Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

Bisexual people still stigmatised when it comes to dating

Bisexual pride flag (from top): pink, purple and blue
Image: iStock

I know it’s nearly over, but I thought I would do this post in part because it’s Pride Month.

Writer and social worker, Deidre Fidge posted and article on ABC Everyday lamenting the stigma bisexual people still face.

According to the Australia Talks survey, 44% of nearly 60,000 respondents claimed they weren’t open to dating someone who’s bisexual. A further 15% claimed they were reluctant.

While you can’t control who you are (or aren’t) attracted to, this figure is quite alarming. And it does raise questions:

  • Do people automatically assume that people attracted to more than one gender will cheat?
  • Is there still stigma surrounding sexual history?
  • What sexual history do people assume bi/ poly/ pan people have?

Why LGBTQ+ people should stand by bisexual people

I believe that much of biphobia boils down to one pet peeve of mine: they’re reduced to what they ‘do’.

These stereotypes take away the humanity of LGBTQ+ people.

Sexual stereotypes that fuelled opposition to same – sex marriage for years.

That caused commentators to fear – monger about same – sex marriage leading to polygamy.

People assumed that same – sex couples can’t raise healthy children despite numerous studies saying otherwise. 

For years, asexual people have been told they’re broken or that asexuality doesn’t exist.

Transgender and non – binary people have become the new target. Basic reason? Because of people’s obsession of othering minorities and reducing them to what’s between their legs.

What’s disappointing is seeing and hearing other LGBTQ+ people go on the attack. Often, LGBTQ+ content creators and media personalities willingly throw other LGBTQ+ under the bus. Can we just make it stop?

Other issues bisexual people face

Statistically, bisexual people make up the biggest percentage of people that are LGBTQ+.

Bisexual people can experience hostility from both gay and straight people. Often, their orientation is not taken seriously. They are often pressured to ‘pick a side’. Bi women are assumed to be straight, but ‘experimenting’. Meanwhile, bi men are considered gay.

As a result of erasure and discrimination, bisexual people often experience loneliness, depression and suicidality.

Despite increase in gay and lesbian acceptance in the West, the same can’t be said for bisexual people. According to a study by Associate Professor, Brian Dodge. He told Washington Post that attitudes towards bisexuals have only improved slightly since the 1990’s.

But, won’t bisexual partners cheat?

People, regardless of gender identity or orientation can cheat.

There are a number of resons why a person may chest n a spouse or partner. They include: unmet needs, low self – esteem and the need for revenge.

Opportunity can be a risk factor. However, other factors listed above are usually at play.

So, can we put the idea that just because someone is bisexual or pansexual that they’re more likely to cheat to rest?

If you’re in Australia and this post has raised any issues, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636, or chat online.

QLife: 1800 184 527. They also have a webchat.

If you feel like you need emergency help, call 000.

As always, feel free to add support services or emergency contacts in the comments if you’re outside Australia.

Categories
News

We still need to change out attitudes to mental health

Mental health image of brain
Image: iStock

Content warning: This post briefly talks about suicide and may be distressing to some readers.

People were shocked and saddened to hear about the recent passing of fashion designer, Kate Spade and celebrity chef and media personality Alan Boudain.

There has been well – meaning outpouring of grief and awareness about mental illness.

Encouragement to get help for mental illness in the aftermath of a suicide and standing in solidarity with surviving loved ones and those struggling is great. However, it’s often not consistent. Earlier this year, ’90’s pop star, Mariah Carey came out saying she’d been suffering bipolar disorder for nearly twenty years. A number of responses on social media was that of disbelief. People accused Carey of using it as an excuse for the demise of her singing career.

Australian celebrities haven’t been free from this scrutiny. I was appalled by some of the reactions to tennis champion, Bernard Tomic when he admitted that he was struggling mentally shortly after appearing on I”m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

And that’s not all. Over the years, people with mental health issues have been mocked. There have been suggestions that mental illness has become ‘fashionable‘. Um, what?

In the aftermath of the deaths of Boudain and Spade as well as countless others, isn’t it obvious that we need people to admit when they are struggling? Even if they aren’t clinically depressed or have anxiety disorder (or have yet to be diagnosed officially)? We do! We can’t make people feel like they have to go through these struggles alone.

We can debate about treatments for depression; whether medication is always the answer, whether Attention Deficit and Hyper Active Disorder (ADHD) can be treated without Ritalin, or the role of the pharmaceutical industry in over prescribing medication, whether some mental issues can be eliminated (or at least better controlled) by change in environment, etc. What we don’t need is people  accusing those who open up about mental health issues of faking it or seeking attention.

Over the years, articles have been written to spot ‘signs’ that a person is faking their mental illness. This topic has fired up both mental illness sufferers and therapists on YouTube alike.

Mental illness is real. Most people who open up about mental health issues are not making it up (Kati Morton briefly touches the topic of Munchausen Syndrome, where someone may exaggerate or make up symptoms. I’m guessing that they’d be in the teeny tiny minority). To  be honest, it can be easy to misdiagnose yourself. You may feel down for a while and suspect you have depression, but then things become better after a while. That’s why to be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms will be consistent over a number weeks (about six) before you get officially diagnosed and, sometimes, medicated for depression (I’m guessing it’s similar to other disorders like bipolar, anxiety, etc).

 

The  stigma around mental illness needs to stop. It’s deadly. Be there for loved ones who are struggling and encourage them to get help. If you’re suffering yourself, please get help. You’re not alone.

If you are struggling and you live in Australia, you can contact LIfeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue via their web chat or 1300  224 636. If you are in an emergency situation, call 000 (if you’re in the US, 911 and UK, 999 or 112 (the last number is for members of the EU).