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Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

Special Discussion: Being a part of the bisexual community

Throughout June and July we have been continuing the topics of Sexuality and Gender, starting with a Special Discussion on Sexuality here! 

a man wearing a rainbow lgbtqi flag and a woman wearing a bisexual pink purple blue flag walking

 

We started by speaking about what sexuality is, why it is okay to question your sexuality and what you can do about it. We heard videos from Gwyn and Helen about their experience of exploring their sexuality, and held a discussion with our community about the key takeaways from their stories (check out the community's key messages here).

 

We then spoke about questioning sexuality, what that journey means and discussed what that journey looks like for members of the ReachOut community. Lastly, we looked at coming out and having a conversation about sexuality, support services you can access and what it means to make a safe space for someone to come to you to talk about sexuality. 

 

This week we are going to be continuing the conversation on sexuality, talking about bisexuality

 

To start this discussion, we will hear from another young person, Grace, who courageously and generously shared her story of coming out to her family and friends, and some of her top tips for others who may be thinking of starting a conversation about sexuality.

 

 

This special discussion on Bisexuality will talk about:

  1. What bisexuality is and what the key facts are
  2. Dealing with bierasure and biphobia
  3. Being a part of the LGBTQIA family, and finding safe and supportive spaces to share your sexuality

We will be posting activities and discussion questions over the next two weeks, and lots of resources, so comment below or high five this post for updates!

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Check out our community activities calendar for September 2019 here

Re: Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

Here is our first special discussion activity! Tagging those members who high fived the post above! @Claire-RO @Tiny_leaf @WheresMySquishy 

 

Special Discussion Part 1: What is bisexuality?

 

gay lgbt GIF

 

The Bisexual Resource Centre defines bisexuality broadly as ‘people who experience physical, emotional, sexual, and romantic attraction to people of more than one gender’. The term has become an umbrella for a few different orientations, including pansexual, omnisexual and sexually fluid. Identifying as bisexual doesn’t mean you have to have sexual or romantic experiences with multiple genders – just being attracted is enough. 

 

The bisexual community faces a lot of misunderstanding – from the straight and queer communities equally. In fact, the bisexual community faces higher rates of anxiety and depression than the straight, gay and lesbian communities. Some of the misunderstandings come down to the different ways people define and understand bisexuality. There are a few myths about what it really means to be bisexual. So, let’s break them down and debunk them once and for all.

 

Debunking the myths:

  1. Bisexuality isn’t ‘just a phase’: While your sexual identity may change over the course of your life, nothing is ever ‘just a phase’. Sexual identities aren’t fixed, and changing who you’re attracted to doesn’t erase who you were before.

  2. Bisexual people aren’t 'just indecisive': Identifying as bisexual doesn’t mean you can’t decide whether you’re gay, lesbian or straight. 

  3. Bisexuality isn’t easier than being gay or lesbian: The challenges that face the bisexual community are unique, we will talk about some of the challenges later in this special discussion. But while they’re different from those faced by other parts of the queer community, they’re no better or worse.

  4. Bisexual people don’t become straight or homosexual when they’re in a relationship: If you identify as bisexual and you’re in a same-sex relationship, that doesn’t make you homosexual. The same goes for being in a heterosexual relationship: it doesn’t make you straight. You can still be bisexual either way. Your family and friends and lovers might assume your sexuality based on the gender of your partner, but those assumptions will be wrong.

The American actor Stephanie Beatriz explains: "To be bi is a continual series of coming-out moments… You’ll come out again and again and again to every person you’ll ever date…" Check out what she’s got to say here.

 

A lot of these myths come from simple misunderstandings, or from trying to fit people into neat boxes. As with most things in life, bisexuality is much more complex than that. It’s important to understand that identity and sexuality are fluid and can change at any time – so, don’t feel the need to define yourself and make it permanent.

