There is a saying that everyone knows at least one gay person, but, chances are, you know two bisexuals for every gay person you know.

This past week was Bisexuality Awareness Week, a week of celebrating culture and raising awareness about bisexuality and everything that pertains to our shared commonality. Bisexuality Awareness Week was recognized from Sept. 19-26 and centered around “Celebrate Bisexuality Day,” which is celebrated annually on Sept. 23.

The bisexual community is an amazing group of people, but this doesn’t disregard the fact that bisexuals endure a host of problems that come from both our straight and gay counterparts which is often rooted in “bi-erasure,” or the elimination of bisexuality as a legitimate sexuality.

Bi-erasure makes it difficult to address the challenges bisexuals face, which is alarming because out of the people who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, over half report identifying as bi. Lack of recognition leads to a multitude of severe issues that affect bisexuals across the board.

Constant demands to “prove” our sexuality not only make being openly bi more difficult but create a culture that does not comprehend the human capacity to love a person regardless of gender. Reports conducted by the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC), BiNet USA, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and other LGBT organizations found that bisexuals face a disproportionately high number of disadvantages compared to our homosexual counterparts.

Bisexuality has been poorly represented in our society by both mainstream and LGBT cultures. This can leave bisexuals feeling outcasted and alone in our identities, which can lead to more severe mental issues that are often disregarded because of bi-erasure.

Because of tribulations most bisexuals endure in our lifetimes, we are more likely to keep our sexuality hidden from important people in our lives such as family and friends. A Human Rights Campaign report found that bisexuals are more likely to fall victim to drug abuse/experimentation, mental health, mood disorder, self-harm and suicidal tendencies.

A MAP report found that bisexuals are also more likely to have reported being sexually assaulted (46% of bisexual women have experienced rape and 47% of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence/assault), myself included. The same report found that bisexuals also tend to get sexually assaulted at younger ages, between the ages of 11-24.

These serious issues are all too often overshadowed by the stigmas and stereotypes that come along with the bisexual label. This lack of acceptance is hurtful to our identities and only further isolate bisexuals.

We are constantly labeled as promiscuous people who are confused about our identities, and we are just taking advantage of heterosexual privilege. Bisexual men are supposedly not allowed to be bisexual and are just gay men in hiding. Bisexual women are often objectified as a straight man’s sexual lesbian fantasy. These ignorant generalizations only add on to our already mountainous pile of problems; Bisexuals are simply people who are attracted to and can love people across the gender spectrum.

Bisexuality Awareness Week is a great week to dedicate to bisexual visibility, but we need more than a week of recognition to even begin tackling the uphill battle we face. A step in the right direction is to accept bisexuality as a distinctive sexuality and learn more about bisexuality as a sexuality. For more information, visit GLAAD.org/reference/bisexual.

Related Stories

More from Ethan Pham Managing Editor

Ethan Pham Managing Editor

Summertime typically marks the annual preparation for a majority of incoming, first-time college students. These students are bombarded with information…

More In Opinion

Rudy Sanchez Assistant Managing Editor

Last Wednesday Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer— turned righteous whistleblower— for Donald Trump, tried to set the record straight…