What does ‘bi’ mean?
Bi is an umbrella term used to describe romantic and/or sexual attraction towards more than one gender of people. People under the ‘bi umbrella’ may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including but not limited to: bisexual, bi, pan, and queer.
Why do we need to be more bi-inclusive?
Bi people are less likely to be out at work than lesbian and gay colleagues, and less likely to feel confident reporting bullying or harassment at work.
- Just 18% of bi people are out to someone at work, compared to 38% of lesbian and gay colleagues, and only half of bi men are out to anyone at work about their sexuality (Stonewall, 2018).
- Only 41% of gay and lesbian staff would feel confident reporting bullying or harassment, and that drops to just 28% for bi staff (Stonewall, 2020).
- 47% of bi students have received negative comments from other students because they’re bi, and 7% have been physically attacked (Stonewall, 2020). Bi people are also subject to many harmful myths and stereotypes specific to bisexuality.
How can we be bi-inclusive?
Warwick’s Rainbow Taskforce has compiled some helpful bi inclusion tips, to support staff and students at Warwick. Download our resource on:
- Bi Inclusion Tips . You can also download a plain text version of the Bi Inclusion Tips infographic .
- Bi Inclusion Tips - download images for sharing on social media .
- Bi Experiences .
Please share this resource with others at Warwick.
Bi Inclusion Tips
Think About Language
Follow the language someone uses to describe their own relationships and identity. There are many different terms that falls under the ‘bi umbrella’, including bi, pan, and queer. Use language which is inclusive of bi people, and doesn’t erase their experiences. The term ‘gay’ is not a catch-all term for the LGBTQUA+ community.
Stay alert to negative language and behaviour towards bi people, and challenge it when it is safe for you to do so. Engage with active bystander intervention training, to support your knowledge, skills and confidence to intervene.
See Individuals Not Labels
Bi people are not a monolith, and bi people have different experiences, identities and backgrounds. Bi men are sometimes accused of being gay men in denial. Ace bi people are often told that they can’t be bi because they don't experience sexual attraction.
Avoid making assumptions about someone’s identity on the basis of their current or previous partners’ identities. For example, a man dating another man is often assumed to be ‘gay’. A bi person dating someone of a different gender to themselves is still bi, not ‘straight’ or in a ‘straight relationship’.
Include Bi Perspectives
Explicitly include bi people in your work. If you are organising a panel of speakers for a sexuality-based event, consider whether you have included bi speakers. Consider how bi people’s needs may differ from other service users.
Engage With Bi Education
Engage with bi education and awareness efforts. Support the LGBTQUA+ Events Group at Warwick by attending and/or helping to organise activities for annual programmes such as LGBT+ History Month and Pride Month.
Why not also choose something additional to…
- An introduction to bisexuality, by The Trevor Project.
- 'The Bisexuality Report: Bisexual Inclusion in LGBT Equality and Diversity', by the Open University Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance and Faculty of Health and Social Care) .
- 'What bisexual people wish others knew about their sexuality' in GQ Magazine.
- 'Bisexual Visibility in the Workplace', by the Human Rights Campaign.
- 'The Kinsey Scale and the Klein Grid' by bi.org.
- 'The Bi Umbrella' by bi.org.
- 'Roadmap to bisexual inclusion', by Equality Network and Scottish Trans .