other friend and that’s pretty much it although I do throw things out there, people don’t really take it seriously as me being bi – they know I have very little experience with women.

    Neither of us is part of the LGBTI community, nor ever has been. The only exception is me online on sites like the fabulous Autostraddle.

    “90% of people we know are profoundly uncomfortable with our relationship.”

    Despite the fact that barely anyone knows I am bi.
    The one friend who I have mentioned it too thinks it a bit of a joke and likes to refer to me being as “[my boyfriend’s] lesbian girlfriend”. Disrespectful from a range of angles.

    “90% of people we know are profoundly uncomfortable with our relationship.”

    Our relationship DOES function very differently to the vast vast majority of hetero relationships around us. And it obviously shows. I’m thinking about a range of angles including: gender roles, feelings about marriage, children, commitment, expectations, freedom, girlfriend/boyfriend roles, etc. It is hard to define, but the package of the way we function as a couple suggests to people that something is… not what is expected… and it makes them uncomfortable.

    And yet we are clearly in a long-term happy and stable monogamous relationship.

    For all the people saying that a bisexual women in a relationship with a man equals a heterosexual relationship…

    “90% of people we know are profoundly uncomfortable with our relationship.”

      • This was meant for my comment, gah!

        Anyway, YES!!! People are just uncomfortable and it’s frustrating because they cannot wrap their minds about having the potential to like/love people from different genders.

        I knew a “heterosexual” couple except both the guy and girl are bi and they had the queerest relationship that I swear I saw glitter appear upon impact when they would high-five each other. They had the nerve to leave me and move to Berlin, I miss them so much.

    • With all due respect, being in an opposite-sex couple that doesn’t subscribe to traditional gender roles, and having people be weird about that, is different than the discrimination you experience in a same sex relationship.

      • – And being in a same-sex relationship in Philadelphia is different than being in one in Mobile Alabama.

        – I think you are pointing to a false equivalence in Jo’s post that they didn’t attempt to draw.

        – Do we really wanna start describing the queerness of ourselves or our relationships by the amount of vile bullshit we have to deal with from the outside?

        – *bangs head against wall*

      • Absolutely, I never argued the opposite.

        You know we are talking about two different things here right?

      • SJ, what I am trying to get at here is
        1) we don’t fit into the gay community and from what I am hearing here we wouldn’t be welcome by many even if we tried. That isn’t a complaint, it’s fact.
        2) we don’t fit into the hetero community either, our relationship makes heteros “profoundly uncomfortable.”

        I am explicitly showing this as it is relevant to the article’s content on bisexuality and low outcomes in terms of mental health.

        The discrimination same sex couples face is a very sad fact, but that is not what we are discussing here.

        Your hijacking my post with a competition of who is most discriminated against is sad. In all honesty I am sure you would probably win. I am sure you probably suffer more from overt discrimination than me. And I am sorry that you do suffer from discrimination.

        But that is not what is up for discussion. What is relevant is WHERE bisexual people and their relationships fit in and are accepted, and the moment it is being very clearly shown that they often aren’t accepted for what they are, even in an Autostraddle thread.

    • This comment, wow. You articulate so well my own situation. It is so heartening to read this because I’ve never met anyone in a relationship like mine and with whom I can share my specific experiences and feelings. I have plenty of lesbian and gay friends and consider myself part of the LGBTQ community in mind and action, but I often feel invisible. Some people within the community treat me as if I don’t have “queer cred” because I’m in an outwardly hetero relationship, but does that erase my desire for women, my past relationships with women, my refusal to conform to heteronorms? I’m “out” to everyone in my closest circle, but being “out” hasn’t brought with it the feeling of freedom and acceptance I expected. It’s hurtful and confusing to not be accepted by people with whom I feel kinship but who suspect that kinship is fraudulent and treat me as such–like a pretender or intruder.

  12. It is a shame that this post has been derailed to the point where people are actively calling for mods to step in. Instead of working together as a community to, you know, address the issues presented in this report we are instead infighting. It is important to note that many of the issues bisexuals face are also faced by many members of the wider LGBTQI community and therefore if we start address them then there should be flow on effects for the community as a whole.

