Dr. Tania Israel, Professor of Counseling Psychology at UC Santa Barbara
For the past 20 years, I’ve been doing research on interventions to support LGBT individuals and communities, but only recently have I focused my work specifically on bisexual mental health. I am thankful that my 2015 TED Talk on bisexuality opened opportunities to be more engaged in bisexual advocacy and scholarship, including delivering invited talks and attending the first White House Bisexual Community Policy Briefing. Most recently, I had the pleasure of co-editing with Jennifer Vencil a special issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy on bisexuality and relationships.
It’s clear to me that we need specific focus on bisexuality. The invisibility, isolation, and stigma bisexuals experience make them particularly vulnerable to mental and physical health challenges and other negative life experiences. When my research team at Project RISE developed bi-specific online interactive activities that reduced internalized stigma, bisexuals were eager to participate and appreciated having content specific to their experience. Given that bisexuals are the largest sexual minority population and that they face the greatest mental health problems, it is shocking how few bi-specific interventions exist, how little funding goes to research on bisexuality, and how under-informed medical and mental health providers are about bisexuality. I’m so glad Bisexual Health Awareness Month is shining a light on this important issue!