Bisexuals are at greater risk of depression

As a straight woman and gay rights supporter, I have to admit, I haven't given much thought about the bisexual community. I am ashamed to say I have thought, "Just pick a team.”

I was shocked to read that, although bisexuals make up the largest percentage of the LGBT community, they are the most likely to experience mental illness. And I hung my head in shame because I knew that I too had held a stereotype against them.

With this week being Bisexual Awareness Week, I figured it was about time that I educate myself.

Results of a project by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Social, Equity and Health Unit show that bisexuals experience discrimination from both the straight and gay communities and rarely have access to bi-specific resources.

We live in a world that is more accepting of gay people than ever before. But, still, it's difficult for many to understand what it means to be attracted to both sexes.

Maybe this quote by character Oberyn Martell from "Game of Thrones" can shed some light on how it feels to be bisexual.

When the character Olyver says to him, "Everyone has a preference,” Oberyn responds:

"Then everyone is missing half the world's pleasure. The gods made that, and it delights me. The gods made this... and it delights me. When it comes to war, I fight for Dorne. When it comes to love — I don't choose sides."
According to, bisexual women have a 46 percent chance of being raped, compared to a 17 percent chance for their straight counterparts and 13 percent for lesbians. They also have the lowest rate of social support when disclosing trauma. This is because bisexual women are sexually objectified in media and stereotyped as being slutty and pretending to be bisexual for attention.

Other shocking statistics, according to Health Research Funding:

  • Children who are abused are 6 times more likely to be bisexual than any other population demographic. 
  • In a 2009 survey of self-identifying heterosexuals, bisexuals were tolerated only slightly more than intravenous drug users. 
  • Most bisexuals won’t tell anyone about their sexual orientation until the age of 20. 
  • And, for teens that are bisexual, they are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and feelings than any other self-identified group.
Geez, no wonder they’re more likely to be depressed.

Last week, "True Blood" actress Evan Rachel Wood, who came out as bisexual in 2011, revealed on
Twitter the personal struggles she's faced with her sexual orientation.

"The reality is that bisexual people face discrimination not only outside of our community, but also from within. And that can discourage them from engaging in and benefiting from the work that LGBT advocates are doing to address our mental, physical and sexual health," she tweeted @EvanRachelWood.

"Bisexual adults have double the rate of depression than heterosexual adults, and are more likely to engage in self-harming behavior, including attempting suicide."

She said she has battled for most of her life with not being "gay enough" or "straight enough."

"I can assure you that whatever 'straight privileged' I sometimes get accused of having gets erased by biphobia," she tweeted. "Remember, bisexuality doesn't mean halfway between gay or straight. It is its own identity. ... Point being, its ok. We do exist. Don't let anyone make you feel unworthy. No one knows your journey but you."

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