It’s bisexual+ awareness week! Woooo. If you like technical terms, GLAAD started this idea as a celebration as well as awareness-raising for the polysexuality umbrella, which includes pansexuality, bisexuality, fluid sexual identities and also queer identities.
Co-founded by GLAAD, Bisexual Awareness Week seeks to accelerate acceptance of the bi+ community. #BiWeek draws attention to the public policy concerns, while also celebrating the resiliency of, the bisexual community.
Throughout #BiWeek, allies and bi+ people learn about the history, culture, community and current policy priorities of bi+ communities. You can view this information in Spanish, too.
On September 23, GLAAD, BiNet USA, and other LGBT and bisexual advocacy organizations invite you to participate in the 18th annual Celebrate Bisexuality Day, an event promoting bi+ visibility.
GLAAD has this super detailed page for how to participate. Here’s the nice part! The objective is awareness, meaning the bare minimum is what you’re doing right now–reading. Hurray.
Even most LGBT activists and sexual assault activists are unaware of the statistics that while straight women have a 17 percent chance of being raped and lesbians have a 13 percent chance, bisexual women have a 46 percent chance of being raped. In other words, bisexual women are approximately three times more likely to be raped. Bisexual women also have higher rates of sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, and stalking, compared to both straight and lesbian women. In addition to this, bisexual women survivors have the lowest rates of social support when disclosing trauma, the highest rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after rape, and the most negative experiences when seeking help from formal support resources such as rape crisis centers, therapists, police, and medical professionals.
There are many complex reasons for this huge disparity in rates of violence, but the simplest reason is that bisexual women are hypersexualized, fetishized, and sexually objectified in our culture and media. Bisexual women are stereotyped as slutty, pretending to be bi for sexual attention, and always interested in sex (particularly threesomes). Basically, we are not viewed as people but as sexual objects, always eager to fulfill pornographic fantasies. Our consent doesn’t matter, because our bisexual identity is perceived as automatic consent to anyone and everyone who might be interested in us.
Additionally, bisexual women can be victims of “corrective” rape, a hate crime in which someone is raped because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, usually in an attempt to “fix” them. Bi women are also more likely to end up in abusive relationships, in part because abusers are good at targeting vulnerable people who have poor social support, and also because abusers can use biphobia to threaten their partner, lower their self-esteem, or pressure them into sex against their will.
Biphobia also presents a huge barrier to receiving help in the aftermath of an assault — the stereotype that bi women are slutty and untrustworthy, for example, may lead to friends and family doubting a bi woman survivor when she comes forward. Biphobia also leads to social isolation and causes resources intended to support survivors to be unsafe for bi women. Biphobia within the LGBT community itself is particularly harmful, leaving bi women survivors with very little support. Bi women survivors who are marginalized in other ways face even further barriers to help — trans bi women, bi women of color, and disabled bi women survivors are some of the most vulnerable in our community.
This is kind of what I’ve been alluding to at my dissatisfaction with a lot of contemporary models of abuse. While it’s great cis feminists have been empowering cishet women, and will continue to do so, there’s a tendency to be dismissive when it comes to other permutations of abuse–especially if it’s female perpetrated. Proponents of the Duluth model outright state that women cannot be perpetrators of abuse, and that if violence occurs where they aren’t the victim, it was self defence. Jaw-droppingly victim blamey. The model is starting to fall out of fashion, but still has its die-hards who go on erasing queer DV as well as male victims.
And yeah, like the Advocate says–bi+ and trans doesn’t make for a fun time in most women’s violence resources.
Signal boost and spread the word.