E-Learning Module 1

Bisexual Inclusive Practice

Bisexual Inclusive Practice

This e-learning module aims to enhance understanding and promote inclusivity when interacting with individuals who identify as bisexual or fall under the broader bi+ umbrella. It covers various aspects related to bisexuality, including definitions and labels, mental health challenges, common stereotypes and discrimination faced by bisexual individuals, as well as strategies for providing bisexual-inclusive practice in professional settings.

By exploring the diverse experiences and identities within the bisexual community, the module seeks to equip learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to create safe and supportive environments for bisexual individuals. It emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and respecting the unique challenges faced by bisexual people, such as biphobia, invisibility, identity struggles, and relationship dynamics.

Overall, the module serves as a resource for promoting awareness, acceptance, and effective support for bisexual individuals in both personal and professional capacities.

IMPORTANT: Please see below information on how to complete this module.

  1. Read through the content on each page and complete the quizzes.
  2. Use the buttons at the bottom of each page to navigate forward to the next page or back to the previous page.
  3. This learning module can be completed on either a desktop/laptop computer or a mobile/tablet device.
  4. Once you have completed the module you will not be able to re-enter it - take notes as you go if you wish.
  5. The module cannot be saved - you must complete the module before closing your browser window.
  6. Once you have completed and submitted the module, you can expect to hear from BiPlus Australia to receive your certificate of completion within 7 business days.

No part of the learning material presented in this module is to be reproduced or distributed without permission from the copyright holders BiPlus Australia Pty Ltd.

We hope you enjoy this e-learning module and that it helps you to improve your knowledge and skills in working inclusively with bisexual people.

Your Details

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Quiz 1 Reading

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Definitions and Labels

Bisexuality is a diverse sexual orientation that incorporates people with a range of attractions, identities and sexual behaviours. The term bisexual (or more recently bi+) is often used as an umbrella term to describe people who are attracted to more than one gender and/or people who have had sexual experiences with more than one gender and/or people with a bisexual identity. Bi+ people can have equal attraction to all genders or varying degrees of attraction to each gender. They may have had intimate experiences with more than one gender, or only one gender or never been intimate with another person. Bi+ people might identify as bisexual or they might not.

Here are just a few examples of people who might consider themselves as bi+:

  • a person who is attracted to more than one gender and identifies as heterosexual
  • a person who identifies as bisexual and has had only same-sex sexual experiences
  • a person who is attracted to more than one gender, identifies as bisexual and has had sexual experiences with more than one gender
  • a person who has never had an intimate relationship and is unsure of, or curious about, their attraction to more than one gender
  • a person who identifies as gay or lesbian and has had heterosexual romantic attractions

As you can see, bisexuality can encompass a wide range of different experiences of attraction, identity and behaviour. When working with bi+ people it is important to understand this diversity in order to identify those who might be in need of greater support. Bisexual people have been found to experience very high rates of poor mental health and these findings are not confined to those who identify as bisexual but rather those who are under the bi+ umbrella. So, for example, recent research suggests that people are at greater risk of poor mental health if they are attracted to more than one gender even if they identify as heterosexual, gay or lesbian and have never acted on these attractions.

In recent years there has been a significant increase in identity labels that bi+ people use to describe their sexuality. Bisexual, pansexual and queer are the most common but there are many more and some people opt not to have a sexual identity. The most important thing to know about bisexual identity labels is that they are as diverse as the people who use them and should only be applied and defined by the individual.

  • Bisexual is the second most common sexual identity in Australia after heterosexual*
  • The number of people identifying as bisexual is increasing*
  • Bisexuality is more common among women than men*
  • Having a bisexual identity is much less common than experiencing bisexual attraction and/or bisexual behaviour
  • Approximately 1 in 10 people (10% of the population) report bisexual attraction*
  • Bisexual attraction and behaviour have been recorded across human societies since ancient times
  • The term 'bisexual' only came into use in its current form in the 20th Century
  • While bisexual attraction and behaviour are observed cross-culturally, having a bisexual identity is largely confined to Western societies
  • Having a bisexual identity is very common among transgender and gender diverse people (people whose gender identity is not necessarily consistent with their biological sex)
  • International Bisexual Visibility Day is celebrated annually on 23rd September

*2013 Australian Study of Health and Relationships

Quiz 1

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Quiz 2 Reading

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Bisexual Mental Health

It has been known for some time that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning and asexual (LGBTIQA+) people as a group experience poorer mental health than heterosexual people. Over the past decade researchers have broken the LGB sexuality group down to identify who among this population is most at risk. Despite this research being conducted across a range of different Western countries, using different study designs and varying sample sizes, one clear message emerges - bisexual people have a significantly higher incidence of poor mental health than lesbian, gay or heterosexual people.

Bisexual people have been found to have higher rates of mood disorders, psychological distress, self-harm and suicidality than other sexual orientation groups. The recent Who I Am survey (the largest bisexual research study to date with 2,651 respondents) found that approximately 1 in 3 bisexual participants had attempted suicide and over 60% reported high or very high current psychological distress. These rates are alarmingly high and it is essential that service providers and support workers are equipped with the knowledge they need to work effectively with bisexual people in order to provide the care they need and work towards improvement in these outcomes.

Who is most at risk?

The current evidence suggests that some bisexual people are at higher risk of poor mental health than others. When you are working with bi+ people, including those who may be bisexually attracted or behaving without identifying as bisexual, knowing which groups under the bi+ umbrella have been found to have the worst mental health outcomes can assist in identifying risk. These include:

  • Bisexual women and transgender/gender diverse bisexuals
  • Bi+ people in heterosexual relationships
  • Transgender/gender diverse bi+ people who are not connected to an LGBTIQA+ community
  • People who feel their sexuality is bad or wrong
  • Bisexuals whose partners are unsupportive of their sexuality
  • Bi+ people who identify as bisexual or pansexual

It is important to note when reading this list that bisexual people who do not fall into these particular categories have still been found to have poorer mental health than gay, lesbian or heterosexual people. When bisexual people have been compared to one another the above list indicates some particularly high risk groups.

It is not just bi+ people themselves that can require extra support. Partners of bisexual people can find it very difficult to come to terms with a disclosure of bisexuality or navigating a relationships with a bisexual person in the context of negative stereotypes that exist about bisexuals. In addition, parents of young bisexual or bi-questioning people can need assistance to better understand bisexuality and how to support their young person. Bisexual people do better when the people around them are accepting and supportive of their sexuality, so working with the people that are important to bisexual people is a critical part of improving outcomes for bi+ people.

Quiz 2

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Final Quiz 3 Reading

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This page has focused on challenges faced by bi+ people. It is important for anyone providing a supportive service to a bisexual person to be aware of the challenges they may face in their lives in order to identify areas of potential stress. Despite these challenges, there are many positives that can be associated with being a bi+ person including a sense of freedom from societal constraints, emotional empowerment, a feeling of strength from overcoming adversity and joy at being able to love without gender boundaries.

Final Quiz 3

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