Few studies exist that look at the parenting experiences of bi people, so this is worth a look. It’s downloadable for a hefty fee, but I’ll share the précis here:
Almost no research has examined the parenting experiences of bisexual people. In this mixed-methods study, sexual minority women (N = 64) who were currently trying to conceive, pregnant, or parenting an infant completed standardized questionnaires to assess mental health, social support, and other variables. Fourteen participants identified as bisexual, and 14 reported sexual activity with men in the past 5 years (there was incomplete overlap between these groups). Twenty women (5 bisexual-identified) also completed a qualitative interview. Bisexual women reported poorer scores on assessments of mental health, substance use, social support, and experiences of perceived discrimination, relative to other women in the sample. Differences were particularly pronounced for women who reported sexual activity with men in the past 5 years compared to women who did not. Qualitative analyses highlighted experiences of invisibility and exclusion. It may be particularly challenging for bisexual women to negotiate the invisibility associated with a bisexual identity during the perinatal period, as a result of the implicit assumption that mothers are heterosexual. This invisibility may be linked with a multitude of poor outcomes that could have implications for the mother, baby, and family.
The headline of the NY Post reads: Anna Paquin defends bisexual label despite being married, pregnant.
Even though Paquin spoke intelligently and openly to the reporter of Zooey magaine (which the Post is citing), it appears the Post writer either didn’t get what she was trying to say, or didn’t care and went with a headline that only reinforced the stereotype that a bi person cannot be happy with one person and, thereby, cannot be a good parent. And thrown in for spice is the stereotype that bisexuality is merely a faddish set of behaviours rather than a sexual orientation.
Anyway, from the article:
Paquin tells Zooey magazine in a new interview. "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. It’s not being greedy or numerous other ignorant things I’ve heard at this point. For a bisexual, it’s not about gender. That’s not the deciding factor for who they’re attracted to."
I wanted to write about this subject myself, but this new article by the Radical Bi covers things well. Please have a read, share your own opinions and join in the debate.
“Cynthia Nixon’s recent comments about homosexuality and bisexuality created a full-on outburst within LGBT communities in the US and around the world. How dare this woman, asked the opposers, claim that being LGBT can be a choice? The audacity! It seems that Nixon’s words shocked the community so immensely that Nixon herself was obliged to “clarify” her remarks, saying that most people “Cannot and do not choose the gender of the persons with whom they seek to have intimate relationships. ….
“More than anything else, what this story demonstrates is the subversive force of bisexuality, such that is able to deconstruct binary sexual identities, as well as the entire binary division on which the system of Western sexuality is based. Whether or not bisexuality itself is a choice, the idea of a choice is inextricably connected to it: Bisexual people are always considered as being able to choose between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Many times this notion serves as a weapon against bisexuals, in order to erase the existence of bisexuality as an existing identity or as a viable option. Nevertheless, the very use of this notion as a weapon can insinuate how threatening this idea – and bisexual identity itself – might be for monosexual identities….”
-- Radical Bi @ http://radicalbi.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/cynthia-nixon-and-bisexual-choice/
The L Project is run by Sofia Antonia Milone and Georgey Payne of Greymatter. It’s aims are to raise awareness about the effects of LGBT bullying, to give hope to those suffering from it, and to raise money to help combat it.
The project has produced an anti-LGBT-bullying song called It Does Get Better.
“Back in October of 2011 The L Project, initiated by singer-songwriter Georgey Payne, brought together a group of UK music artists with the intention of recording a song she had penned. That song was It Does Get Better and it was initially written by Georgey in an attempt to cheer up a young friend who had confided in her that he had been the subject of homophobic bullying in school. Georgey quickly realised that the positive message of hope that her song conveyed was one that people all over the world could benefit from whether LGBT or not. Simply put, this song is for anyone who experiences the struggles that can come with being different, and the message is clear ‘It Does Get Better’, do not give up hope.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the growing online community that have turned out to support the project since the release of the song on February 11th 2012. The facebook page for the project is littered with wonderful messages from around the globe, from those who have been brought back from the brink of desperation, to those who have been spurred to action by the pure drive and tenacity the project coordinators have shown in their unending devotion to spreading the ‘L’.
