On Bisexuality Week, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) think tank released a study Monday night that offers a report with statistics about bisexual Americans with some surprising statistics culled from major research data.
“This report is to help our allies and media understand issues of bisexuality,” said Heron Greenesmith, the LGBT Movement and Policy Analyst who was speaking at the ONE Archives at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on Monday night. Heron read off statistics in the report that were surprising even to the bisexual activists and journalists in the room and on the panel.
The report Understanding Issues Facing Bisexual Americans is a comprehensive list of statistics, including personal stories, detailing many issues facing bisexual Americans, described in the report as “a frequently invisible community within the LGBT population.”The guide purports to include policy recommendations to address these harmful disparities and to improve the lives of bisexual Americans. Anyone can download the report for free.
MAP works to provide research and analysis to help speed up equality for LGBT people. The group conducts research to distribute to the mainstream media, the public and policymakers about the needs of lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgendered people and their families. The report includes information as recent as this month.
Download the report by clicking here.
The report is to help people understand needs for the overall bisexual community. Here are nine of the most surprising findings:
1. More than half of all LGBT people are bisexual! The report shows that 52 percent of the more than 9 million LGBT people in the United States identify as bisexual. Of that 52 percent, 33 percent are bi women and 19 percent are bi men.
2. Bisexuals are more than six times as likely to hide their sexual orientation than gays or lesbians. Because of the fear of being stereotyped, the report says that bisexual men and women are more likely to hide their orientation. This is based on a 2008 General Social Survey that finds that one-quarter or 25 percent of bisexual people have never told anyone they are bisexual compared to just 4 percent of gay men and lesbians who have never told anyone about their sexual identities.
3. Only 28 percent of bisexuals say it’s important to come out to people close to them. Only 28 percent of bisexuals say that all the important people in their life know they are bisexual, but their gay and lesbian counterparts feel more compelled to tell people close to them. In the survey, 77 percent of gay men say they come out to people close to them while 71 percent of the lesbians have also come out.
4. Bisexuals are more likely to live in poverty. About one quarter, 25 percent of bi men and 30 percent of bi women live at poverty level compared to 15 percent of heterosexual men and 21 percent of heterosexual women while 20 percent of gay men and 23 percent of lesbians fall into the same category. The stats show that bi women are the most likely category to depend on Food Stamps and other public financial aid.
5. Bisexual people face more discrimination in the workplace. While 20 percent of bisexuals report experiencing a negative employment decision based on their sexuality, almost 60 percent of bisexual people report hearing anti-bisexual jokes and comments on the job. About half (49 percent) of all bi people are not out to coworkers, compared to 24 percent of the gay and lesbian counterparts.
6. Bisexual people experience higher rates of sexual violence than gay, lesbian and heterosexuals. Bi women are shown to experience more violence and domestic assault than any other category. An astounding 61 percent of bi women have experienced rape, physical violence, stalking by an intimate partner and more compared to 43 percent of lesbians and 35 percent of heterosexual women. Nearly half of bi men, a total of 47 percent, report sexual violence against them.
7. Bisexuals have more suicide rates. The report compiled disturbing stats showing that bisexuals were four times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexuals. An additional study showed that bi men were 6.3 times more likely to seriously consider killing themselves at some time in their lifetime, compared to 4.1 times for gay men compared to heterosexual men. On top of that, the Journal of Adolescent Health found that unlike their hetero peers, bisexual teens who reported suicidal thoughts did not report a decrease in these thoughts as they grew older and became adults.
8. Bisexuals have more health and safety disparities. There are more bi people with economic disparities resulting in significant health and safety issues compared to their counterparts.
9. Bisexuals are at risk for more substance abuse. Bi men were reported to smoke more and drink more than gay or heterosexual men. Bi youth were shown to be at a higher risk for substance abuse than their peers.
The overall findings show that the bisexual population generally suffers high poverty, discrimination and poor physical and mental health. Those rates are often more severe than lesbian and gay peers. There is an urgent need to provide support for the bisexual community through advocacy, research and programming, the report summarizes.