    For example, in Sydney you can easily find links to a list of ‘gay friendly’ GPs. So therefore one way of addressing some of the issues listed could be renaming the list to something more inclusive so that people who identify as something other than ‘gay’ knows that the list also applies to them (Obviously making sure that the list contains people who are actually friendly).

    Lastly just on a technical note the paper is actually based on 2007 data so I guess The Bisexuality Report published in 2012 could been seen as more representative regarding the current situation. Despite this, it is apparent that there obviously needs to be more work done. For those who wish to read the 2015 paper, a free online copy can be found here

    You can also find a copy of a 2014 report on Sydney women’s sexual health here
    . This report addresses Bisexual, Lesbian and Queer identified women and raises similar issues and concerns found the UK surveys.

  13. I have one serious question, can a bisexual/pan person live? I mean goddamn this is a post about the mental health of people who identify as bi/pan and we want to talk about their merits of being “truly queer” or “queer enough”?

    I’m pretty sure that bi/pan people are fully aware about how their relationships are perceived and “passing” is an issue. Passing is something some can take or leave (which comes with a lot of privilege) and others it is a means of survival. The social privileges that bi/pan can get does not always mean that they are chilling with margaritas a top of some privilege mountain looking down at monosexual gay people saying, “Haaaa, I can have my cake and eat it too bitches!” and do the bisexual electric slide. No.

    I met a couple that almost had that life going for them but honestly I could not be mad at them because there are things I probably do with my relative privileges (like being cis and really good-looking) that might look I have it easy or something. We are all trying to live and make sense of everything.

    Anyway, I have so many feelings about this that I’m just going to list them and hope they make sense.

    1) Bi/pan separate groups have existed but I think it is really needed because in our modern LGBT movement there has been this single narrative that only seems center cis white gay dudes and everyone is being left behind.

    2) Community, I think the needs and the expectations of community especially in a community as diverse as the LGBT have some serious major failings when it comes to addressing the issues of bi/pan people. The way things are framed when discussing heterosexism is so dichotomous that I feel that the thoughts and feelings of bi/pan are ignored with “but, either, or,” when it should be “with, plus, this too gurrl!”

    3) I understand the need to conceptualize and compare people’s problems as an exercise of empathy but I think it is time we really look at our differences and see them as valid and worthy of respect to try to understand them. I’ve gone much farther in understanding by looking at people’s differences and seeing that their concerns are valid.

    Which is why…YOU HAVE TO LET BI/PAN PEOPLE SPEAK. It does not make sense that people who are not bi/pan assign, label and pretty much take over the conversation regarding bi/pan issues, what? Reading some of the comments I felt like I was taking some crazy pills.

    4) I’m pretty sure that people honestly do not know what bisexuality/pansexuality is or means and not knowing adds to these myths that are so harmful to the safety and mental health of bi/pan people. I read a study about how a lot of the dehumanization of POC started by attributing crazy myths about them (Black people having super strength thus being suitable for hard labor/slavery and First Nations people having “mystical powers,” I needed a drink after reading about it). Myths are not good and we all need to work on de-mystifying bi/pan people.

    It seems obvious (to me) but when I see this post being derailed because someone has to say, “BISEXUAL PEOPLE HAVE HETEROSEXUAL PRIVILEGE!!!” My head hurts and it’s exhausting to read it. It’s honestly exhausting and I can fully understand how draining it can be because this is not unique to bi/pan people and it’s a cop out to dismiss their concerns. This exhaustion is multiplied incredibly by bi/pan who actually live this everyday in all the spaces because it always something when bi/pan people want to voice their concerns.

    So thank you Audrey and those who participated with their personal stories to show that you do exist and deserve respect. I’m usually all jokes but this is serious and a call to action to make sure everyone under the LGBT are accounted for, cared for and loved.


  14. I’m surprised and disappointed that nobody else seems to have noticed that the study (the full text of which is available online: says that their bisexual respondents were more likely to be young, poor, disabled, trans and from an ethnic minority than lesbian respondents and that this might have an impact on poorer mental health?

    It also says that lesbian respondents were slightly more likely to have been victims of domestic violence – which goes against findings of several other studies which show the contrary.

    • bisexual respondents were more likely to be young, poor, disabled, trans and from an ethnic minority than lesbian respondents and that this might have an impact on poorer mental health?

