Bisexuals Are Neglected in San Francisco -- 'Biphobia' Is Real

Categories: LGBT, Politics
images.jpeg
It was a phase
When in it comes to being sexually liberated, San Francisco likes to believe it's been there, done that. So for a city that was a pioneer in offering sex changes as a benefit, it's hard to understand how and why we are failing our bisexual population so badly.

But it's true.

The city's Human Rights Commission released a thick report this month that shows just how biphobic San Francisco is. Despite years of activism, bisexuals continue to be branded as invalid, by both homosexuals and heterosexuals alike, according to the report.
First, how should we define bisexuality? According to the report, anyone who has the capacity for emotional, romantic, and physical attraction to more than one sex or gender -- and would be involved with them is bisexual.

Roughly 3 percent of the nationwide population identifies as bisexual, yet  over the last two years, zero grant dollars went toward programs and services specifically dedicated to assisting bisexuals.

In short, the needs of bisexuals are being ignored.

"It's certainly groundbreaking," said David Miree, policy analyst for the Human Rights Commission. "This report acknowledged that bisexuality is a definite sexual orientation."

Here are some of the facts:

Believe it or not, bisexuals are more likely to commit suicide than gays and lesbians, and they earn much less than others in the LGBT community. Bisexual women are more than twice as likely as lesbians to live in poverty and bisexuals are much less likely to come out to their doctors, which can affect their preventative health care.

Lindasusan Urlich, who was the principle author of the report, told SF Weekly, that much of this biphobia is institutionalized -- there's no training specific to dealing with bisexuals; as a result, this group tends to get lost in the shuffle. In a panel of LGBT speakers, for instance, how often is there a bisexual representative?

"A lot of people don't want to be labeled, which makes it hard," she said.

In 1995 after a report on the needs of transgender residents was released, the Board of Supervisors quickly put together a task force that shaped the city and community's response to this population. Urlich is hoping city lawmakers will do the same and find ways to help bisexuals feel a little more welcome. 

"I'm an 'out' bisexual living in San Francisco and the impact of invisibility is demoralizing," Urlich said.

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6 comments
Lonelywoman
Lonelywoman

Biphobia is why I lie to everyone and probably why I am so depressed. Men think I want to have countless threesomes and get angry when I am "prude", while 90% of women want NOTHING to do with me if I admit I am bisexual. I am extremely attracted to women. Far more than men, however occasionally I will find a man with the right personality. I don't date men often, because the sex is NEVER satisfying, but if I didn't date men I would end up spending the rest of my life alone because lesbian women refuse to date bisexual women. I understand, because I too have been left for a man... But we aren't all like that. As of recently I started making online dating profiles that say I am a lesbian who is just now coming out. It seems to be working a little bit, but as a very honest person I find myself backing off because I don't want to get attached to someone I have to lie to. I am stuck and feel incredibly alone.

Komatth
Komatth

I am more and more shocked by biphobia. Having been cloistered among artists that just don't care. I certainly found biphobia in the gay community when I was 18 and 19. The result was stop hanging with the gay community and hang out in the art community. I feel so insulted by it especially because if I were gay, my friends wouldn't care, my peers and employers wouldn't care (in fact I would get a lot more work), my family wouldn't care. So there is less at risk for being labeled gay rather than labeling myself bisexual.

I am Visible
I am Visible

interesting use of pictures? There are many bisexuals who are in relationship or current. Research....

Diana
Diana

It appears to me that the photo is suggesting that Anne Heche is bisexual. The "just a phase" comment appears to be intended ironically, as it is a commonplace way that people dismiss the reality of bisexual orientation.

Max the Communist
Max the Communist

I, too, wonder why--of all the photos that could have been used for this post--the old image of Anne and Ellen was dragged out of the dust bin.

I wish to reiterate for the record that Anne Heche has never said that her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres was a phase. Furthermore, when her fundamentalist mother gave testimonials at ex-gay fundraisers/recruiting events that her prayers saved Anne from a homosexual lifestyle, her daughter came forth in the media to decry her mother's attempts to manipulate her relationship with Ellen, or its demise, to suit her skewed fundamentalist interpretation or that of the ex-gay movement. To this day, Anne Heche is pro-LGBTQ and against the ex-gay movement.

guest
guest

It is strange how an article describes biphobia and laments about it while the corresponding picture (Ellen DeGeneres and her wife) with its caption ("It was a phase") is an example of biphobia. Stating that bisexuality is only a stage between heterosexuality and homosexuality is precisely one of the ways that people make bisexuals invisible.

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