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Activity 1:

  • These are just some of the key facts about bisexuality, are there any other key facts or things that are important to know about bisexuality? 
  • What do you want people to know about bisexuality? 
__________

Check out our community activities calendar for September 2019 here

Re: Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

These are just some of the key facts about bisexuality, are there any other key facts or things that are important to know about bisexuality? 
Some other myths I have heard or read about bisexuality:
- People who are bisexual are more likely to cheat in relationships, but there is nothing to prove this.
- Bisexuality does not really exist.
- Bisexual people are 'depraved' or greedy. This is perpetuated by works of fiction.
- Bisexual people are more likely to transmit infections.
- Bisexual people are more promiscuous than people of other sexual identities.
- Bisexual people are 50% attracted to males and 50% attracted to females.

What do you want people to know about bisexuality?
Bisexuality is a valid sexual orientation. Bisexual people are usually not looking to just have casual relationships or hookups. A lot of them want to have a serious relationship and some of them are averse to sexual experiences. There is also a lot of variation in sexuality. Some bisexual people are more attracted to a specific gender and some are attracted to all genders, including gender fluid people for example. They are not always 50% attracted to one gender.

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Re: Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

I am really looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts and gaining more insight and knowledge for myself.

 

  • These are just some of the key facts about bisexuality, are there any other key facts or things that are important to know about bisexuality? @WheresMySquishy I think you listed all the myths or key facts I had thought of.

 

  • What do you want people to know about bisexuality?

I am proud member of the queer community, but I must admit that at times I have been uneducated when it comes bisexuality, I really want use these conversations as a way to better my understanding.

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." 

- Maya Angelou

Re: Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

Special Discussion Part 2: Dealing with bi-erasure and biphobia 

 

Pride Fist.png

 

Bi erasure is the incorrect belief that bisexuality isn’t a real thing. A lot of people, from both the straight and LGBTQIA communities, can get caught up in the myths we’ve debunked above. Bisexual people can sometimes feel that when they’re in a relationship, their attraction to other genders is questioned or ignored.

 

Biphobia refers to general discrimination against anyone who is bisexual. Even though they represent the largest group within the LGBTQIA spectrum, bisexual people experience high rates of discrimination by both the straight and queer communities. This discrimination could be obvious, in the form of biphobic comments, or it may be less obvious, such as feeling you’re being left out of communities because of your partner’s gender.

 

Experiencing bi erasure and biphobia can really take its toll on your mental health. Feeling like you don’t belong, or that you’re not accepted or understood, or that you’re being treated differently because of your bisexuality is common, but that doesn’t make it okay.

If you’ve had an experience like this, and want to know how to handle it proactively, here are some tips:

  • Take time out from the situation or person who’s made you feel this way. You’re the most important person in this, so make sure you take care of your mental health. You don’t have to cop poor treatment or discrimination, so feel free to remove yourself from any situation that makes you feel bad.
  • Engage with people who understand and support you. Whether it’s family and friends, or members of the LGBTQIA community online, there are people who have your back. Let them celebrate what makes you, you. Check out our tips below for getting involved with the LGBTQIA community.
  • While it’s not your responsibility to educate the people around you, having a respectful conversation with someone who’s upset you might help. Explain, from your point of view, why what they’ve said or done is hurtful even if they didn’t intend it to be and were trying to do the right thing. Taking steps to clear up any confusion or misunderstanding may help change that person’s behaviour towards you for the better and also make you feel more understood and connected to the people around you.

 

Activity:

 

What are your top tips for managing or addressing bi-erasure or biphobia? Or, what are your top tips for supporting someone who may be facing bi-erasure or biphobia?

 

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Check out our community activities calendar for July 2019 here

Re: Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

just following along. i am a closeted bisexual but im ok with that.
**NEVER be afraid to ask for help because you're WORTH it!**

Re: Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

What are your top tips for managing or addressing bi-erasure or biphobia? Or, what are your top tips for supporting someone who may be facing bi-erasure or biphobia?
I think the main things are just reminding the other person that bisexuality is a valid orientation and that bisexual people are human too. In my experience, it is hard to change a biphobic or homophobic person's point of view. Sometimes, you just have to accept this. You can get them to respect your opinion if you tell them how you feel without accusing them or saying mean things.