      This is exactly why I inquired earlier about intersectionality, because the study seemed to be missing some data which would’ve further explained why bisexual women were more likely to suffer from stress.

    • I noticed that, but I wasn’t sure how to bring it up without getting clobbered.

      The lack of attention to where statistics come from and how studies are carried out is of constant frustration to me. Not just here, but everywhere. We end up arguing over things that never had a basis to begin with and ignoring real issues.

      • I am not only bothered by the lack of depth in this particular study, but the fact that the this lack of depth is *never* addressed because the conversation is *always* turned towards bi women w/male partners, and the privileges that come with it. And there *are* privileges that come with being male-partnered, but I am so tired of the conversation consistently being turned to that.

        Neither side *ever* comes to an agreement, and it completely ignores other bi women who don’t fall into the male-partnered, passing-privileged prototype. I personally would love both sides to fall back and let other bi women speak for once.

  15. Just stopping by to say thank you to the incredible bi/pan people on this thread sharing their stories and all that. Also I have found big similarities in my experience with bisexuality and mental illness in that both cases people around me were often very invalidating (“you’re faking it/you just want to seem special/that’s not a real thing”) to the point that it took me years and years to understand what was going on and that i wasn’t just “pretending to be bi/mentally ill for attention”. Bi people, mentally ill people, and maybe especially bi mentally ill people are faced with so much invalidation and consequent self-doubt, please let us use the labels that make us feel comfortable and validated. Please help us make a queer community where we feel safe and valued.

  16. One of my best friends of over 11 years recently came out to me as bi. Just last week. She’s known her sexuality for awhile but because of shit like this doesn’t talk about it, yet I have lost count of how many times she was there for me when I was struggling with my own identity. I didn’t know because her marriage to a man makes her feel like she doesn’t deserve to claim a queer identity and so she never said anything. She was the 4th person I came out to because I knew she would support me, but I only found out 5 years later that we’re queer sisters.

    Fuck all of you who make her feel ashamed when she tries to claim her place amongst the rest of us here. Fuck all of you. Your behaviour is disgraceful.

    • Yeah, that ^. This thread makes me a little angry and more than a little disappointed, and that’s why.

      My ex-girlfriend, who’s still my dearest friend, doesn’t even try to be part of the queer community, because all she’s ever heard is that she and her male partners are not welcome. (Not in women-only spaces- in queer spaces.) She is a caring, loyal, beautiful, badass engineer and she makes me a better person on the regular, and y’all are totally missing out on having her in your lives, but she knows that any social group where she isn’t welcome at gatherings with her partners isn’t one she wants to be in.

      My relationship with her was a queer relationship, because we are. So is my relationship with my boyfriend (who, for the record, isn’t a “straight cis male” anyway, not that it makes one whit of difference), because we are too. So is hers with her boyfriend, if she wants it to be. So are mine with my other partners.

      The queer community can have us, all of us, as entire people which includes the relationships we form with other wonderful people, or you can have none of us, and stop pretending there’s a B in GLBT at all. Having us as split people is not an option; we’ll find healthier spaces to be in.

  17. What do you do? How do you fix it?

    Well, there is only one way to fix it. Information management and control. It’s for you. Infosec is not only for survivors stranded on nightmarish planets belonging to hardwired hostile alien lifeforms – who are best served by their personal information being made available to the mindless predatory beasts on a need-to-know basis, where the answer to whether they have a need is an automatic and firm ‘NO’. Infosec solutions are there for you too, dear human athlete of the cake and champagne consumption discipline.

    There is no such thing as bisexuality. Well, actually there is, but only if you’re in a polyamourous relationship with at least two folks of different sexes. No way out of that one – but i suspect that poly collectives aren’t the core of the problem. Anyway otherwise you’re either straight or gay – because who said the past matters? Who said past/history even exists in a way different to future? What if someone said that only the Now exists and everything else is unravelling ito a fog of Schrodinger uncertainty states at the same speed it is collapsing into a monolithic reality from an equally uncertain future? Think about it – your own empirical data about how this world operates (retcons, spin, victors writing the history) is NOT consistent with your idea of a fixed past – but it IS consistent with the quantum perspective i just explained. One can write arbitrary things precisely because they can’t be verified directly, only via evidence that is located here/now. Destroying the evidence destroys past, literally. That process is called damnatio memoriae and people have been aware of it for millenia. So in the Here-and-Now you are either straight or gay (or Whore of Babylon, a traitor to humanity and a concubine of an alien cyborg aggressor, but that’s outside the scope of the thread)

