This month we observe Bisexual Health Awareness Month. While we know that Sexual violence affects every demographic and every community, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it shows that bisexual women experience significantly higher rates of rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner compared to both lesbians and heterosexual women.
This finding not only sheds light on this unconscionable social problem but also illustrates the critical need for bisexual inclusion in health research. That is why we’re celebrating #BiHealthMonth by following Bisexual Resource Center campaign reflecting on the past and shaping the future! Below is a guide that our friends at BRC shared with us on how to be a good ally to a bi+ person:
How to be an Ally to a Bi+ Person
By Gabrielle Blonder
Allies (like you!) are a vital asset to our community.
By taking the time to read up on your bi+ friends and family members/neighbors, you are beginning to give us invaluable aid against biphobia and bi+ erasure.
The umbrella of non-monosexuality encompasses many labels: bisexual, pansexual, queer, hetero- or homoflexible, fluid, and the list goes on! Whatever label the person you care about chooses to use, the meaning is the same: you’re speaking with a person
capable of loving, or being attracted to, humans of more than one gender.
But how can I really dig in and help, you may ask? Well ask no further, because we’ve compiled some handy steps for you to be the raddest ally you can possibly be.
Believe that we exist.
Believe that sexuality is a spectrum which allows for attraction across many variants, including gender. Just as a monosexual person can fall for people of differing hair or eye colors, a bi+ person has the potential to fall for people of many different genders.
Accept our sexual identities without reservation.
It doesn’t matter what our “count” is with any gender, whether we’re currently in monogamous relationships, or even whether we have no interest in dating. Accept that we know where our attractions lie.
Respect our relationships equally, whatever style we choose.
Bi+ individuals are no more or less likely to abide by any particular kind of relationship dynamic. Some of us are ethically nonmonogamous for a variety of reasons. Many of us are monogamous, and happily partnered with one person of any gender. Our identities don’t change based on the identity of our partners –we are just as bi+ in any relationship!
Speak out against biphobia and bi+ erasure in your everyday life.
You can recognize biphobia in the form of active put-downs, such as making negative comments regarding bisexuals; or bi+ erasure in the form of passive exclusion, such as referring to only the “gay and lesbian” groups assisted by LGBT+ organizations. We appreciate your support more than you know!
Celebrate our bi+ culture!
It includes many outspoken voices, such as Freddie Mercury, Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf, and Miley Cyrus. Keep in mind that celebrities are just as susceptible to bi+ erasure as the rest of us. Too often, celebrities who come out as non-monosexual are rewritten as gay or “experimenting.”
Accept our choice of label, as well as the wide variety of non-monosexual labels.
Whether we identify as bisexual, pansexual, queer, or heteroflexible, to name a few, it’s no more or less legitimate than any of the others. We’re all united under the same umbrella of non-monosexuality, and our personal labels are valid. Bisexuality can be misinterpreted as a transphobic identity. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Bisexuality, in our minds, is defined as the ability to be attracted to both genders like yours and genders different from yours.
Look into some of the resources mentioned in this, and other, BRC pamphlets. Some bi+ people might love answering questions and discussing their sexual orientation, but the conversation will be much more enjoyable (for everyone) with some background knowledge.
Remember that, as with any group, one person cannot be representative of all.
Not every bi+ person wants or needs the same type of support. Ask – and listen to – how you can be the best ally possible for each specific person!
This resource was originally published in the Bisexual Resource Center's website.