When we start off trying to figure out what we are, where we fit on scale of things, which color we are on the rainbow, do we examine "the others" in a different light than we put on ourselves?
With more acceptance and understanding of gender fluid, transgender, and using words like cis, have we embraced so many new parts of our sexuality rainbow and alphabet soup of identities, are we still a little behind on the big ol' B in the room? How are we doing with bisexuality?
‘Gay in denial’, ‘pick one’ and ‘it’s just a phase’ are just some of the insults that Lewis Oakley is subject to.
One of the biggest health issues facing bisexuals is their mental health, according to The Bisexuality Report.
Bisexual people are prone to higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide than any other sexuality. These findings were largely found to be linked to the negative attitudes people hold and inflict on bisexual people.
‘It’s one thing to say these words, it’s quite another to see them projected on to someone’s body like this. Sometimes we need a visual reminder of what we are doing, these are comments said to bisexuals every day. Sometimes you have to hold a mirror to society and show them the consequences,’ said Lewis. – Metro.co.uk
Do you personally know any bisexuals? I know that sounds like a weird question, but I think it is an important one. Bisexuals receive so much negativity from others, even from those that are "different" like us, just as different as them. You don't have to personally know a transgender individual to respect transgender rights.
I think the only people I personally know that have identified themselves as bisexuals are the male bisexuals I've slept with. Wow, that's a statement, but it's a true one. Are you far off from my truth?
Is it my fault that I do not know more bisexual people? Is it that many, even though they are honest with themselves, fear being honest with others because they are afraid of others not understanding their sexuality?
Lewis added: ‘We love to pat ourselves on the back as a progressive society, but that idea falls flat when it comes to bisexual men. People’s first question shouldn’t be, which one do you prefer? Or, you know you’ll end up gay right? Especially when research shows men are far more likely to be bisexual than gay. The amount of times my girlfriend is told I’ll leave her for a man is beyond frustrating.’
‘Bisexuals get a double whammy of prejudice, with large amounts of both straight and gay people believing us to be promiscuous, confused or simply that we’ll never be satisfied dating just one person. These assumptions are not true and i’m hoping people might see these images and ask themselves why they have these negative views of Bisexual people.’ – Metro.co.uk
For more on what photographer Tom Dingley has to say about the shoot and projecting the common insults people use against bisexuals onto Lewis's body, head over to Metro.co.uk .
For those who don’t see the severity in mocking bisexuals it may shock you to know that current figures suggest bisexual men are 6.3 times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual people.
They are also 50% more likely to live in poverty than gay men and eight times as likely to be in the closet at work compared to lesbian and gay counterparts.
I think many of us need to let go of all of these questions, beliefs, digs we have about bisexualism.
What are your thoughts?
Are we ready for a prominent powerful bisexual presence in the LGBT community?
Is the bisexual population the more mocked part of our rainbow family?
For more about Lewis and his work,head over to lewisoakley.com .
Photos by Tom Dingley