The release of interim results last week from the Workplace Survey in the UK, which acts to explore the work experiences of those who identify as “bisexual, pansexual, many-gender-loving or fluid desire” has shown that being bisexual causes individuals to be faced with a range of stresses and challenges far different from those who identify as lesbian, gay or even straight.
Indicating that bisexuality is far more broadly defined than most non-bisexuals understand, the survey showed that nearly one in five who describe themselves as gay or straight indicating clear bisexual behaviour or feelings with 53% identifying as female, 35% as male and 10% as queer with the majority came out to themselves as bisexual between the age of seven and nineteen, something indicating a similar understanding of their own sexuality as with gays and lesbians.
In regards to the workplace, individuals were more likely to be openly bisexual where a company’s non-discrimination policy included both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression and more likely to hide it when the non-discrimination policy covered just sexual orientation.
Concerning concerns in the workplace about being bisexual, half of respondents felt that bisexuality was misunderstood by co-workers, and on top of facing many of the same issues as gays and lesbians, respondents also felt there was a further discrimination because they were seen by both gays and heterosexuals are not belonging to either group leading to mistrust. On top of this they felt their personal relationships were also under more scrutiny with there being more gossip in the workplace if they left a partner of one sex and became involved with someone of another sex. They also felt these attitudes filtered into their work life with them being seen as unreliable and therefore less likely to be chosen for promotion.
Also finding that transgender people were seen as being most accepting of bisexuals, the survey to date uses preliminary data set of 800 respondents with final results will be published in a 2011 issue of the Journal of Bisexuality.