As a bisexual man, I don’t believe that the sexual health needs of bisexual men are being met.
During the AIDS crisis, bisexual men were villainised, painted as a vector for disease. We were blamed for acting as a “bridge”, bringing a “gay disease” into the straight community.
This has had a profound impact on bisexual men, even to this day. Stonewall found that bisexual men are more likely to be closeted, even to healthcare professionals.
They also found that 21% of bi people said healthcare professionals didn’t understand their needs, and 22% experienced inappropriate curiosity when trying to access care.
I am lucky to not have had any negative experiences at sexual health clinics, but some are not so fortunate.
Multiple people I spoke to for my book, Bisexual Men Exist, told me of the bigotry they faced when accessing sexual health services. I myself have feared disclosing my own identity for risk of facing bigotry or erasure.
Whilst there are groups that work hard to provide help, information and resources on safer sex to people in the LGBTQIA+ community, this work is often targeted within LGBTQIA+ spaces.
As Stonewall found, 50% of bisexual men never attend their local LGBTQIA+ community venues or events. The fact that 18% of them experience discrimination in these spaces likely plays a part in this.
In the majority of cases, statistics for gay and bisexual men are combined. The specific issues faced by bi men are erased.
However, when we do look at the stats for bi men specifically, we see that they are less likely to receive HIV information, less likely to get tested, and less likely to take PrEP.
This is a serious issue. Queer communities need to work harder to rectify this inequality, and help bi men get the support they deserve.
Vaneet’s book, Bisexual Men Exist, is available now at Hachette.
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