When I was in my early teens working out my sexuality was constant struggle, I never had the internet to lean on, realising I was attracted to boys and girls around me would cause high stress and long-term mental health issues.
There were two options when it came to sexuality, you were either gay or straight, being bisexual wasn’t spoken about and for me something I didn’t know existed.
It was the 1990s and discovering bisexuality and being bisexual was a daunting task, by the time I had reached early adulthood I had endured depression and anxiety through my sexuality. From a young age I battled through the thought of being gay, to maybe I was straight and this is what all boys go through.
Australian statistics for bisexual men between ages 16-27 show 32% reported thoughts of suicide, with 9% attempting suicide. For women in the same age bracket, it is 27% and 10% when it comes to suicidal thoughts and attempts.
As the power of internet began to grow, social media emerging and being easily accessible, both have played major roles in uniting and providing LGBTIQ young people with the tools to figure out their sexuality without coming out of the closet to close family and friends.
It has also created visibility, not only for the LGBTIQ community, but the sub-groups of it.
Bisexual Visibility Day is September 23, since 1999 bisexuals have celebrated the day with pride in pink, lavender and blue displays. More recently the entire month of September has become a bisexual take over as groups and activists push the bi+ cause.
The takeover ignited by bisexual themed posts, published articles and support for the bi+ community has gained steam with prominent organisations starting to recognise a community that is often ignored in all social circles.
Major online payments company PayPal launched an ad campaign that had bisexual people going into a social media meltdown. A 15 second clip about not getting everything back, but you can on shipping costs, was a stroke of genius.
— PayPal UK (@PayPalUK) August 29, 2017
It continued the theme of the month, as Twitter Open showed their love for the bisexual community with profile photo and banner displays in the bi colours.
Social media plays a vital role in society and communities, it’s often a place where people can be themselves when they don’t have the ability to do so in everyday life. Expressing who they are and embracing their sexuality, people find a point of being through the internet.
When companies like Twitter and PayPal show inclusion and embrace minority groups it is a very powerful way to create acceptance and change to the world we live in. What might be looked upon as a small gesture and a very funny advertisement, can have a big impact on the closet bi+ person watching it.
If internet and social media was firmly established through the 90s, that teenager sitting in his room wondering who and what their sexuality was would have found comfort and acceptance at the click of a button. Now it is possible.
Reducing mental health issues in bisexuals isn’t solved in 15 seconds, but it’s a start, and for the young bi teenager sitting in their room isolated it could be the difference in self-harm and not. All they want is to be accepted, bisexual awareness on platforms that everyone uses will help in creating that.
I just wish it was bisexual month each and every month.