Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Dec. 15th is Your Last Chance to Get Health Insurance


Dec. 15th is Your Last Chance to Get Health Insurance

Do you need health insurance? This is your last chance to get covered for 2019.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”), more LGBTQ people have health insurance than ever before. We’ve made big gains, but all of that is at risk.

  

If you are uninsured, visit HealthCare.gov now to see if you qualify for lower premiums. More than 80% of people get a discount on their premiums, and most can find health insurance for $50 to $75/month. You won’t know if you qualify unless you shop.

Just make sure you do so before the final deadline on December 15th. If you do not get covered now, you may be locked out of health insurance until 2020.

Already covered? Then we need your help to spread the word. The Trump administration won’t lift a finger to help our community—so it’s on each of us to get the word out about the December 15th deadline. Post on social media, forward this email, and make sure your loved ones are insured.   

Don’t forget—the final deadline to enroll in health insurance is December 15, 2018.

Visit HealthCare.gov today and make sure you and your loved ones #GetCovered.
To learn more, visit Out2Enroll, the national campaign to empower LGBTQ individuals and communities to get access to health care.

Beyond Visibility: What Kyrsten Sinema’s Victory Means for the Bi+ Community


Beyond Visibility: What Kyrsten Sinema’s Victory Means for the Bi+ Community

Media outlets and LGBTQ advocacy groups have been quick to celebrate Kyrsten Sinema’s election as Arizona’s first woman senator and part of the “rainbow wave” of out LGBTQ candidates voted into office this November. A few of those outlets and groups have even used the word “bisexual” in describing her historic victory as the first out bi person elected to the US Senate.



For bi+ community advocates, Sinema’s win represents a tremendous moment in our community’s history, and the culmination of years of hard work to increase visibility and fight stigma.

“When the public is given new images to replace uninformed stereotypes about what it means to be bisexual, it does wonders for making it easier for bisexuals to feel good about their sexual orientation and come out to themselves, and feel safe coming out to others,” says Harrie Farrow, a BiNet USA board member and newly elected out bisexual Justice of the Peace in Carroll County, Arkansas. “As with any movement, those in the forefront have the most difficult time, so I especially applaud Senator-elect Sinema's victory.”

Harrie Farrow

As advocates, we know that stigma against bisexuality is so strong compared to that against lesbian and gay people, and research has shown that we are much less likely to be out even to our closest friends and family. While we’ve seen out lesbian- and gay-identified people winning elections for decades now—including Tammy Baldwin, whom Sinema now joins in the US Senate—it hasn’t been as easy for openly bisexual candidates to find that kind of support. We also know from our lived experiences that meeting other out bisexual people and seeing out bi+ public figures makes it easier for us to live our truths openly.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

So yes, Sinema’s visibility, along with that of Oregon Governor Kate Brown— who became the first out bisexual governor in US History in 2015—are hugely significant and help reduce stigma against our community. But visibility is neither the end goal of our work as advocates nor the ultimate significance of Sinema’s win.  

Compared to lesbians and gay men, the bisexual community still has to contend with vast disparities related to physical, mental, and sexual health; poverty and employment discrimination; and alarmingly high rates of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and suicide. Moreover, while Sinema and Brown bring visibility to bisexual identity, they are both cisgender white women, whose identities and lived experiences cannot reflect the large portions of the bi+ community who are also people of color, transgender, non-binary, and/or intersex.

As BiNet USA VP Faith Cheltenham explains, “Bisexual movements have been a majority white-led, and some of the worst at recognizing intersectionality. Even now we see white bisexual speakers delivering bi presentations to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) on regular occasions. Just this past June, I watched in dismay as both Toronto and London Prides recognized bisexuals visibly, while at the same time receiving intense—and warranted—criticism from Black LGBTQIA communities. I and other bi+ people of color will not only be watching Sinema closely, but we'll be keeping a close eye on all those who might prize ‘bisexual visibility’ over truly intersectional progress that benefits us all.”

While we should certainly celebrate this ground-breaking moment in bi+ history, we must also push Sinema to take action in her capacity as a lawmaker on concerns that disproportionately affect bi+ people, including issues of economic and racial justice. Governor Brown, for example, has used her platform to speak about her own experiences with intimate partner violence—which affects nearly two-thirds of bisexual women, a much higher rate than lesbians or heterosexual women—and advocate for victims.


As such, the board of BiNet USA collectively calls on Senator-elect Sinema to be a strong advocate for issues like affordable healthcare and increasing the minimum wage, which can help alleviate our community’s disproportionate levels of poverty and poor access to medical services and insurance coverage.

We call on her to champion reforms that end the criminalization of people of color and address the egregious treatment of queer, bi+, and trans people who are incarcerated. And we humbly ask that, at every step, she considers the diverse needs of the bi+ community.

Congratulations to Senator Sinema, and we look forward to the work ahead!


Monday, December 03, 2018

Biphobia in the healthcare system is killing us

Biphobia in the healthcare system is killing us
By Dr. Beth Sherouse, BiNet USA Secretary




As bi+ community advocates, we’re often asked what “bi issues” are, exactly—what are the unique challenges that bi people face and where do we see the consequences of biphobia taking a toll on our lives. If there’s one issue that affects the bi+ community the most, it’s our health.

To put it bluntly, biphobia in the healthcare system is killing us. Compared not only to non-LGBTQIA+ people, but also to cisgender gay men and lesbians, bisexual people have significantly higher rates of a range of serious health problems. Moreover, we face serious obstacles in our attempts to access culturally competent and affordable health care.

As we rapidly approach the December 15th deadline for open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, this issue is particularly pressing. According to a 2015 survey, while lesbian and gay respondents were uninsured at a slightly lower rate than their heterosexual counterparts, bisexual people were less likely to be insured than either group. Additionally, while only 7% of lesbian/gay and heterosexual respondents reported that they had not obtained medical care in the previous year due to cost, 16% of bisexual people reported the same.

We also know from earlier research that bi+ people are much less likely than gay men and lesbians to disclose our orientation to our medical providers, which means that when we do manage to overcome our disproportionately high poverty and lower rates of insurance coverage, we aren’t getting the culturally competent care we need to have healthy lives.

BiNet USA works to educate bi+ communities about the importance of critical programs like the Affordable Care Act in part because so many bi, pan, fluid, queer and no-labeled people report astronomically high rates of poor health. For more information or to enroll in health insurance coverage before the December 15th deadline, visit www.healthcare.gov