“Double Closet”: Why Some Bisexuals Are Suffering from Mental Health

When Brooke Lindley first appeared in the family at the age of 13 as being attracted to both boys and girls, she didn’t even know the term “bisexual.” In 2003, her parents reacted suspiciously. “She wait until she has a boyfriend,” she remembered what her mother said.

A few years later, Mr. Lindley got a boyfriend, but she realized she was still attracted to women. She printed a bisexual fanfiction and she read it at night and thought, “This is completely me.” Still, she said, her father told her she was just confused. When her high school friend who came out to her as her gay, she quoted her relationship with her past man and told them she was bisexual, she she Did not believe

“I was always very anxious because I thought,’I don’t know, I don’t know.'” She said. She felt her quianeness kept her away from her straight friends, and her relationship with her man prevented her from having a complete relationship with her gay friend. .. She didn’t know where she would fit or how she should define herself.

Well, at the age of 30, Lindley Biphobia What she experienced after she came out contributed to her current and past struggle with anxiety and depression.And despite the number of people identified as bisexual Rising in the usa — From about 1% of adults in 2008 to about 3% of adults in 2021. According to the report, more than half of the adult LGBT population is bisexual. Recent Gallup polls — The stigma still remains.

“Bisexuals are experiencing stigma not only from the heterosexual community, but also from the LGBTQ community,” said Jessica N., a researcher at the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, who studies LGBTQ well. Fish says. -Being. “The stereotype of confusion, it’s a phase, it’s indiscriminate, and they’re persistent on both sides. It can really affect someone’s mental health.”

It is difficult to understand the mental health experience of bisexual people, Dr. Fish and other experts said the study was limited and tended to focus on young singles, especially women. That said, some studies suggest that they may be suffering from a disproportionate amount.

A 2017 review of 52 studiesFor example, we found that bisexuals had a higher rate of depression and anxiety when compared to heterosexuals, and that these conditions were higher or equivalent when compared to those identified as gay. rice field. A 2019 Research Summary from the Trevor ProjectIs a national organization that provides critical intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ people under the age of 25, and concluded similar things among young Americans.

There is also Some evidence During the pandemic, bisexuals were much worse than heterosexuals and gays, with stress, loneliness, psychological distress, and fatigue. Poor mental and physical health than those identified as heterosexual or homosexual.

This disparity is often the result of the prejudices faced by bisexual people, Dr.The fish said, One study Starting in 2019, a large form of discrimination suggests “identity invalidation”, the idea that your sexuality is invalid or ignored. Studies show that much of this discrimination comes from gay and lesbian people, followed by families and heterosexuals. It can also have a direct impact on the mental health of bisexual people, including causing depression, stress, exacerbation or induction of anxiety (including panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorders).

Tania Israel, a professor of psychology studying LGBTQ health at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said:

Ethan Mereish, a psychologist and associate professor of health research at American University in Washington, DC, said that this kind of discrimination from inside and outside the queer community can discourage bisexuals from coming out. Said that you can create. They may be worried that they may not be able to find a welcoming community.

It can also be created Hostile social environmentIlan H. Meyer, a public policy scholar at the Williams Institute at the UCLA Faculty of Law, who can study LGBTQ health inequalities and discourage bisexuals from accessing community resources and support, said this is a mental disorder. It states that it may contribute to.

Jesse Miller, 27, a graduate student in sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who uses her / her or his / his pronoun, came out as bisexual at the age of 14 in a speech at a school rally. rice field. She doesn’t believe that both homosexual and heterosexual friends and family are really attracted to women, and she started telling her that she’s going through stages until her twenties. He said he was not ashamed of his sexuality.

“It was the other people who taught me that something went wrong with me and I didn’t know who I was,” she said.

MS. Miller said he was having a hard time finding a therapist who understood the conflicting emotions of bisexuality and internalized biphobia. “It’s impossible to find the right support,” she said.

If you are bisexual, and especially if you are bisexual and have a relationship with someone of the opposite gender, your sexual identity may not be apparent to the outside world, Dr. Mereish said. This can lead to a thorough decision on what to do if someone, including the therapist, automatically assumes you are straight. Do you need to fix them? Or should I be quiet and risk feeling like I’m erasing my identity? “There is this stress of having to make a decision, is this interaction worth coming out of me?” Dr. Mereish said. It can be a “psychologically burdensome process”.

Fish, bisexual people, according to the doctor Unlikely Disclosing their sexuality to people in their lives, rather than gay or lesbian people. But the stress of hiding your identity by not coming out can cause anxiety and fuel, she said.

Christopher Mackenzie, 46, a film professor at Boston University who admits to being bisexual, said he pays close attention to how bisexual people are portrayed on the screen. These depictions often perpetuate the stereotype that bisexuals are “deviations” or unreliable, how bisexuals see themselves and how others treat them. He said it could affect.

Mr. Mackenzie said it was difficult to reveal his sexuality during dating because of the stigma he faces. “The most challenging thing was not with my heterosexuals, but with the gay men I dated,” he said. “They see me like an alien,” he said. Mackenzie mentioned the moment after he told his gay partner that he was bisexual. When this happened, he said he sometimes felt like an outsider or someone who was “not taken seriously as a romantic partner.”

Many advocates provide resources and support. Bisexual Resource Center, A non-profit organization that connects bisexual organizations and people around the world, maintains a list of online and face-to-face support groups for bisexual people. again, Bisexual Health Awareness Month Every March, an online campaign to disseminate information about health discrepancies in the bisexual community. Trevor Project It also provides a crisis hotline and text lines.

Less than 1% of grants to LGBTQ organizations are directed to bisexual-specific groups, said Jessica Hugget Silberman, chairman of the Bisexual Resource Center.

Despite the stigma he experienced, Mr. Mackenzie also feels optimistic about the future. He hopes that in the future there will be a fairer media representation of the bisexual people, which may spur to make the queer community and heterosexual people more inclusive and acceptable. .. He looks forward to a time when he doesn’t feel the need to keep explaining who he is.

“For many, it’s all or nothing,” he said. “And that’s not how love works.”

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