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Research in both Canada and the US has shown that bisexuals have poorer mental health and use mental health services more often than heterosexuals, gays, or lesbians One possible reason for this may be experiences of stigma, prejudice and discrimination that create a hostile social environment.
These experiences can trigger mental health problems or make existing problems worse. Our pilot research asked 55 bisexual people from across Ontario about factors that they felt affected their mental health, both positively and negatively. These bisexuals reported that discrimination negatively affected their mental health on multiple levels, a finding backed up by other research in the field Bisexual people in the pilot study reported several types of stressful experiences:. However, due to biphobia and monosexism, bisexuals may lack access to this support 29 The four posters provide visibility to groups identified in our pilot study, and in the literature on bisexual health, as strongly impacted by biphobia.
These groups are:. Bisexual mothers: Due to stereotypes, many people think that only straight women have children. People may assume a pregnant woman is straight, for example, or may ask a visibly queer woman how she became pregnant. Yet pregnancy is not uncommon among lesbian and bisexual women.
Ontario bi women bisexual model, Danielle, is 9 months pregnant. Trans bisexuals: Bisexual-identified trans people have often been doubly stereotyped as confused about their sexuality and their gender identity. As a result, some trans people have been denied access to trans health services if they identified as bisexual. While biphobia among some health service providers has diminished, the stigma associated with being both trans and bi has remained.
Bisexual trans people report difficulty getting appropriate and useful health care 9 Our bisexual trans model, Rupert Raj, is a well-known trans activist and a senior. Currently 59, he makes no apology for his gender, sexuality identity, or Ontario bi women.
Despite evidence that they are at high risk for certain health problems, racialized bisexual people face multiple barriers to getting adequate medical care Health care providers are often dismissive of their health concerns, or make unfounded assumptions about their sexuality and lifestyle.
Bisexual youth: Bisexual youth experience high rates of sexual harassment, bullying and physical abuse —often higher than their gay and lesbian peers Due to stereotypes about youth as uninvolved or apolitical, this work often goes unnoticed or unappreciated. Within Canada and the US, bisexual youth have organized support groups and gay-straight alliances to combat homophobia in schools and across the country. He is starting his own business and aspires to run a youth group.
A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Psychology Bulletin ; 5 Health care use among gay, lesbian and bisexual Canadians.
Statistics Canada: Health Reports. Mental health issues: a comparison of lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual women. Journal of Homosexuality, ; Women's sexual orientation and health: from a Canadian population-based survey.
Sexual orientation and mental health: from a community survey of young and middle-aged adults. British Journal of Psychiatry ; 5 Perceived determinants of mental health for bisexual people: A qualitative examination. American Journal of Public Health ; 3 Community Mental Health Journal ; Improving the access and quality of public health services for bisexuals.
Toronto: Ontario Public Health Association. Perceived social support from friends and family and psychosocial functioning in bisexual young adult college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology ; University of St. Sexual behaviour of lesbians and bisexual women. Sexually Transmitted Infections ; Cancer-related risk indicators and preventive screening behaviors among lesbians and bisexual women.
American Journal of Public Health ; 91 4 Family portrait: Continuity and change in Canadian families and households in Findings. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism. San Francisco: Cleis Press; Chicago: University of Chicago Press; Plural desires: Writing bisexual women's realities. Never going back: A history of queer activism in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press; The colour of queer health care: Experiences of multiple oppression in the lives of queer people of colour in Canada.
Egale Canada. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 14 Available at cost.
This is Our Community: Bisexual Anti-stigma Poster Campaign Research in both Canada and the US has shown that bisexuals have poorer mental health and use mental health services more often than heterosexuals, gays, or lesbians Bisexual people in the pilot study reported several types of stressful experiences: being discriminated against for being bisexual biphobia. These groups are: Bisexual mothers: Due to stereotypes, many people think that only straight women have children.Ontario bi women
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