Although bisexual+ people make up the largest contingent of the LGBTQ community, they are the least likely to come out of the closet. A new resource guide from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) aims to change that.
Published on Thursday (September 23) in honor of Bisexual Visibility Day, “Coming Out: Living Authentically as Bisexual+” is available for free online and specifically tailored to the unique experience of being attracted to people of multiple genders.
The guidebook acknowledges hurdles many bi+ people encounter, including being invalidated or mislabeled by monosexual folks, feeling like they have to “pick a side,” or being asked to “prove” their queerness. It also validates that bisexuality “doesn’t always look the same for everyone.”
“While bi+ identities should not be seen as stops on the way to being gay or lesbian, or actions that someone does for attention, it is okay if one day you wake up and realize that you’re not exactly who you thought you were,” the guide reads in part. “No one should ever be shamed for moving in and out of bi+ identities.”
Additionally, it provides strategies for making a “disclosure plan” for bi+ people who want to come out to their family or friends.
Recent estimates from Gallup’s 2020 national poll puts the percentage of bi+ Americans at 54.6% of the country’s overall LGBTQ population (5.6% of all adults in the United States, respectively). Still, bi+ people are referred to as the “invisible majority” since they encounter disparities in health care, housing, workplace safety, and other areas of life.
In a statement, Joni Madison, HRC’s interim president, impressed the need for the new guide: “The bi+ community faces misguided stigma, skepticism and erasure, including from LGBTQ+ people, and often feel invisible or misunderstood within their own community. That’s why having the courage to live authentically, true to ourselves, is an immeasurable gift that we can give, not only to ourselves, but the entire community.”