Improving services for bisexual people

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2015 National LGBT Conference
22 July 2015

Conference notes that of all the main sexual orientation groups, bisexual people are the most invisible and least provided for in terms of dedicated or fully relevant and inclusive services. Lack of evidence on bisexual people and services is both a symptom and a cause of wider bisexual invisibility.

Conference therefore welcomes the survey report ‘Complicated? Bisexual people’s experiences of and ideas for improving services’, published this year by the Equality Network, building on the work of the 2012 Bisexuality Report.

Key findings from the report include:

1. Although lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) services might be expected to be places where bisexual people would feel comfortable sharing their sexual orientation, 25% of respondents were not usually comfortable doing so;

2. Only 33% of respondents usually feel comfortable sharing their sexual orientation with their general practitioner and 28% never feel comfortable doing this;

3. 48% have experienced biphobia comments and 38% have experienced unwanted sexual comments about them being bisexual when accessing services;

4. The highest amounts of biphobia experienced were within LGBT and National Health Service (NHS) services;

5. A third of biphobic incidents when accessing NHS services related to mental health services;

6. 61% have experienced multiple discrimination – types of biphobia depend on other aspects of people’s identity.

Conference endorses the report recommendations which urge services to raise their awareness of bisexuality, biphobia and bi-erasure and take clearly visible bisexual inclusion actions.

Conference notes with dismay that incidents of biphobia at our own conference in recent years highlights the importance of this work and the need for further action. The report offers a roadmap to bisexual inclusion. This gives steps on research, support, language, training on dealing with biphobia, and celebrating bisexual identities and representation.

Conference calls on the national LGBT committee, working with the bi members’ network, to:

A. Continue our campaign to tackle biphobia in our workplaces, regions and branches;

B. Further promote bi visibility and bi inclusion and to challenge biphobia when it occurs;

C. Promote the roadmap to bisexual inclusion among branch and regional groups, encouraging its use for their own work and in campaigns on inclusive service provision;

D. Incorporate it into our work with other UNISON bodies and whole union negotiations and campaigns.