This recently released report from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission examines the overall invisibility of bisexual individuals. The report specifically highlights the important issues for bisexual individuals in health care and in employment.
The report notes:
- Bisexual people experience greater health disparities than the broader population, including a greater likelihood of suffering from depression and other mood or anxiety disorders.
- Bisexuals report higher rates of hypertension, poor or fair physical health, smoking, and risky drinking than heterosexuals or lesbians/gays.
- Many, if not most, bisexual people don’t come out to their healthcare providers. This means they are getting incomplete information (for example, about safer sex practices).
- Most HIV and STI prevention programs don’t adequately address the health needs of bisexuals, much less those who have sex with both men and women but do not identify as bisexual.
- Bisexual women in relationships with monosexual partners have an increased rate of domestic violence compared to women in other demographic categories.
The report makes the following recommendations for creating more visibility for bisexuals and bisexual issues:
- Educate the public, city departments, and elected officials about inclusive language (for example, “anti-LGBT bias” rather than “homophobia”) and ensure its use whenever possible and accurate.
- Review the STI brochures offered through San Francisco’s Department of Public Health and, if needed, encourage them to adopt models created by Fenway BiHealth in Boston (one that addresses those who identify as bisexual and one for those who don’t).
- Work with the Department of Public Health to ensure that data collection addresses the experiences of bisexuals accurately and consistently.
- Share this report and the results of the survey of local nonprofits on what bi-specific programming they have, if any; whether their programs that say they serve bisexuals are welcoming in practice; and how the content of their programming changes to address the needs of bisexuals.
- Include specific, separate information on bisexuality in diversity trainings.
- Ensure that bisexuals are included among the speakers when there are panels, forums, and other official discussions affecting the LGBT community.