Bi-Erasure: Invalidation Spurring Mental Turmoil
THE FALSE DILEMMA OF SEXUALITY
With increasing research on sexuality being seen as a spectrum, culture seems to have remained stagnant. One still sees how people group others in a binary of what sexuality is, trivializing those who may find themselves in a position who can be attracted to men and women. Where bisexual women are just seen as edgy and experimenters who just need to find the right man, and bisexual men are just closeted gay men.
However, with such a view, we forget the real mental turmoil we impose on bisexual individuals as we actively invalidate their sexualities, and what that does to an individual’s self perception and overall mental health.
David Bowie confirming he's bisexual in a 1979 interview. Ahead of his time.
Even famous people are not immune from bi-erasure. Even after stating clearly that he identifies as a bisexual man, the woman in the interview still alludes to the possibility that he may just be gay and actually be using bisexuality as a cloak against this. Bowie’s frustration but obvious discomfort exemplifies the bisexual experience in our world. Where sexuality must be a binary (either heterosexual or homosexual), constantly reinforced by both heterosexuals and homosexuals, and leaving bisexuals in a solitary limbo.
HEALTH DISPARITIES AMONG BISEXUALS
One sees the first point as the most telling, where bisexuals experience “higher rates of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, compared to heterosexuals, lesbians, and gays”. And this comes as no surprise if one considers Bi-Erasure, where bisexuals have been invalidated in both the heterosexual and the lesbian/gay community. Because despite lesbians and gays of course facing backlash from heteronormative society, they still have each other to empower and uplift one another. That can’t be said for a bisexual, where even within the LGBTQ+ community, many constantly just group them as gay, lesbian, and queer-baiting.
Bisexuals thus may feel alone in their experience as they navigate their sexuality, which consequently leads to them enduring a more arduous mental turmoil compared to lesbian, gay, and of course straight people. Hence, why they experience higher rates of mental mood disorders.
AYANA AND BISEXUAL VALIDATION
We at AYANA are committed to providing adequate mental health services to all, including those who may experience isolation from all facets of society (including from the communities presumed to be for them). AYANA seeks to provide bisexuals a therapist which can analyze their inner battles, where their sexuality finds barriers from both the straight and LGBTQ+ community, and how this stands as an impetus for their mental issues.
We want to provide therapists that effectively treat their patients with care, attention, and great intimacy when it comes with their issues, rather than simply treat them in a generic way which usually only appeals to those who identify as cis, heterosexual, and white. Everyone deserves to have a stable mental health, and with equitable, culturally-competent therapy, everyone can achieve that deserved mental state.