Press

Task Force addresses bisexuality and HIV/STI prevention in acknowledgment of National LGBT Health Awareness Week

Date: 
March 12, 2007

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Roberta Sklar, Communications Director
646.358.1465 (office)
917.704.6358 (cell)

Pedro Julio Serrano, Communications Coordinator
646.358.1479 (office)

Audio press conference: Tuesday, March 13
Call at 12:55PM (EST) for 1PM access

Release of Bisexual Health: An Introduction and Model Practices for HIV/STI Prevention Programming, a new report from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, BiNet USA and the Fenway Institute

What:
Audio press conference: Release of comprehensive report on bisexuality and HIV/STI prevention, in conjunction with National LGBT Health Awareness Week

Who:
Jason Cianciotto, Research Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Luigi Ferrer, President, BiNet USA
Report co-authors:
Amy André, Celebrated Author and Sex Educator
Marshall Miller, Founder, BiHealth Program, Fenway Community Health
Julie Ebin, Prevention & Education Programs Manager, Fenway Institute

When:
Tuesday, March 13, 1PM (EST)

Where:
To participate, please call 866.316.1363
Code: 5056542
Call at 12:55PM (EST) for 1PM access

Why:
“Bisexuality erodes the border between homo- and hetero-sexuality, but it is a boundary that society is heavily invested in maintaining,” according to Stephanie Fairyington (“Bisexuality and the Case Against Dualism,” The Gay & Lesbian Review, Summer 2005). Paula Rust, author of Bisexuality in the United States, says, “Westerners think in neat, discrete categories.” As Fairyington notes in her article, “We are not accustomed to thinking in the space between any two polarities.” The Task Force has broken the boundary and delved into the center of that space to produce a report that takes seriously the sexual health issues of bisexual men and women.

Despite government data confirming the existence of a significant bisexual population, sexual health issues affecting bisexuals and those who have sex with both men and women but do not identify as bisexual have been largely ignored and under-represented in academic and professional literature. Existing research shows that many bisexuals have negative experiences with health care providers, whether it is because they are afraid to come out to their providers or because their providers give them improper or incomplete information on HIV/STI prevention. According to a recent analysis of data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, which was sponsored by the Center for Disease Control, 1.8 percent of men and 2.8 percent of women ages 18 to 44 identify as bisexual. Additionally, 12.9 percent of women and 5.9 percent of men ages 18 to 44 said they were attracted to both sexes.

In the first half of the report, sex educator Amy André provides an introduction to the topic of bisexuality, which is followed by a brief review of available academic literature on issues affecting the health of bisexuals, with a focus on HIV and STI prevention. The second half of the report outlines the work of Marshall Miller and Julie Ebin at the BiHealth Program at Fenway Community Health in Boston, Mass., highlighting model policies and practices that health care providers and activists can replicate around the country.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.