A psychotherapist told a woman that because she’s bisexual, it was her fault she had been raped.
This is just one out of the many bisexual respondents to a survey that has found over a third have been sexually harassed or assaulted because of their sexuality.
A new report, launched by Scottish LGBTI charity Equality Network, has suggested that bisexuals are likely to be harassed on the assumption they are ‘promiscuous’ or ‘unfaithful’.
38% of the 515 people survey said they had experienced sexual harassment, while nearly half had experienced biphobia will accessing mainstream services across the UK.
Nearly a third (28%) also felt uncomfortable telling their doctor they are bisexual.
One respondent said: ‘A nurse refused to treat me due to being bisexual. My mother overheard him saying to the senior nurse, "I refuse to treat her, she’s not normal and just greedy, she needs to decide what gender she loves, it’s unnatural to love both".’
Others also said they had experienced biphobia in the health service. One said a GP made a remark about "revolting faggots".
Researchers found two thirds (66%) of respondents feel they have to pass as straight and 42% said they felt they need to pass as gay or lesbian when accessing services.
But it was not just mainstream services, a quarter of bisexuals also said they had experienced prejudice when accessing services for the LGBTI community.
One respondent reported they had ‘heard lots of negative comments about bisexual people and dismissal of the need to include bisexual people’. Another respondent reported being told that bisexuals are ‘confused’ and not as good as ‘real gays’.
Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network said: ‘Unfortunately, as the report findings show, bisexual people are often misunderstood and discriminated against by many services.
‘This leaves them at high risk of not getting appropriate information and support. We hope that this report will help services to better understand and assist bisexual people.’
Sam Rankin, intersectional equalities coordinator and lead author of the report, said: ‘When explaining why bisexual equality is important and how people are discriminated against it is vital that we have robust data and real life examples to illustrate our points.
‘Now that we have these we, and others, will be better able to take more effective steps in providing appropriate, inclusive services.’