    So who are the worthless pieces of refuse you call your prospective partners and who will judge you on being bisexual? How important are they? How powerful are they? Powerful enough to hurt and reject you if they are provided information. Weak enough not to be capable of accessing your mind to take that info by force. So whatever – while you will be with them you will be gay or straight, what was before shouldn’t have a bearing on the relationship, what comes afterwards should not have a bearing on the relationship. If they feel they’re entitled to additional info they’re wrong. It is solely a matter of your trust and only your belief they have a right to know entitles them to know. No belief, no problems. And just as a toddler WILL bring harm if trusted with a gun, humans bring harm if trusted with personal records. Neither is equipped to deal with that level of responsibility.

    A secret is a terrible psychological burden to a lifeform evolved to relay true information to its pack and especially betters – in order to preserve said betters, the carriers of the best genes, from being taken down by deception or attrition. Still if a weak, intellectually average woman stranded alone on a world inhabited by sadistically inclined predators could find the strength and forge this perspective into a weapon and prevail – why not you? Even if it was developed as a solution of other, unrelated problems – why not apply this strategic doctrine to sexuality? It works, in an objective-oriented way.

    Of course it doesn’t help with ‘claiming identity’. Then it is not supposed to. It was formulated by someone who is pretty close to being able to partition her mind – and while the only ‘identity’ she will ever have on system level is the one she holds in conversation with herself – the subpartitions believe/assume whatever role/identity they are allocated to. So many peer validations on so many contradictory things, it feels awesome.

    • What the hell are you even talking about. Are you seriously claiming that people’s sexuality is solely defined by whatever partnership they’re currently in?

      This is just a whole pile of sci-fi NOPE.

        • Dude, I don’t know if ascribing an identity to this person is okay or not… So hard to tell…

          • Nope, i’m not a lunatic – sexuality does not change with partners. Sexuality also notably isn’t tattooed on your face.

            Identity otoh – there is no technical obstacle for it not to change with every mealtime, nevermind every relationship. And it does not change sexuality, not in the slightest – just modifies people’s responses to it. And it’s knowing which one to use. It’s like a sufficient knowledge of Orthodox Christianity will tell you that the correct response to the Easter ceremonial greeting of ‘Jesus has risen’ is ‘Indeed, he has risen’ rather than ‘Wow’ or ‘thank you, i already received the report’. Sufficient knowledge of the hateful filth that is humanity similarly suggests the right replies to be used.

            I was merely saying that there is no dishonesty or lying involved in identifying straight or gay over one relationship because insofar the other party is concerned you are speaking truth and insofar it’s before or after them, the info is on a need to know basis – where they obv don’t deserve an access privilege by virtue of earning the title of an ex.

            Yes it is a harsh, darkside way of dealing with people – but do they deserve anything else? Imo no. Imo they are sadistic, spoiled children incapable of adequate, sentient response – so communication for other reasons than baiting a predictable reaction is really useless. Last time it happened in our home, gf (a transsexual woman, bi) tried to communicate meaningfully with her landlady (a feminist filmmaker in London). So i have a gf kicked out on the street, dinner ruined, video games unplayed, tears, ticket expenses… Things of course got fixed/replaced – but she learned the lesson and to not question me. So yea, it’s kind of teamwork – I will visit as many divine interventions on my loved one’s enemies as needed, but she got to keep the numbers of invocation times down – because common good, practicality and resources.

            And yes you can ascribe an identity to me. This is AS so i’m obv lesbian and true believer in progressive left, affirmative action and revolution. Maybe i can throw in vegan too, as a bonus.

          • If I ever find myself visiting Canada, we’re hanging out and it will be an AS article bc it will be an amazing event*. Actually it should be a series: International Autostraddle meet ups because it’s a small queer world after all!!!

            *A-camp helps but things get in the way, like obligations and life.

  18. I really get frustrated by bisexual topics on blogs, because it gets reduced to, and centered around, cisgender bi women who are (usually cis) male-partnered and the entire comments section is reduced to a pissing contest between them and biphobic lesbians.

