Paul Divall Simmons

By Paul Divall-Simmons

Co-Chair of Spectrum Network (LGBTQ+)

Bi people are often the forgotten part of the LGBTQ+ community and being bisexual, is commonly assumed to be the same as lesbian and gay. Bisexual identity is frequently made invisible or dismissed as something that doesn’t exist, by people both inside and outside of the LGBTQ+ community.

Bisexual individuals often face negative stereotypes, such as being greedy, manipulative, incapable of monogamy and unable to make a decision, which is dismissive and unfair about how individuals actually feel about their sexual orientation and identity.

The assumptions about bi people are also gendered. Bi women are more likely to be viewed as ‘actually straight’, their sexual orientation merely a performance to attract straight men, whereas bi men are frequently seen as going through a ‘phase’ on the way to coming out as gay.

Research by published last month indicates almost half of bi men (46 per cent) and a quarter of bi women (26 per cent) aren’t open about their sexual orientation to anyone in their family. In our workplaces numbers are likely to be similar, leading to uncomfortable conversations, when asking about family or partners, as bisexual people may feel the need to hide their true identity.

Clearly society, the LGBTQ+ community and our workplaces such as British gas and Centrica, have a lot of work to do, in order to make our bisexual community comfortable talking about, and even disclosing their sexuality. Within Spectrum, we also want to make sure this underrepresented group are also accepted and feel they can bring their ‘Whole-Selves’ to work, without fear of ridicule or misunderstanding.

That's why Spectrum is happy to support Bisexual Awareness Week and Bi Visibility Day on September 23rd, to ensure both our bisexual community and their allies are comfortable in the workplace. 

At the same time, by sharing information such as this we can help increase understanding across our business and others like it, ensuring bisexual colleagues feel empowered to play a valuable part in the workplace and continue to contribute to our success. 

Let's ensure we make all workplaces comfortable, safe and accepting, so our colleagues can say with confidence, “This is me”.