Month: November 2016

The Next Four Years

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Thanks to the recent election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, minority groups all over the United States are now fearful of what might happen to them over the next four years. Unfortunately, the LGBT community is definitely one of those groups. Will Donald Trump’s homophobia and harsh language about the community normalize the mistreatment of LGBT people? Does Trump have enough influence to overturn marriage equality? (Probably not, but it’s scary that we even have to think that way.) We’ve made great strides in recent years, and there is a rational fear that having a president like Trump could cause the country to take a few steps back in the way of human rights.

The Human Rights campaign put out an article just after the election giving answers to some other worries that people in the community expressed about the Trump Administration, which you can read here. People are being forced to ask questions such as whether or not their health care will be affected, whether there will still be protection against discrimination for those in the community, especially transgender people, whether trump will reinstate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and other things that shouldn’t even be a concern at this point (hrc.org).

Unfortunately, Donald Trump is not the only person that we have to fear in the next four years. The media has been closely following the present-elect as he appoints cabinet members and the people he’s choosing are just as bad (if not worse) than Trump himself. To start, there’s Mike Pence, who believes in conversion therapy for LGBT people. If Trump is impeached, that will be our new president. Or how about White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, who “oversaw the most anti-LGBT platform in history” (towleroad.com)? The Human Rights Campaign has another article here which lists a few more scary names that could potentially be part of the Trump Administration, including Ken Blackwell, “a Senior Fellow at the Family Research Council (FRC),” “which has been designated a hate group” (hrc.org).

No one really knows exactly what to expect in the next four years, but we do know that it isn’t going to be easy and we are all going to need to be very supportive of each other. Some organizations designed to help and support the LGBT community are The Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project, and GLAAD (described in more detail in this blog post). If you don’t already know a lot about the issues that people in the community are facing, take a moment to look at each of their websites and learn. If you can, donate. We’re already going to need to be there for each other through the Trump Administration and in its aftermath, and these organizations can help.

References

http://www.hrc.org/blog/reports-of-anti-lgbtq-extremists-tapped-for-major-roles-on-president-elect

http://www.hrc.org/blog/what-a-trump-administration-could-mean-for-lgbtq-rights

https://whatistherealgayagenda.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/programs-and-organizations-for-the-lgbtq-community/

Trump Names Reince Priebus, RNC Chair Who Oversaw Most Anti-LGBT Platform in History, as WH Chief of Staff

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Bisexual Role Models

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We know a little bit about how bisexuality is represented in movies and TV (not well), but what about in reality? Who do we know that might be a role model for bisexual youth to look up to when coming out?

Well, to be honest, not many people came to mind when I asked myself this question; Angelina Jolie was the only person I immediately thought of. Of course there are many more, but I had to sit and think and eventually even do some Googling before I was able to come up with a good list. Maybe that says something about me and my apparent lack of knowledge about bisexual celebrities, or maybe it says something about bisexuality itself and the stigma that surrounds it.

Here are a few people you may not have known are/were bisexual: Walt Whitman, James Dean, Janis Joplin, Fergie, Drew Barrymore, David Bowie, and Marilyn Monroe (bisexual.org).

It might be worth noting that that a Google image search of “bisexual role models” brings up mostly pictures of Ellen Page. And while Ellen Page has done wonderful things for the LGBT community and is certainly a role model for many young women, she is a lesbian, not bisexual. To me, this situation – the first result of a search about bisxual people bringing up a gay woman – is a distinct form of bi-erasure. These results erase the people that do identify as bisexual, replacing them with a person of a sexuality that is more commonly accepted, or as some people would describe it, “actually real.”

Today there are a few celebrities, mostly women, who are doing a good job of standing up for bisexuality and trying to normalize it as much as possible. Anglina Jolie is one of them, along with Kristen Stewart, Aubrey Plaza, Kesha, and Anna Paquin, who has a good quote about bisexuality: “For me, it’s not really an issue because I’m someone who believes being bisexual is actually a thing. It’s not made up. It’s not a lack of decision.”

