Monro, Surya (2012) ‘It was so brilliant’: Bisexual people’s wellbeing and the importance of the organised bisexual community. In: BiReCon 2012: Bisexuality and Mental Health, 9th August 2012, Bradford University. (Unpublished)

Bisexual peoples’ experiences of mental health problems appear to be closely related to factors such as the public erasure of bisexuality and a lack of public spaces that are specifically ‘bisexual’. Common experiences include feelings of not belonging anywhere, of rejection and stigmatisation by gays, lesbians and straight people, and in some cases of disbelief in bisexuality as a viable identity. In the face of biphobia, organised bisexual spaces such as BiCon are extremely important for the positive identity formation, and mental wellbeing, of some bisexual people, especially for bisexual people who have been previously isolated. This can be theorised using social interactionism, which suggests that interaction with other people is key to the development of our identities. However, in the UK, organised bisexual spaces tend to have very distinct subcultures and ways of doing things, which are connected with patterns of institutional racism, classism and ageism, as well as a valorisation of certain alternative cultures. Also, many bisexual people are not involved in organised bisexual spaces, for a number of reasons. The challenge remains to create a more inclusive bisexual ‘scene’.
This paper reports on initial findings from the UK part of a research project about bisexual identities which has involved (to date) interviews with 26 bisexual people with a range of ethnicities, backgrounds and ages. The project is being conducted primarily to support the production of a book (Bisexual Identities, Palgrave MacMillan forthcoming 2014).

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