Back to overview

New research: Bi+ adults suffer from exclusion, invisibility and prejudice

Bi+ Netherlands

Press release research 'I was always non-standard'

Significantly, it is not until 2021 that the first-ever major national survey of bi+ adults in the Netherlands will appear. The approximately 1 million bi+ people who have feelings or experiences for people of more than one gender or sex, constitute the largest group within LGBT+. Nevertheless, they are often not seen and recognized in their sexual orientation. They also suffer from exclusion and prejudice in both straight and LGBTQI+ communities. These are some conclusions from the study "I was always not standard" published by Rutgers and the University of Groningen on October 7, 2021. It was based on interviews with bi+ people between the ages of 34 and 41. This research followed a survey of about 3,000 adult bi+ people.

Not by default, nor among themselves 

Many bi+ people always felt they were not standard and often felt misunderstood. The usual straight, gay and lesbian pigeonholes do not fit their feelings and experiences. At the same time, bi+ or bisexuality is not always seen by others as a good or real possibility. Among bi+ people, there is great variation in how they experience, express and name their sexual, romantic and relationship orientation. Not everyone calls themselves bi, pan or bi+.

Invisibility, exclusion and prejudice

All bi+ people suffered from not encountering examples and stories of bi+ people in their childhood and it was not talked about. Or the perception was negative and this hindered easy sexual development. They felt strongly about the norm of being monosexual (either falling on one sex or gender). Positive and obvious visibility of bi+ people is still limited in media, sex education and education. Bi+ people often do not feel seen or recognized as bi+ in their environment. They also face prejudice, which can cause them to experience exclusion in both straight and LGBTQI+ circles. An encouraging and understanding partner can be important in discovering and shaping a bi+ orientation.

Finding acceptance, support and safe space 

Acceptance and support from their immediate environment and like-minded people is important, but often lacking for bi+ people. LGBTQI communities do not always feel safe and inclusive, while specific bi+ communities still barely exist and are missed.

Catch-up for bi+ emancipation needed

This research shows that bi+ emancipation needs to catch up. Barbara Oud, president of Bi+ Netherlands: 'It is essential that there is more positive visibility and diverse representation of bi+ people through stories and role models in the media, education, sex education and the workplace. Also, restrictive social norms that many bi+ people encounter need to be addressed, such as the norm of monosexuality and relationship norms. Finally, bi+ people must have greater access to safe and inclusive communities.

Bi+ Netherlands also believes that legal improvements are needed. While lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex people are protected against discrimination in the General Equal Treatment Act, this still does not apply to bi+ people. The promised change in the law is long overdue. In addition, for some of the bi+ people, legal recognition of multi-parenthood is important, as is expanded legal recognition of relationship forms.