    I know they compose of the majority of the bi woman community, but they are not the only bi woman prototype out there. Some of us are female partnered, many of us are single, some can’t be bothered. Some can “pass” as straight, while others, such as myself are misidentified as lesbian. Really, we come in a variety pack.

    I struggled for a looooonnng time with my orientation since the day I came out @ age 19. I thought I found a home amongst the LGBT community when I came out- only to realize that I didn’t. Lesbians rejected me for being bi, or made jokes about bisexual women. I even got raged @ for something someone else did to them.

    I barely even felt *at home* with other bisexuals because majority of the time because the bi support groups I went to were full of opposite sex partnered people, who were more hetero-romantic. Most of the time, I am single and open to dating either men or women- as long as I really liked the person. This is a concept that blew people’s minds because apparently, (even according to some other bisexuals)- having a same sex relationship isn’t something that a bisexual person does.

    And for years, I got into countless fights with my mother over my identity. She pretty much blamed it on a multitude of things- youth, my asperger’s, the lack of respectable young men in the area. Told me to get some straight friends, though I had no desire. I just wanted to find people like me.

    For years, I wondered if I was bi? If maybe I was confused? If perhaps people like me existed? If maybe I was afraid to choose a side?

    A friend had suggested that I pass as a lesbian because I would’ve had an easier time finding women to date, and a community to go to. She was definitely right. It would’ve been easier to come out as lesbian for those reasons- and because people would have taken my orientation seriously. No one took me being bi seriously- and that hurt most of all.

    I refused to lie about being a lesbian though. From my mid 20s to my early 30s I just identified as hetero (or at least led people to believe I was straight). I figured if I ever did get a boyfriend, I wouldn’t tell him about my “previous life”. The majority of my straight friends do not know or understand what bisexuality was, but it was blissful compared to the internal strife caused whenever I am around other queer people. When it came to dealing with my orientation- it always brought a pain to my heart.

    It took age, meeting new friends, a loss of all f*cks, and the creation of a blog to find other folks like me (some I am still friends with to this day, though I no longer run the blog) in order to find some semblance of peace. To this day, I still don’t call myself bisexual, though. I don’t know what the right name is for my orientation. And I am not very comfortable going to lesbian or bisexual events.

    And years still haven’t calmed the biphobia down. I almost got into a fight @ Pride 2010 (NYC) because a woman cursed out the bisexual contingent I was marching with (she wasn’t the only one, though- we’ve received quite a bit of abuse down Fifth Ave., along with some cheers).

    I don’t know if my experiences caused me to suffer from depression- that was already there. But I sure remember the sadness and loneliness I felt when I couldn’t find people like me- on all ends.

  19. Thank you.

    Never feeling like you fit into a group no matter who you’re with can be exhausting. Coming out after every relationship is also exhausting.

    “I’m dating a girl. No I’m not a lesbian now. Yes I’m still bi.” “I’m dating a guy. No I’m not straight now. Yes I’m still bi.”

    If I don’t just say that I’m bi, I like to joke with friends that I’m 67% gay (as opposed to saying 33% straight). But I only feel comfortable joking like that with good friends. It seems confusing for other people.

  20. I made a donation after someone posted about your case in BiUnity’s FB group. Much success to you!

  21. Hello fellow bisexual peers,

    My name is Maricela Estrada. l and I living with bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. I’m the author of Bipolar Girl: My Psychotic Self and Beautiful Bipolar Bisexual.I am also a medical case worker for the LA County Dept of Mental Health. I love this website and article. I just found this website and will be sharing it on twitter @BipolarAuthor. I agree that bisexual people encounter struggles with mental illness and personally being bisexual used to bring me so much shame, maybe it was religion and feeling as if I was living in sin. I suffered 5 years of depression and survived a horrible suicide attempt after I came out. I struggled being accepted by my Catholic mothers and was turned away from churches. Recently I was accepted by a Catholic church and the priest has been my spiritual guide. Having faith has ultimately been the foundation of my life. My mental health recovery was through medications, therapy, support groups, support from loved ones and spirituality. There is hope for people like us,so never give up and seek help. There needs to be more awareness on the LGBTQ and mental health. Have a blessed day.

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