Thank you, thank you, thank you for covering this. I hope to see you linking to the study when it’s published and giving an overview of it.
Finally getting somewhere in having bi voices heard so that all queer and trans people can understand and support each other.
Glad to see this published.
I don’t identify as bisexual, however my girlfriend does.
Sick of seeing these hurtful stereotypes on my frequented forums, to the point I quit going. Hopefully this makes the areas more pleasant for myself and the actual bisexuals in this world.
Have to say I’m very skeptical about the 2 in 5 identifying as polyamarous. I’m poly and bi myself and even in my extra-queer circles it’s more like 1 in 10! Sample group sounds slightly flawed, but then they asked about identifier rather than measurable behavior which I would say is a flaw in the research. Anyone know who the author is, and if there’s a web reference?
The survey can be found via:
What’s missing from all this is that there is a perception in straight society as a whole that sexual orientation is a choice and often depicted as a “lifestyle”, the code word for choice, often used by right wing politicos to margianlise us. That’s the danger and it needs clarification. There is a lot of ignorance out there. Has anyone noticed that when it comes to a straight orientation, its never labelled as a lifestyle? That said, I’ve encountered quite a number of bisexual married men who are not out to their opposite sex spouses. How does one cope with that, living a lie in fact? It can’t be easy. Its bad enough living with discrimination being gay, so I can’t imagine what it must be like for the married, closeted bisexual. A living nightmare for some I would think.
I identify as bisexual and, I promise you, it’s the most lonely place to be. I fit in with no-one. Bi’s are seen as ‘not being able to make their minds up what they want’. I agree that we are treated with suspicion but, worse still, we are also treated with derision.
@Grant – Thanks for the link!
@Robert – Not an aspect too many people seem to think about, I’m afraid. There’s a perception amongst (the most vocal or prolific online commenters) gay people that when bi people remain with other-sex partners and are closeted, they’re choosing an easy option. As far as I can tell, being in the closet is never an easy option. It might shield you from some abuse for some time, but is the psychological toll worth it? I don’t think so.
@Kim – most of the self-identifying bi people I know are poly, which might, as you say, just reflect the fact that poly people with partners of more than one sex are more likely to be out because they have made a conscious decision to configure their relationships in a specific, culturally not accepted way which makes them very visible. I’m monogamous and out. A whole other chunk of people are closeted (as straight or gay), or might not be hooked in to a bi community (I’m not, because there’s nothing in this area for bi women or lesbians over 25, and I don’t have the time to be the person who sets up a group). I’m considering BiCon 2011 precisely so that I can get hooked in, and contribute to the diversity of bi voices.
I too wonder about the high polyamory results, as experience in the bi communtiy and LGBT community at large seems to be that much fewer people will want polyamorous relationships than monogamous ones. Polyamory *is* a lifestyle, while bisexuality is not, it’s a sexual orientation. People of different orientaitons can want poly relationships, but it seems it’s bi people who keep being seen as the poster children for them…. but overall I am pleased that surveys into our experiences and attitudes are coming to light. Any way to dispell ignorance and bullying at schools and in the workplace is good.
this is why bi ppl tend to identify as gay or straight -its just easier than trying to explain it or being forced to “defend” their position. Jake Arnott – the writer – who formerly described himself as gay – recently fell in love with a woman and came out as having always been somewhat bi but said it was just easier to call himself gay. Also means of course that many bi ppl at the straighter end of the spectrum never come out cos whats the point of putting yourself through a lot of aggro if your main attraction is to the opposite sex ? you face a disproportionate response.
I have seen many biphobic remarks on the comment pages. As well deeply hostile comments on here towards disabled people(though many were just Irish, so their opinion doesn’t really count). My fellow gay men , the offenders should be ashamed of themselves.
A person can be bisexual by orientation and polyamorous by identification but still be living in a monogamous relationship (behaviour). I am bi and poly by inclination but living with someone who is more comfortable if we’re monogamous. I’m with a different gender partner but out as queer, and continually having to remind people – “No I’m not straight”.
The high levels of bi and poly people initially responding to an online survey may reflect who is more likely to be online (younger and more socially connected).
It’s nice to read this and know I’m not alone. I’m bi and came out to myself at 19, have been coming out to others recently (at 37). Interestingly the reaction I’ve gotten from friends I’ve come out to as bisexual has been “I’m not surprised.” I’ve never really varied from ‘wanting both’ and it’s very difficult to explain to people who don’t understand and who want you to choose. Not polyamorous but only because my partner doesn’t want me to be. I’m happy to be who I am and it was definitely reassuring to read that my feelings were pretty bi-typical. Thanks for this.
The survey also found that transgender people are seen as most accepting of bisexuals.
D’aww, those guys… ;)
To be honest, I’ve always felt a certain affinity for transgendered people. Kinda like their experience of the fluidity of gender and our experience of the fluidity of sexuality gave us a sort of connection.
Presumably that’s what it is. The feeling of being stuck in the middle is the shared feeling of bis and transgenders/intersexed. Of any two different groups, we two must be the most capable of understanding each without having to experience life in each other’s shoes.
nice. true i recon in the work place there would be far less awareness of bisexuality and therefore blankness or misunderstanding and disbelief than in other environments.
At the moment I’m still a student and young people are being exposed to more information and a wide variety of people at university and very educated lgbt groups make being bi pretty easy at uni. I’m a bit surprised by the polyamorous result. i do believe thats a chosen lifestyle not a natural sexual orientation and that being bi should not be associated with it as it is understandable why it can be seen as cheating or unloyal but bisexuality is just as natural as homosexuality and most i have met are monogamous including myself.