Q. How interested are you in the details of what your colleagues do, and with whom, when they are not at the office?
A. Not at all, I’ve got a hundred things to get through on my things to do list and thinking about what Roger from Accounts gets up to in bed is neither of interest or value to my working day.
B. Mildly curious but only out of morbid curiosity because Roger from Accounts seems like a complete car crash of a human.
C. It’s the most important part of my job, forget the parts of my job description about delivering products to our customers on time and for a profit, I need all the details of where and in whom Roger pokes his snag. We’ll get on to the core business of the company once we’ve sorted the sexuality questions of every colleague.
If you answered (C), James Adonis wants you for a sunbeam;
Life as a bisexual man at work
By James Adonis
Barely a week goes by without some mention in the media about gay men, lesbians or trans men and women. The same applies in academic research. Of all the colours in the LGBTIQ rainbow, there have been countless studies on each of those letters except, it seems, the letter B, for bisexuals.
Oh oh, brace for incoming accusations that we are all awful people again for reasons we previously weren’t aware of.
What makes this a curious trend is that bisexuals comprise the largest proportion of this minority group and yet they “remain the most invisible and under-researched” of the lot. That’s the realisation that prompted a study due to be published soon in the Journal, of Vocational Behaviour.
Ah, another fine subject for free grant money research study, we are certain.
The researchers were intrigued by the experiences that bisexual employees encounter (or is that endure?) in the workplace. That intrigue stems from prior research which has revealed gay men and lesbians are six times as likely to be out at work than their bisexual colleagues. Bisexuals also report greater anxiety, stress, depression, panic attacks, compulsive behaviour and substance abuse.
Wait, more than transgender folks, those people with a suicide rate equivalent to inmates of holocaust camps and the gulags? Can we fact check this please?
In this latest study, which comprised more than 200 people, the bias against bisexual personnel was exposed as presiding quite strongly among gay men and lesbians, too. That’s surprising because it means it’s not just heterosexuals who actively discriminate but minority groups as well. In other words, those being discriminated against are themselves doing the discriminating. This is especially targeted towards bisexual men; far more than bisexual women.
More than 200 people we studied? Well, with a sample size that large we are clearly looking at a scientific endeavour that is on a par with the scale of the Human Genome Project.
These consequences arise due to a pervasive human need to categorise. People are either black or white, male or female, young or old, and of course gay or straight. To suddenly meet someone who doesn’t squeeze into a binary code is too confronting and confusing for many individuals – particularly when the person they’re meeting is a bisexual man – and so they subsequently perceive them as “indecisive, inauthentic and untrustworthy”.
Or maybe the 200 people you interviewed were unusually indecisive, inauthentic and untrustworthy regardless of where they stick their genitalia outside the office environment? Correlation or causation?
Here’s another point to ponder; humans are particularly competent at judging authenticity. It’s likely an ancient evolutionary feature that served our ancestors well. If your survey shows an unusual statistical trend towards judging these people to be inauthentic, why assume that it’s the fault of the observer and not a result of some characteristic of the observed?
As a result, the researchers believe there are serious implications for employers, specifically in relation to staff turnover and career progression. Faced with such discomfort in the workplace, it’s not unreasonable to expect bisexual employees to hop from one job to another seeking an escape from bosses who “reward stereotypically masculine behaviour by their male employees”.
Wait, what? Bosses reward stereotypical masculine behavior? In which fucking universe? Have you actually visited an office in 2018? They are about as masculine as a Liberace Christmas Special and have been for the best part of a decade.
Apart from the obvious implication of that last sentence – that the denigration of non-masculinity in workplaces should cease – it’s also recommended employers make space for bisexual employees in their diversity policies, staff associations, training programs and initiatives. To this day, they tend to be neglected.
Oh goody, more diversity training. That’s what this company needs to turn the shareprice around.
As someone who’s been openly gay at work for over two decades, this research has made me try to think of a bisexual colleague I’ve had, either from the past or the present. None spring to mind. There have been plenty of gays, lesbians, trans people and queer folk but not a single one who’s been out as bisexual. When reflecting on the statistic noted earlier, that bisexuals make up the greatest proportion of LGBTIQ people, that’s quite an astonishing realisation.
Or perhaps they didn’t find you attractive enough to make the effort to flirt with you?
If we work together, please don’t tell me about your sex life. No, really; I just don’t care. It’s not important to our relationship at work.
On a similar theme, I’d don’t want to know that you do Boot Camp, Cross Fit, are vegan, teetotal, Christian, believe in climate change, like quinoa, once met William Shatner, or any other number of facts completely irrelevant to our working relationship.
From the study’s own summary;
Our data reveal several important findings, the most striking of which is the divergence of experiences, attitudes, and outcomes between men and women who are bisexual.
People are different. Who knew?
First, we found evidence of more bias against bisexual men than bisexual women.
Your sample size was 200 people. So perhaps 100 bisexual men and 100 bisexual women? You’re drawing conclusions from a study that could fit in a village primary school’s assembly hall? Ah, science is fun.
Second, our data show that bisexual men are less likely to disclose their sexual orientation at work both prior to and during employment. Third, bisexual men report experiencing more workplace discrimination than do bisexual women, and they also report increased minority stress, psychological distress, and substance use.
Hang on, apart from for vacancies at brothels, when do sexual preferences get discussed at a job interview? Reverse that statement above and consider the legal case you’d be slapped with if, “…and which way do you swing?” was asked just after the obligatory, “….what previous experience do you have in this area?”.
Dear bisexual people, we’re just not that interested. Sorry.