Throughout March, the Boston based Bisexual Resource Center will hold its sixth annual Bisexual + Health Awareness Month. The focus of this year's campaign will be bisexual representation in media, politics and advocacy, and its impact on everyday people's lives.
According to Alexandra Bolles and Laura DelloStritto, co-leads of the Bisexual Health Awareness Month campaign, BRC is the oldest nationally focused bisexual (pansexual, fluid, queer) organization in the U.S. The organization advocates for everyone in the bi community, regardless of what label they use.
The organization's Board of Directors creates and hosts a variety of resources such as support groups, community events, and informative guides that equip the bi-plus community and allies to help it thrive. The organization holds several in-person discussion groups in the Boston area and attends several national LGBT conferences annually where resources are distributed and workshops on bisexuality are held. The Bisexual + Health Awareness month campaign was founded in 2014.
Bolles noted that bi people are often left out of traditionally gay or straight spaces, resources and advocacy efforts.
"We receive less than one percent of the overall funding supporting the LGBTQ movement and experience significantly higher rates of physical, emotional, and social disparities than our gay and straight peers," Bolles said. "All too often, people who are bisexual-plus are mistakenly or intentionally, mislabeled as gay, straight, or lesbian, or they are explicitly told that bisexuality-plus does not exist — this even happens in supposedly ‘LGBTQ’ spaces. This bisexual-plus erasure and repeated stereotypes work to invalidate bisexual-plus people’s identities, undermines our experiences, and does great harm to our community’s health.”
That inaccurate representation and exclusion is the primary reason Bi Health Month was created and why the campaign continues each year. This year's campaign is focusing on the lack of bi-plus representation in media, politics, advocacy, education, and health care.
"Our community needs accurate representation and affirming inclusion across these spaces in order to be able to fully thrive in all areas of our lives," Bolles said.
DelloStritto pointed to some of the health needs faced by bisexuals which need addressing, such as lack of funding, lack of research on bisexual health, under or misrepresentation of bisexuality.
“Bisexuals-plus face increased rates of interpersonal violence, mental health struggles, obesity, poverty, bullying, and lower rates of disclosure of sexual orientation to health providers," DelloStritto said. "The way the general public perceives bisexual-plus people is shaped by the often inaccurate ways we’re portrayed in the cultural narrative, which may sound abstract, but has real-world impact on how bisexual-plus people are treated and the opportunities afforded to us.”
DelloStritto hopes the month of March will be seen as a time for the people who identify as bi-plus to make changes in their life to improve their health.
“…and for our friends and family to learn more about our community’s health needs and how they can support us,” she added.
BRCis partnering with a number of organizations to celebrate the community and create informative content during Bi Health Month and beyond. Organizations include GLAAD, The Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, the National LGBTQ Task Force, as well as leading bisexual advocacy groups like BiNetUSA, the Bisexual Organizing Project, local groups around the country, and celebrities such as bisexual actress Sara Ramirez (“Grey's Anatomy”).
During the week of March 18, the BRC’s Instagram account will be taken over by actor David J. Cork and Dr. H. Sharif "Herukhuti" Williams, co-directors of "No Homo/No Hetero: Sexual Fluidity And Manhood In Black America,” an upcoming documentary. The film will explore the experience of being a black bisexual man in the U.S.
"We’re excited for them to take over the BRC’s Instagram (@bisexualresourcecenter) to discuss the importance of bisexual-plus visibility, particularly for Black bisexual-plus men, and how their film aims to foster unity at the intersection of racism, toxic masculinity, and biphobia," DelloStritto said. "They’re in the process of raising money to complete their important film, so we encourage everyone to donate, if they’re able."
Bolles and DelloStritto pointed out that people can join the campaign by following BRC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr to learn more about improving bi-plus health and engage with the campaign.
They urge people to make a positive change for themselves and share it online using the #BiHealthMonth hashtag, by taking time for self-care and by celebrating your identity, by telling a friend who might not know its Bi Health Month and explaining why it's important, by contacting BRC via email or on social media for content advice or to be listed as an official partner, or by donating to BRC.