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US: New report states bisexuals suffer higher rates of discrimination

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A report released Monday finds that bisexuals, who make up more than 50% of the LGBT community, are more vulnerable to poverty, discrimination, and poor mental and physical states than their gay and lesbian counterparts.

The report was released in conjunction with Bisexual Awareness Week sponsored by BiNet USA, the Bisexual Resource Center, and the Movement Advancement Project (MAP).

The report found bisexuals were four times more likely to attempt suicide, compared to their lesbian and gay peers, and experienced higher rates of employment discrimination. Bisexual men and women also reported having experienced more sexual violence than gays or lesbians.

Ellyn Ruthstrom, president of the Bisexual Resource Center, said the report found that bisexuals are more likely to stay closeted, which adversely affects their mental well-being.

She said: “The fear of being stereotyped manifests in a real way: bisexual people are six times more likely than gay men and lesbians to be closeted. This impacts the emotional well-being of many bisexual people and is a contributing factor to the community’s higher rates of poor physical and mental health.”

Faith Cheltenham, president of BiNet USA, believes the recommendations for support of bisexuals through advocacy, education, and programming offered in the report will help to erase stereotypes and discrimination.

She said: “Cultural competence and deliberate and thoughtful visibility will support the bisexual community and combat stigma and discrimination against bisexual people.”

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