September 27, 2013
This week, the White House hosted a historic roundtable discussion on the issues facing bisexual people. In the first-of-its-kind meeting, administration officials gathered activists and community members to explore the many policy concerns that are particularly relevant to bisexual individuals.
Bisexuals—the “B” in LGBT—face unique issues that are sometimes overlooked in LGBT advocacy efforts. Bisexuality refers to an individual’s attraction to more than one gender. This often includes but is not limited to an emotional, physical, or sexual attraction to both male and female-identified people, as well as people who do not identify as male or female. Bisexuals face a unique set of vulnerabilities, including being less likely to feel comfortable coming out in the workplace and increased health disparities and safety concerns. According to one study, only 35% of bisexuals are out to their co-workers compared to 60% of gay men and 62% of lesbians. Many bisexual people report feeling pressure to disguise their sexual orientation—even within the LGBT community—for fear that it will be dismissed or over-sexualized.
The bisexual community has also experienced significant health disparities, partially because research often does not focus specifically on the bisexual community. Bisexual women are especially vulnerable to many crimes that disproportionately impact women. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), bisexual women are at a disproportionately high risk for sexual violence and stalking.
Increasing visibility of bisexual people and the issues that are particularly relevant for this community is crucial. NCLR is proud that the White House is committed to prioritizing the needs of this underserved population, and we look forward to continuing to partner with the administration to elevate the voices of the entire LGBT community.