I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr Julia Shaw at a recent conference. Julia, author of the book 'Bi' had some interesting observations on the bisexual experience in the workplace and within the LGBT+ community more broadly. On the topic of ways in which bisexual people experience abuse, we discussed the different experiences for bisexual women vs bisexual men and how some employers focus more on gay and lesbian inclusion and pay less attention to bi - inclusion.
It stuck in my mind how, even in this far more progressive age, being bisexual seems more likely to be considered a phase rather than a defined identity in its own right. This idea of sexuality being described as a phase is perhaps something some young people have had to endure when discovering their own identity. It's an age-old insult that many in the queer family experience but which may persist longer for bi people.
Other examples of biphobic behaviour includes overt sexualisation of language, especially towards bi women, and bi-erasure where assuming a bisexual person is gay or straight based upon their partner. It is important that all of us within the LGBT+ community should not consider one identity to be more permanent than any other. Similarly, it is vital to recognise that our bisexual siblings within the queer community will experience subtly different forms of prejudice compared to others.
The workshops we run with schools involve some wonderful role models who are bi or pansexual. Their stories help young people understand the harm caused from biphobic language and behaviour. Our LGBT+ community is wonderfully diverse but each part of it will experience its own form of struggle for acceptance. Let us unite in supporting every part of the LGBT+ community because the only acceptable outcome is equality for all.
You can learn more about Dr Julia Shaw here.