For bi* people, being open about your sexual orientation can be complicated. Bi identities are often dismissed and rejected by people both inside and outside the LGBT community. Sometimes bi people are even faced with intrusive questions and negative stereotypes claiming that they are ‘greedy’ or ‘indecisive’.
These forms of discrimination can extend to the workplace, with bi people often facing distinct barriers. Stonewall’s recent LGBT in Britain workplace report found that 38 per cent of bi people weren’t out to anyone at work.
Common assumptions that bi people are either straight or gay often add an extra layer of difficulty to coming out. And there’s no doubt that bi visibility is still a problem in many workplaces. In the staff survey, only 21% of LGBT people had seen bi role models in their workplace.
As a result, bi people are often not very visible in workplaces. In Stonewall’s 2018 employee feedback survey only 23 per cent of LGBT people had seen bi role models at work.
But things are getting better. Employers are doing more and more to recognise and celebrate bi identities. Many of the employers that Stonewall works with are now training staff on bi issues, holding events to raise awareness, increasing bi representation on LGBT network committees and celebrating Bi Visibility Day.
Bi people across all sectors and regions have been crucial in this, stepping up as role models and making change happen. Employers are now recognising that bi experiences are distinct and diverse, and are ensuring that ‘B’ is seen as more than just a letter in ‘LGBT’.
*At Stonewall, we use bi as an umbrella term to be inclusive of pan, queer and other non-monosexual identities.