Did Bisexual Health Awareness Month Make Us Examine Our Own Health And Our Relationship With Our Doctor?
I will admit, I didn't know March was Bisexual Health Awareness Month. It came and went and I juts continued with my cis gay life. Do I shrug my shoulders and say, oh well, there seems to be a day or a month dedicated for anything and everything now, and move on?
We honestly need to stop treating the Bisexual+ community as the lower case confused child of the rainbow family. Why does it seem that the most prevalent comments about the bisexual community are that they just want it all, they are confused, and they just need to pick a side.
Enough is enough with that mentality. Haven't we as Ls and Gs an Ts heard too many comments just like those? As a gay man, how many times have you been asked if you've ever had sex with a woman and if the answer is no, they seem totally shocked that you never tried it and move forward with saying you should?
But what if some of these off the wall, degrading, confusing questions came from your doctor?
GLAAD.org recently posted a piece called "Six Things Bisexual+ People Are Tired Of Hearing From Their Doctors."
1) “Wow, being bisexual must make dating so easy, you’ve got all the fish in the sea.”
2) “Are you sure there is no way you could be pregnant?”
3) “You don’t need STD/STI testing because you’re in a same-sex relationship, right?” or “I think we should run some STD/STI tests, just in case.”
4) “When was the last time you had sex? I mean… real sex?”
5) “So you’ve been in a relationship for a while now. You’re not bisexual anymore? Finally picked a side?”
6) “Don’t worry, I experimented some back in college too, I know how it is”
So imagine hearing these comments from a professional that is there to help you protect your health. Knowing these questions and the attitude toward Bisexuals is a negative, degrading one, do bisexuals even "come out" to their doctors? Maybe you have heard these questions from your own doctor?
The Human Rights Campaign marked Bisexual Health Awareness Month by highlighting the startling health disparities facing the bisexual community:
- HRC’s 2017 Youth Survey conducted with the University of Connecticut is not yet published, but preliminary insights reveal that bisexual youth are more likely to avoid exercise, smoke cigarettes, and more frequently feel irritable and depressed than their lesbian and gay peers. Additionally, bisexual youth were less likely to disclose their sexual orientation to their doctors and health care providers.
- HRC’s 2015 report Health Disparities Among Bisexual People found that when compared to their heterosexual, lesbian and gay peers, bisexual adults reported double the rate of depression and were far more likely to engage in self-harming behaviors.
- HRC’s 2014 report Supporting and Caring for our Bisexual Youth found that bisexual, queer and pansexual youth were less likely than their lesbian and gay peers to report feeling happy, and more likely to experience being excluded and harassed.
- In partnership with BRC, BiNetUSA and the Bisexual Organizing Project, HRC Foundation’s issue brief, Health Disparities Among Bisexual People, highlighted these disparities, which include higher rates of cancer, heart disease and obesity, and higher rates of HPV and other sexual health issues, likely stemming from a lack of access to preventative care and not being out to medical providers.
- The Williams Institute also found that bisexual people are far less likely than their gay and lesbian counterparts to disclose their sexual orientation to their medical providers, leaving them at risk of failing to have access to a full range of medically-necessary care.
Are we asking doctors to be verse in all the challenges the LGBTQ+ community may face. Well, actually, yes.
We're asking doctors to do the best they can, and if they are at their limit of knowledge, refer us to someone that can do more, that can assist more. But we are asking for a level playing field and an open minded playing field.
Once again, I didn't know March was Bisexual Health Awareness Month, but it does raise a question, a personal one for me. Am I afraid to find a doctor that doesn't respect or know how to deal with me being a gay man?
I moved to Florida over 4 years ago and I have not been to a doctor yet. Eye and teeth, yes, those are taken care of, but an overall health doctor/physician? No. I have not taken the step to do the research to see what doctor may be accepting of me being a man and liking men. If this is such an issue for me, I cannot imagine what it is like for a bisexual person, a transgender person, or any other member of our alphabet, besides the more "accepted L and G" members.
Bisexual Health Awareness Month can affect us all, even if we aren't a B.
Have you been open with your doctor about your LGBTQ+ ness?
How did you go about selecting a doctor?
Or did you keep your family doctor and just "come out" to them?
Have you left a doctor because s/he could not handle, understand, or help you because of your sexuality?