Why Bisexual People Face "Double Discrimination"

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
It's long been acknowledged that bisexual people are subject to high rates of violence and discrimination, but a study from American University sheds light on how exactly that affects their mental health.
The research found that not only do bisexual people face disproportionate discrimination — it's also affecting their mental health at alarming rates.
The study found that bi people are at higher risk for poor mental health, due to suffering "double discrimination" from both straight and queer communities.
"Experiencing stress that is uniquely related to being bisexual adversely affects bisexual individuals’ mental health and is distinct from the effects of sexual minority stress on lesbian and gay individuals," the researchers wrote.
Researchers for the study surveyed 503 bisexual adults between the ages of 18 to 64, asking them what effects they thought being bisexual had on their mental health.
Many of them reported feeling extreme loneliness and isolation, and many even experienced suicidal thoughts. Not only did they experience discrimination that all sexual minorities experienced (what the researchers called "heterosexism" and homophobia), they also experienced prejudice specific to bisexual people, or biphobia.
"Bisexual people face double discrimination in multiple settings," Ethan Mereish, the study’s lead author, told Queerty. "Bisexual people are often invisible, rejected, invalidated [and] stigmatized in the heterosexual community as well as the traditional LGBTQ communities."
The study is further evidence of the specific stressors bisexual people face, and makes a case for the need to fight biphobia and bi-erasure.
"Given that isolation and discrimination, bi people might be experiencing increase factors that might make them more lonely or isolated," Mereish told Queerty.
The researchers wrote that they hope their study will "underscore the importance of targeting bisexual-specific minority stressors as well as loneliness in preventive interventions" for the mental health of the bisexual community.
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