This column is under the capable supervision of Renate Baumgartner and Soudeh Rad. Renate Baumgartner is currently researching bisexual women and their experiences of discrimination in Vienna, Austria. She holds a Ph.D. in natural sciences, is a bi+ activist, and offers workshops for bisexual empowerment. Soudeh Rad is an Iranian gender-equality activist based in France and cofounder of Dojensgara.org, a website about bisexuality in Persian. Some columns will be written by Renate, some by Soudeh – and some by both. If there is research on bisexuality that you would like them to be aware of, please write to them c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being Bi: Italy’s First Research on Bisexual Health
By Soudeh Rad
In March 2017, the first survey on Italian bisexual people’s health awareness was launched by the newly-founded national organization, Mondo Bisex. Initial findings were released last September during Bi Visibility Month celebrations.
Mondo Bisex, themselves bi activists with various LGBT+ identities, sought to find out how people with diverse identities under the bisexual umbrella experience coming out, discrimination, and health conditions, using a hybrid and multidisciplinary approach.
The survey’s 48 questions were grouped into five sections: identity and relationships, sexual-affective awareness, interactions with LGBT+ communities, socio-demographic data, and sexual and mental health.
Mondo Bisex’s goal for the pilot research was to “inform, sensitize, educate, and collect the first data on bisexual health awareness.” They recruited more than 650 respondents by simply sharing an online survey in various social media groups and spaces.
Two psychologists with expertise in psychometrics donated their time to analyze the results, and found relevant data regarding bi coming out, discrimination against bisexuals in LGBT+ communities, suicidal ideation, and much more.
Mondo Bisex plans to conduct further analyses as they receive funding for the research project.
There were 627 respondents. 71% of the respondents were women, and 84% were under the age of 40.
82.3% of the respondents affirm having experienced attraction for more than one gender or sex at least once. Among these, only 61% claimed an identity under the bisexual umbrella, grouped and termed as “polysexual” for this study. Among self-identified polysexuals, only 44% had come out to anyone, and only 56% reported being completely out. Therefore, only 12% of the overall sample who indicated attraction for more than one gender was completely out.
Discrimination Against Bisexuals in LGBT+ Communities
Among polysexuals who indicated that they had participated in LGBT+ events and activities, almost half declared they had experienced some sort of erasure, discrimination, derision, and/or stigmatization at these events. Approximately 40% of respondents had never heard of an event dedicated to bisexuality.
Discrimination While Out as Bi
91% of people out as bi or pan indicated they have been judged because of their sexual orientation. Almost 20% indicated that they had experienced threats, property damage, or physical violence because of their orientation.
You can read a full report of the initial findings (in Italian) from Mondo Bisex’s study here: https://infogram.com/f7673d90-b105-4449-8018-76ef23b6202b. Thanks to Vera Di Santo from Mondo Bisex for working with us on this report, and for sharing her infographic.