The Art of LGBTQ HiringAugust 22, 2021
Celebrating LGBTQ History Month in Your OrganizationSeptember 30, 2021
Bisexuality is a sexual orientation that is still largely misunderstood. This week marks Bisexual Awareness Week, which aims at educating people about bisexuality, as well as ending biphobia and monosexism in society. One of the biggest issues we hear from bisexual people is how difficult it can be to find acceptance in their workplace. As an ally, you can help combat this by educating yourself about what true bi-identity means and talking to your co-workers about why it's important to be an ally to all LGBTQ employees.
What is Bi-Sexuality
There are many misconceptions surrounding LGBTQ communities including the idea that bi people are just gay people who haven't come out yet (or straight people experimenting). The truth is that there's more than one type of attraction when it comes to sexuality.
Bisexuals are often mistaken as being attracted equally or even more so towards both genders when in reality many bisexuals have preferences just like anyone else on the spectrum of sexuality! They may prefer one gender more than the other but feel that they need to be with someone of the gender they don't prefer in order to have a "legitimate" relationship.
It's important for all people, even if you are not bisexual yourself, to understand how bi-identity can look different from person to person because it is still largely misunderstood by society at large. Bisexuals are just as much of a diverse group of people as any other part of the LGBTQ community, and their needs should be taken into account when interacting with them
How to be an ally in the worplace
We're all allies in some sense. When we treat everyone with respect, no matter their background or identity, that's being a good ally. But for Bisexuality Awareness Week specifically, you can help combat biphobia by educating yourself about what it means to be bisexual and talking to your co-workers about why it matters. It doesn't take much time or effort on your end - just some education!
Reflecting deeply on your own assumptions about bisexuality can help you see where any bias could be coming from and how to address it with other people. There are a lot of ways you can show your support for bi employees, here's the top six:
- Educate yourself by reading up on bisexuality and the challenges bi people face.
- Listen to bisexual people when they tell you about their experiences, and take it seriously. No judgments!
- Be patient. It might take time before everyone starts using inclusive terms or phrases, but this isn't something anyone should be shamed for. You will make mistakes as an ally sometimes, so just apologize and keep trying!
- Create an inclusive environment by asking others about their sexual identity in a non-judgmental way and letting them know it's okay to be who they are. This will help you better understand your co-workers, which can make the workplace more welcoming for everyone.
- Speak up! If you see and hear offensive remarks, correct them by saying that's not appropriate language to use around here or simply don't laugh along with it.
- Stand up for your co-workers when they are in a situation where they are being discriminated against.
You might be able to help someone out by being a good listener, understanding their situation, or providing the resources they need without making them feel uncomfortable! There is never too much of this in the workplace; we should always try to make sure everyone feels comfortable coming into work every day knowing they're valued and accepted.
As an ally, there may not be many opportunities for direct action on behalf of bisexual people (though if you see any please don't hesitate!), but there are plenty of ways you can speak up as a co-worker when biphobia rears its ugly head: participating in educational sessions offered during Bisexual Awareness Week, sending a letter, or stopping by the office to socialize with your bi co-worker.
Resources for more information on how to be a better ally
Here are some great resources that can help you on your path to Bisexuality education:
- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has a long list of Bisexual specific resources here.
- PRIDE has an extensive list of books and articles regarding the Bisexual experience. Find it here.
- And of course, there's no reason not to take a look at the Wikipedia page on Bisexual Awareness Week.
Bisexual Awareness Week is a week to show bisexual people and their allies that they are appreciated, accepted, and supported. You can be an ally by educating yourself about what it means to be bi or queer-spectrum; speaking up when you hear biphobic comments in the workplace; and being inclusive with all groups of employees--not just those who identify as bisexual! It doesn't take much time or effort on your end: educate yourself so we can make this world better for everyone. We're always stronger together!