Why is it important to have bisexual role models? Well, we kind of live in a society that worships celebrities. And while I don’t think that’s ideal, it does mean that their actions have the potential to influence day-to-day life. Young people struggling with their sexualities need to have someone to look up to in order to feel validated, especially if they can’t get that from their own friends or family. Hopefully, more bisexual role models will help destigmatize and normalize bisexuality, and bisexual people will be at the top of their own Google image search.

~ Bustle has a good article about bisexual people in Hollywood – if you want to read it click here! ~

References

Famous Bi People

 

Bisexual Youth

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Being bisexual can be particularly difficult for young people. Many teenagers are already in vulnerable positions and having people deny that their sexuality is even legitimate can cause even more harm. Bisexual youth also often feel unsupported by adults in their lives, many of whom believe many or all of the myths and lies surrounding bisexuality.

In 2014, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released a report about bisexual youth (which you can read about here). Essentially, they found that many people are hugely uneducated about bisexuality, which can lead to limited support for young people who identify as bisexual. According to their report, of the bisexual youth that they surveyed, “only five percent reported being ‘very happy,'” and “nearly a third of bisexual young people said they had been ‘frequently or often’ harassed or called names at school” (hrc.org). Although these types of statistics are (unfortunately) somewhat common for LGBT youth, the numbers tend to be even more dramatic for bisexuals because they often lack support within the community as well as outside of it.

Homelessness is a huge issue for all LGBT youth. Unfortunately, though, more LGB homeless youth identifies as bisexual than any other sexuality. Young bisexual people are also more susceptible to “risk behaviors” (such as overuse of drugs and alcohol), and suicide than other young people (attheintersections.org). A study by the University of Illinois found that 44% of bisexual youth surveyed “reported thinking about suicide during the prior 30 days,” and “more than 21%” reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt “during the prior year” (news.illinois.edu).

Being bisexual is a struggle for most bi people, but young people have a particularly difficult time. They have limited access to resources or programs that could be helpful to them and are often unsupported by the people they need to lean on most, like friends and family. And clearly, the statistics about at-risk bisexual youth are staggering. Spread the word – bisexual youth need to be appreciated and cared for! 

References

http://www.hrc.org/blog/supporting-and-caring-for-our-bisexual-youth

Bisexual Youth

https://news.illinois.edu/blog/view/6367/205215

 

Some Statistics

For this post, I thought I’d give my input on some statistics about bisexuality that you may not know about!

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“Up to 40% of the LGBTQ community identifies itself as bisexual” (healthresearchfunding.org)

This statistic is interesting because the bisexual population seems much smaller than it actually is, possibly because bisexuality is often hard to define. Not everyone who identifies as bisexual necessarily fits the exact same definition.

“In a 2009 survey, bisexuals were tolerated only slightly more than intravenous drug users in a survey of self-identifying heterosexuals.” (healthresearchfunding.org)

I feel that if this survey were given today, the results would probably be different; fortunately, bisexuality seems to be more acceptable now than ever. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that these survey results are pretty upsetting!

“Women are more likely to be bisexual than men.” (advocate.com)

This statistic comes from an interesting study (which you can read about here) that followed the sexual activity of about 10,000 young people. They came up with a lot of interesting conclusions, one of which is that there are generally more bisexual women than men. For some reason, I’m not really shocked by this statistic. Maybe the reason for this is that men feel less comfortable coming out as bisexual than women because somehow, there is more of a stigma around it for them.

Only 28% of bisexuals say all or most of the important people in their life know they are bisexual. By comparison, 77% of gay men and 71% of lesbians say the important people in their life know about their sexual orientation.” (pewresearch.org)

This statistic was very surprising to me at first. Personally, my sexual orientation is an important part of my identity, but for some bisexual people, it may not be. If they identify as “more” heterosexual than homosexual, they may not feel the need to share that part of themselves with friends or family. Or, they may just be so afraid of the stigma around their sexuality that they are unwilling to come out.

These are just a few of many, many fascinating statistics about bisexuality. Below is a video with some more information that you might like to watch!