To conclude Bisexual Awareness Week 2016 (#BiWeek), the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) just published, Invisible Majority: The Disparities Bisexual People Face and How to Remedy Them. With partners from around the United States, including the Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality (CCSS), the report highlights the costs and challenges of sexuality fluidity in the US for the nearly 5 million people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, sexually fluid, non-monosexual queer, etc.
The report also offers policy recommendations based upon the federal regulatory and sub-regulatory policy recommendations drafted by Heron Greenesmith, Esq., LGBT Movement and Policy Analyst at MAP, Dr. Lauren Beach, JD, PhD, Director of LGBTI Research at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Dr, H. Sharif “Herukhuti” Williams, PhD, MEd, founder and chief erotics officer of CCSS, for the 2015 White House Bisexual Community Briefing. Heron was instrumental in securing MAP support for the project and is the report’s main author.
Invisible Majority illustrates how, while more than half of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population identifies as sexually fluid, bisexual people experience alarming rates of invisibility, societal rejection, violence, discrimination, and poor physical and mental health—often at rates higher than their lesbian and gay peers.
Here are a few of the disturbing findings from the report:
- 31% of bisexual workers report being sexually harassed at work because of their sexuality
- Almost 1/2 of bisexual people live on $30,000 or less per year
- Sexually fluid people are more likely to have anxiety or mood disorders than others
- 56% bisexual students report feelings of sadness or hopelessness living in a monosexist world
- Bisexual youth have high rates of drug abuse
- Sexually fluid youth are more likely to think about suicide than other youth
- 23% of bisexual people lack insurance, compared to 16% of gay/lesbian and 17% heterosexual people
- 61% of bisexual women & 37% of bisexual men report having experienced violence from an intimate partner
- 47% of bisexual students report being sexually assaulted
“The Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality is a social justice and human rights organization that uses arts activism, spiritual activism, and cultural production to liberate the ways people love, experience the Erotic, and connect to the Sacred,” Dr. Herukhuti said in reflecting upon CCSS’s involvement with the report. “Addressing biphobia and monosexism is one of the tasks any organization with a similar mission must have on its agenda. So, from the beginning, we’ve been an enthusiastic partner on this project.”
When asked about how the report connects to the work of CCSS, he said, “People think that if they are able to understand and accept homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and gay/lesbian rights they’ve completed their work on being supportive of sexual rights. And that’s just simply not the case. There’s still so much more work to be done in broadening and expanding people’s understanding of what sexual social justice is.” Dr. Herukhuti has discussed the impact of Eurocentric approaches to sexual social justice has had on people of African descent in particular on a number of occasions e.g., sexual imperialism and homonormativity, impact of invalidating sexual fluidity, and the necessity of challenging sexual imperialism.
Dr. Herukhuti went on to say, “We are working to create sexual cultural communities within which all of who a person is is affirmed, nurtured, and caressed. We envision a global network–of communities, groups, and individuals committed to sexual empowerment and erotic liberation–in which hegemonies and structural inequality based upon gender, sexual identity, class, skin color, physicality, and ethnicity are rendered obsolete so that people can live sexual-sociocultural lives that nurture our souls and affirm of our spirits. Invisible Majority provides baseline information we need in conversations with people about the state of sexual empowerment in one of the countries within which we work.”