Don’t Wanna Be All Bi Myself: Mental health & the bisexual+ community

They say don’t talk about politics or religion in polite company. I wish that meant Scott Morrison would STFU.

But it feels like the real subjects we’re not allowed to talk about are sexuality and mental health.

The bisexual+ community’s levels of psychological distress are well reported here, and while I can’t draw a line from cause to effect, it seems like a good thing to talk specifically about this distress.

We can normalise being attracted to multiple genders, and we can normalise talking about mental health – and reassure each other that we’re not alone.

On a personal level, I’m bisexual and was formally diagnosed and medicated for depression in my early 20s. I‘ve lived with it ever since.

I’ve had bouts of self-harm and suicidal ideation, but never a big turnaround. No breakthrough, no big, inspiring, feelgood story about how I overcame it.

It feels like my fault. If I just exercised more, ate better, was more grateful, tried harder, mediated mindfully, or… something. I also get anxious about (what I feel like are) stupid things, and have possibly undiagnosed ADHD.

I don’t ask for sympathy. I share because if you feel the same way, you’re not alone, and you don’t need to keep it secret.

Are any of these things caused by being bi+? No. But being bi doesn’t help; I’ve guilt, and shame, and anxiety, but it’s not like you can switch off attraction. And even if you could, would you?

This isn’t just about me.

Provisional psychologist Mx Logan said: “The impact sexuality has on mental health can be enormous. For me, the way that impact has threaded through my life has been in microaggressions.

“It feels frustrating to be erased or having my identity being assumed – particularly when trying to be supportive of loved ones during a difficult time, or feeling vulnerable.

“Going with my partners (who all identify differently in regards to their gender identities) to GPs or psychologists, health professionals often assume we’re siblings or very close friends because they can’t seem to assume queer relationships and dynamics exist.

“It’s exhausting to pick your battles, when to be visible, how safety is impacted, and weighing up the real world implications and threats to being out when you so badly just want to exist authentically.”

Laura, also known as Remus, gives talks on the subject of being gender diverse. Remus gave permission for this extract to be used:

“When I came out as non-binary, I knew no one in Perth who had done what I was aiming to. I had only worldwide and no local examples of how to navigate the discussions I began to have. I was cognisant, though, that I did not want my mental health to be conflated with my gender.

“On that intersection, these aspects are separate in that there is no causality. My mental health issues did not germinate a non-binary gender identity. Nor did my gender identity cause my mental health issues.”

And that’s as much as we can say right now while there remains a lack of targeted responses to the mental health of bisexual and non-binary people. Until then, just remember you aren’t alone.

Community is important. Find the Bisexual+ Community Perth at facebook.com/groups/bicommperth

Jay Chesters


Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyondblue: and www.beyondblue.org.au

QLife: and www.qlife.org.au
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

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