Workplaces, churches and other institutions are facing calls not to ignore bisexuals, following a report published yesterday (29 October) by the charity Stonewall. The report focuses on bisexual people in the workplace but has triggered debate about the wider recognition of bisexuality.
Stonewall's publication is supported by the Home Office and makes recommendations to employers for supporting bisexual workers and developing inclusive policies and procedures.
Stonewall say their research suggests that the experience of bisexual staff is distinct from that of lesbian and gay people. They say that lesbian and gay employee network groups often exclude bisexuals.
“For many bisexual employees it can be difficult to be open about their sexual orientation – particularly if they don’t feel that their employee network is supportive of bisexual staff” said David Shields, Stonewall's Director of Workplace Programmes.
“Bisexual employees, like all staff, perform better when they can be themselves”, he added, “By making workplaces more inclusive, everyone benefits and employers can make the most of the talent they have”.
The report appears to have triggered discussion on the place of bisexuals in other contexts, including churches.
Christian campaigners have suggested that churches often show even less understanding of bisexuality than of homosexuality.
“Being bisexual can often feel like being invisible, especially in a small community like a church, where we think we know each other very well” explained Sharon Langridge, a bisexual Christian living in Sheffield, “It can feel odd or pushy or inappropriate, to keep mentioning my bisexuality, and when I don't, it's forgotten until I come out all over again, to the same people”.
“I want all of myself to be involved in the life of my religious community” she told Ekklesia, “It makes such a difference when all of myself is remembered and welcomed into it”.