• Becki Clitsome

Bisexual Health



March is Bisexual Awareness Month so today we have a guest blog written by bisexual Person-centred Counsellor Becki Clitsome (She/Her) .




This month is a time to break down the barriers and raise awareness of bisexual issues, particularly the community’s social, economic and health disparities.



As a bisexual woman, I’ve personally felt those disparities for a variety of reasons.






Bisexual people make up the ‘majority of the LGBTQ community, but received less than 1% of all funding that supports LGBTQ advocacy, and experience significantly higher rates of physical, sexual, social and emotional violence’, as well aspoorer physical, mental and social health.’ (BiHealthMonth, 2021)


To give a little context to myself, I want to share some of my own words that I wrote as part of LGBTQ Awareness Month: As a teenager I knew that I was bisexual – I was attracted to both men and women. But there was no education about different sexualities, and it certainly wasn’t something I could talk about at home.



So my bisexuality was kept completely secret for years. I had seen many friends come out and be referred to as promiscuous, greedy, indecisive and deceptive.



Misconceptions and stereotypes made coming out challenging.

How would I be treated?


How would my family feel?


Would I be rejected?



The fear was exponential and so I didn’t talk about my sexuality with my family until I was 29.



This certainly compounded my own feelings leading to a decrease in self-worth and a massive impact on my own mental health. It meant exploring my sexuality was difficult, and being in heteronormative relationships both protected me and held me back.



When I did come out to loved ones, my fears were briefly realised. My engagement was brought into question because I was now sharing my sexuality, and there were confusions over the type of relationship I would be in.



These questions were well-meaning, but hurtful. For example, being questioned because I never brought a girl home (when I knew I would have been treated badly for doing so) created a sense of bi-erasure that truly impacted on me.



This didn’t mean I wasn’t bisexual, it meant that I wasn’t brave enough to come out in my teens.


Health disparities for bisexual people show the stark difficulties:


  • Bisexual women have higher rates of all cancers, heart disease and obesity (HRC)


  • Bisexual people are significantly less likely than lesbians and gay men to disclose their sexual orientation to their medical provider (HRC)


  • Bisexual women have double the rate of eating disorders as lesbians (HRC)


  • 66% of bisexual people feel they have to pass as straight, 42% feel they have to pass as gay/lesbian (Equality Network)


  • 72% of bi women, 60% of lesbians, 56% of bi men and 53% of gay men have experienced anxiety (Stonewall, 2018)






Where do I sit in all of this?


I’ve experienced depression since I was a teenager, suicidality, drunk alcohol as an escape, and experienced crippling and disabling anxiety. I am not the exception to the rule, and it makes me sad that there are thousands of people experiencing those thoughts and feelings throughout the world.



As time has gone on – and I’ve been out to my loved ones for over a year – I’m much more firm in my sexuality and my well-being has increased.



I’m no longer hiding parts of myself.


It’s for this reason that I talk so openly on my social media and website. I volunteer for an LGBTQ organisation. The more we are open about bisexuality, biphobia and bi-erasure, the more we can remove the stigma and truly create equity.




Becki Clitsome

This guest blog was written by


Person-centred Counsellor

Becki Clitsome (She/Her)


@buddingtherapy


www.buddingtherapy.com



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If you'd like to write a guest blog please get in touch:

chloefoster@sussexrainbowcounselling.com




References

Bisexual+ Health Awareness Month https://bihealthmonth.org/


Bachmann, C., & Gooch, B., (2018) ‘LGBT in Britain: Health Report’, Stonewall, London


Human Rights Campaign Foundation, ‘Health Disparities Among Bisexual People’


Rankin, S., Morton, J., & Bell, M., Complicated? Bisexual people’s experiences of and ideas for improving services, Equality Network

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    ​© Sussex Rainbow Counselling  -  Chloe Foster (MNCS Accred)  -  PG Dip Humanistic Psychotherapeutic Counselling

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