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The Bisexual Invisibility Report

Published in March 2011, the Bisexual Invisibility report (perhaps more aptly called “the bisexual erasure report” or the “monosexism report”*) is the first report about bisexuality to have been released by a government body in the US. Without a doubt, this is one of the most important texts to have ever been published about bisexuals. Its importance cannot be overstated, as this is one of the only published texts today addressing the material results of monosexism and biphobia on the lives of bisexual people. And just as this report is important, the content thereof is both saddening and infuriating. I’ve gathered a few of the report’s findings, in hopes to shed light on these material effects. In this, I seek to further stress my argument that monosexism is a widespread oppressive system influencing bisexual people in many walks of life.

* I generally oppose the form “bisexual invisibility”, as I believe that “invisibility” is not a trait inherent to bisexuality, but is rather actively socially constructed by bisexual erasure.

Some facts about bisexual health:

Bisexual people experience greater health disparities than the broader population, including a greater likelihood of suffering from depression and other mood or anxiety disorders.
Bisexuals report higher rates of hypertension, poor or fair physical health, smoking, and risky drinking than heterosexuals or lesbians/gays.
Many, if not most, bisexual people don’t come out to their healthcare providers. This means they are getting incomplete information (for example, about safer sex practices).
Most HIV and STI prevention programs don’t […] address the [specific] health needs of bisexuals, much less those [who have sex with people of more than one gender] but do not identify as bisexual.
Bisexual women in relationships with monosexual partners have an increased rate of domestic violence compared to women in other demographic categories.
The report states a wide-scale research performed between the years 2003-2007 in which the researchers looked at health disparities between lesbians and bisexual women, and found that:

Bisexual women showed significantly higher rates of poor general health and frequent mental distress, even after controlling for confounding variables.
Bisexual women were more likely to be current smokers and acute drinkers.
Some facts about bisexual mental health:

The researchers in the above survey also compared between the frequency of mental distress for lesbians and bisexual women in urban and nonurban environments. They’ve found that whereas “[i]n nonurban areas, lesbians and bisexual women experience similar levels of frequent mental distress, the odds of frequent mental distress decrease significantly for lesbians in urban areas, while [becoming] nearly double for bisexual women” (emphasis in original). The researchers theorize that the reason for this is that gay and lesbian communities are more well-organized in urban areas, contributing to the isolation of bisexual people who experience rejection while seeking support, once outside of their home communities.

Another disturbing fact is that bisexuals are far likelier to feel suicidal than heterosexuals, gays and lesbians. One Canadian research found that whereas 9.6% of straight women and 29.5% of lesbian women reported feeling suicidal, suicidality among bisexual women was found to be as high as 45.4%. As for men, whereas 7.4% of straights and 25.2% of gays reported suicidality, bisexuals who reported suicidality made up 34.8% of the respondents. (Unfortunately, this research does not differentiate between cisgender and transgender people, and leaves out people of non-binary genders).

Another research, this time in Britain, found that young and middle-aged bisexual adults reported poorer mental health than any other sexual orientation group examined. The researchers even go as far as saying that “[p]revious studies may have overstated the risk of mental health problems for homosexuals by grouping them together with bisexuals.”

Some facts about bisexual poverty and economic oppression:

The wide-scale health research which I mentioned above also found some disturbing information about bisexual poverty:

Bisexual women had significantly lower levels of education, were more likely to be living with income below 200% of the federal poverty level, and had more children living in the household.
Bisexual women were significantly less likely to have health insurance coverage and more likely to experience financial barriers to receiving healthcare services.
Another research, this time in California found that “while gay men earned 2-3% less than straight men and lesbians 2.7% less, bisexual men earned 10-15% less and bisexual women nearly 11% less.”

A 2009 study about poverty analyzed data from three surveys, and found that “bisexual women are more than twice as likely as lesbians to live in poverty (17.7% compared to 7.8%), and bisexual men are over 50% more likely to live in poverty than gay men (9.7% compared to 6.2%)” (emphasis in original).

Another form of economic oppression which the report identifies is lack of funding: in years 2008 and 2009, out of over 200 million dollars given by US foundations to LGBT organizations as grants, not a single dollar in all the country went towards funding bisexual-specific organizations or projects. This “LGBT” money did not “trickle down” to bisexuals, either: a survey conducted by the editors of the report, found that most LGBT organizations in San Francisco (who were willing to reply to a survey about bisexuality) do not offer content that is targeted specifically towards bisexuals. This is added by another finding: that whereas bisexual people make up the single largest group among LGBT’s, “only 3-20% of the people accessing LGBT-focused services are bisexual.”