What started out as a song, has become a community, a bigger force than either of the co-ordinators could have foreseen. ‘The response we've had is just tremendous, and we have decided the release of this song is just the first of many projects to come’, says Sofia Antonia Milone.”
And on Friday, 23 March 2012, the L Project received the Outstanding Contribution to the LGBT Community Award at The Pride Ball.
Eleven months ago, I published a post called ‘Bisexevil’ ~ Uganda: hate in focus, which spoke about the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist, David Kato, and about the fight of the entire Ugandan LGBT community for their full human rights. During the discussion in the comments section, it emerged that the most well-known bisexual activist organisation had ominously gone silent. All my attempts to reach the organisation or individuals came to nothing. To be honest that I feared for them, but hoped that maybe it was all just due to it being a student organisation and maybe the students just graduated with no one in the classes behind them to take up the reigns.
Well, almost a year on, and we have heard back from Bisexual Movement Uganda.
We are very pleased they have been able to re-group and to continue on, but we hold them in our thoughts and prayers, as they are forging ahead in a hostile environment.
Their mission statement:
Bisexual Movement Uganda was Established in 12th February 2007 by a group of Bisexual Men and women who were constantly harassed, insulted and discriminated against by a misinformed society and they were moved to form an Organization which can advocate for their sexual rights and fight for Their sexual orientation and gender identity in Uganda.
Europe’s Pink News reports: “A new study in the US says bisexual women are more likely to suffer from depression and to binge drink than men.
“George Mason University found that there was a high likelihood of depression and alcohol abuse for bisexual teenagers regardless of gender. However, men appeared to experience a reduced risk of abuse as they aged. Women’s chances remained static. Researchers found that women identified as straight or gay were less prone to depression than those who were bisexual.”
Lead researcher Lisa Lindly said: “There tends to be this expectation or standard that a person picks one sexual identity and sticks with it. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about bisexuals. I think their risk has a lot more to do with stigma”.
As the Times of India reports: “ Looking closely at the survey data, Lindley noted, both bisexual girls and boys were more likely to be high-risk for depression, stress and alcohol abuse when they were teenagers. She found that the odds dropped for men as they got older, but not so for women. In addition, women who were strictly identified as straight or gay didn't have the same risk factors that bisexual women had, according Lindley. Men didn't report feeling as depressed or stressed as women did. They also didn't binge-drink or smoke as much as bisexual women. ‘I don't know is the honest answer. Perhaps it's because men, if gay or straight, have a stronger connection to their community. Bisexual women may not feel as if there is a community for them’, Lindley concluded.”
See also Bisexual Women, More Likely Than Bisexual Men, to Be Depressed And Abuse Alcohol, New Study Finds
See also Lies, Damned lies, Statistics & Suicide.
Re:searching for LGBTQ Health! is a team of researchers in Canada who “focus on understanding how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, Two-Spirit, and queer (LGBTQ) people experience physical and mental health, and how they access health services.”
They have found that 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 (1-7). “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.”
The organisation’s own research on bisexual people in Ontario reported that discrimination negatively affected bi people’s mental health on multiple levels, “a finding backed up by other research in the field (7-10). Bisexual people in the pilot study reported several types of stressful experiences”:
- being discriminated against for being bisexual (biphobia).
- being labelled as “really” straight or gay/lesbian and having their bisexuality regarded as illegitimate (monosexism).
- feeling that they have to constantly explain and justify their sexual identity to others (monosexism, biphobia).
- the media not portraying bisexuality as a legitimate and healthy sexual identity (marginalization, erasure and invisibility).
“While experiences of stress makes us sick, relationships with friends, family, partners, and the LGBTQ community help keep us healthy. Research has found that belonging to the LGBTQ community can reduce the effects of minority stress. However, due to biphobia and monosexism, bisexuals may lack access to this support (2, 9, 11).”
Alan Cumming, OBE is a Scottish actor, singer, writer and director, starring most recently in The Good Wife.
Cumming, who is one of the few out bisexual men in Hollywood, married to commercial illustrator Grant Shaffer, is also a long-time activist for equality and civil rights for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. And he is now lending his image and star power to the I Am Visible campaign to end biphobia and bi-erasure in the media and public sphere.
Photo credit: Jordan Matter
Others involved with the campaign have included actor Paul Fitzgerald, who has also appeared in The Good Wife, and singer-songwriter Robin Renee.