I think that there things that can be done in society to improve people's opinions of bisexual people, such as media campaigns dispelling myths about bisexuality and positive depictions of bisexual characters in fiction.

Re: Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

Special Discussion Part 3: Be part of the family!

The LGBTQIA community is an amazingly supportive place to be a part of – and that includes as a bisexual person. Joining online support groups, taking part in the forums, or even heading to an IRL meet-up is a great way to feel connected and supported as you explore your sexual identity.

pride GIF

 

To feel even more connected to the wider bisexual community, why not check out the Bi+ Visibility #Bseen campaign. This campaign encourages members of the bisexual community to upload selfies with the hashtag #BeSeen – to show just how big and diverse the bisexual family really is!

 

However you choose to identify, and however you share it with the world, remember that you’re not alone. Keep exploring your sexual identity and the LGBTQIA community, and sharing your experiences with the people you love.

 

Hear stories from Young People who have found supportive spaces to be themselves and feel safe and proud!

 

Activity 3: 

Have you found spaces that provide safety and inclusivity to share your sexuality, and what are those spaces?

__________

Check out our community activities calendar for September 2019 here

Re: Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

Late to this discussion but it's better late than never, I suppose!

 

Activity 1

  • These are just some of the key facts about bisexuality, are there any other key facts or things that are important to know about bisexuality? 

@Jess1-RO and @WheresMySquishy pretty much answered every key fact about bisexuality! Another thing that I'd like to add that is kinda along the same vein as "bisexuality is just a 'phase'" is that I've heard once that bisexuality is a "trend" of late due to its increased awareness, which I found personally pretty upsetting to hear. Bisexuality has always been around, it's just now we're becoming more accepted of it - hence its increased awareness.

  • What do you want people to know about bisexuality? 

Like what @Jess1-RO has previously said: you don't need to be in relationships with multiple different genders in order to identify as bisexual! Furthermore, if you're in a straight relationship, that doesn't mean at all that your bisexuality is "cured". It really upsets me when people treat bisexuality (or any other aspects of the LGBTQ+ community) as "disease", when really it is not Smiley Sad

 

Activity 2:

What are your top tips for managing or addressing bi-erasure or biphobia? Or, what are your top tips for supporting someone who may be facing bi-erasure or biphobia?

Obviously, education is helpful in managing bi-erasure or biphobia. But, like @WheresMySquishy has previously mentioned, not everyone can be persuaded, unfortunately Smiley Sad. Also, I totally agree about having more positive depictions of bisexual characters in fiction (and LGBTQ+ characters in general)! I also would love for LGBTQ+ characters, in general, to not be treated as tokenistic characters who are solely defined by their gender identity/sexuality. I would much prefer having LGBTQ+ characters who have great and interesting personalities and it just so happens that they're LGBTQ+. You know what I mean?

 

Activity 3: 

Have you found spaces that provide safety and inclusivity to share your sexuality, and what are those spaces?

So far the only spaces that I found safe and inclusive so share my sexuality are online like here at RO, QLife and social media due to the whole comfort of anonymity thing. However, I'm currently looking into spaces at my uni that I might like to check out/join! I've also heard of support groups that meet face-to-face every now and then. However, the ones I found are located way too far away from where I live or conflict with my uni/work schedule :/. 

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Hope is just around the corner; you think it's not there when you first look straight ahead, but it actually is when you turn around

Re: Being a part of the Bisexual Community: Special Discussion

Have you found spaces that provide safety and inclusivity to share your sexuality, and what are those spaces?
I've found a lot of online groups and communities that provide a safe space for people of particular sexual identities. My university also had a place on campus for students and staff who identified as GLBTIQ to hang out and get support. There was also a social group which organised events and brought GLBTIQ students and staff together. ReachOut is an inclusive and safe space too.