When looking at this information, it becomes clear beyond doubt that deep, severe and wide-scale oppression of bisexuals exists. A huge part of this oppression, of course, is enabled as result of bisexual erasure and of monosexism – the social presumption that we all are or should be monosexual. This information sheds light on the social punishment system working on people who disobey society’s monosexual rule. Bisexual erasure contributes to this oppression since bisexuality is not acknowledged as a sexual identity, bisexuals are not acknowledged as a group, and meaning that uniquely bisexual issues likewise undergo erasure. The information in this report points both to the lack (not to mention disprivilege) and to the great need of addressing and acting on/against issues specifically related to bisexuals, biphobia and monosexism.


Sexism and racism in outer space

Attempts to reflect equality and diversity in our messages to extraterrestrials is a waste of time

How do you address extraterrestrials in outer space? The main problem with this is that there may not be any extraterrestrials out there to address. The next problem is that, if there are any, they will be unimaginably far away. According to Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute in Oxford, the nearest star that could potentially accommodate life is ten light years from Earth, or (I hope I’ve got this right) about 60,000,000,000,000 miles. So even if there are aliens living out there, and even if they receive and understand whatever message we send them and decide to answer it, we would probably have to wait about 200 years for their reply — or so Mr Sandberg told the British Science Festival in Bradford the other day.

The prospects for contacting aliens seem so hopeless that it’s amazing that anyone would bother to try, but there are people still pursuing this goal with dogged determination. And at the British Science Festival the focus was not on the futility of the effort but on the nature of the message that aliens should be sent.

One can see why people should want to believe in extraterrestrial life: it does indeed seem strange that whoever created the universe with its millions of heavenly bodies should have chosen only this one little speck of a planet as a home for living things. On the other hand, there is still no evidence of life anywhere else. So to worry about the kind of message to send these possibly non-existent, and almost certainly unreachable, creatures in outer space seems rather premature. Nevertheless, the main concern in Bradford was to avoid misleading aliens about the nature of life on earth.

The last message fired off into space in 1972 took the form of a plaque attached to the Pioneer 10 spacecraft, which has now left the solar system and is zooming along to no one knows where in the far reaches of space. This plaque displays simple line drawings of a naked man and a naked woman, so as to give the alien who finds it an idea of what we earthlings look like. This greatly concerned Dr Jill Stuart, an expert on space policy at the London School of Economics, who told the science festival that it gave quite the wrong impression.

‘The plaque shows a man raising his hand in a very manly fashion, while a woman stands behind him, appearing all meek and submissive,’ she said. ‘We really need to rethink that with any messages we are sending out now. Attitudes have changed so much in just 40 years.’ Dr Stuart added that she would also feel ‘uncomfortable with sending out any images that include western-dominated material’ (though the drawings on the plaque look as if they could be of anyone).

I wonder what kind of image would be more representative of the world today: a drowning migrant, a Muslim extremist beheading a hostage, an American policeman shooting a black man? But Dr Stuart needn’t worry. Aliens are unlikely to have even the faintest idea what any image is about; as Mr Sandberg said, we don’t even know if aliens have eyes. And in any event, by the time any alien finds a new message, another 40 years will have passed and attitudes will have changed all over again.

Nevertheless, it is all worth thinking about, because a very rich Russian entrepreneur-cum-physicist called Yuri Milner is offering a one-million-dollar prize to the person who devises the best message to send into space on behalf of the world. He is also spending $100 million on a project to make use of the world’s best radio telescopes to listen out for any communications that aliens may feel tempted to make.

All this has breathed new excitement into the hitherto increasingly forlorn search for extraterrestrial life. I find it difficult to take any of it remotely seriously, but one million dollars is not to be sniffed at. If I can’t think of a winning message, as I fear I won’t be able to, I feel sure that some Spectator reader can.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated


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Kendall Jenner Photobombs Kim Kardashian’s “Booty Selfie”

Posted: 01/12/2014 10:07 am EST  |  Updated: 01/13/2014 12:25 pm EST


Kendall Jenner photobombed Kim Kardashian while the star was taking another booty selfie on Friday, Jan. 10 Credit: Instagram

Booty besties! Kim Kardashian isn’t the only one wanting to show off her curves. Her younger sister Kendall Jenner photobombed the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star during a selfie at the gym on Friday, Jan. 10.

kim-kardashian-absShe followed that picture up a booty shot, showing off her famous backside. Naturally, commenters are already swearing that the images are photoshopped, but after her bikini-clad cover of Us Weekly in December 2013, Kardashian seems to look au naturel in these shots. 

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