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Updated: Apr 25, 2022

What is Bisexuality?

Bisexuality is the attraction to more than one gender.

Many sexualities are often considered subgroups of bisexuality, such as pansexuality (attraction regardless of gender identity or attraction to all gender identities). However, it is worth noting that not all people agree that pansexuality falls under the bisexual spectrum. According to the 2020 US Census, 4.4% of Americans identify as bisexual. That's over half of all LGBTQ+ Americans!

How old is bisexuality?

Bisexuality is not something new.

Fragment of an Attic cup showing same-sex intercourse, 550-525 BCE (Image Source: Collection the Louvre Museum)
Fragment of an Attic cup showing same-sex intercourse, 550-525 BCE (Image Source: Collection the Louvre Museum)

Records of homosexuality date all the way back to even before ancient Roman times. Mesolithic rock art in Sicily from 9700 B.C. depicts phallic male and female figures in pairs. Around the same period, drawings from the Neolithic and Bronze Age featuring sexual depictions were found in the Mediterranean area. These portrayals are shown to represent a human figure having breasts and male genitals or without sex distinguishing characteristics.

According to the novel Female Homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome, same-sex relationships and intercourse were also well-documented in both ancient Rome and ancient Greece, and it was often expected for men to be attracted to both other men and women. However, the evidence about female homosexuality is limited, with its mention in Greek and Roman literature being scarce.

What issues do people who are bisexual face?

Even though bisexuality has been around for a very, very long time, there are sadly still problems bisexual people face:


Also known as bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility, this is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media, and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bierasure can include the belief that bisexuality itself does not exist.

According to the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, the lack of acceptance towards bisexuality plagues not only straight individuals but also lesbian women and gay men, as well. Their study found that participants often used the words “confused,” “different,” and “experimental” to describe bisexual people.

What are some symbols of bisexuality?

Triangle Badges

Some people who identify as bisexual use a derivative of the pink triangle, one of the first symbols of homosexuality, which were forced upon gay and lesbian individuals in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

Homosexual men were required to wear an inverted pink triangle, while those who were homosexual and Jewish had to wear an inverted pink triangle overlapping a yellow triangle. When these symbols were reclaimed by some gay men in the decades that followed, some bisexual men and women began using a variation that added a blue triangle, forming purple where the two overlap.

Bisexual Flag

A more common symbol of bisexuality today is the bisexual pride flag, first designed by Michael Page in 1998. It has a large magenta stripe at the top, a large blue stripe at the bottom, and a thinner lavender stripe in the middle.

Page said the following when describing the meaning of the design: “The pink color represents sexual attraction to the same sex only (gay and lesbian). The blue represents sexual attraction to the opposite sex only (straight), and the resultant overlap color purple represents sexual attraction to both sexes (bi)... The key to understanding the symbolism of the Bisexual pride flag is to know that the purple pixels of color blend unnoticeably into both the pink and blue, just as in the 'real world,' where bi people blend unnoticeably into both the gay/lesbian and straight communities.”



Oxford University. (n.d.). Bisexual Meaning. Lexico Dictionaries.

Anderson, L., File, T., Marshall, J., Mcelrath, K., & Scherer, Z. (2021, November 4). New Household Pulse Survey data reveal differences between LGBT and Non-LGBT respondents during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from

Boehringer, S. (2021, September 7). Female Homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome (1st ed.). Routledge.

Erasure of bisexuality. GLAAD. (2014, September 21).

Hydzik, A., McGrath, C., & Zellner, W. (2013, November 5). Considerable gender, racial and sexuality differences in attitudes toward bisexuality. EurekAlert!

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (n.d.). CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM IN NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS. Holocaust Encyclopedia.

Zane, Z. (2021, June 15). 6 facts you never knew about the BISEXUAL FLAG. Gay Pride - LGBT & Queer Voices.

Page, M. (1999, December 5). The History of the Bi Pride Flag. Retrieved from

Jones, J. M. (2021, February 24). LGBT Identification Rises to 5.6% in Latest U.S. Estimate.

GSS data Explorer: NORC at the University of Chicago. GSS Data Explorer | NORC at the University of Chicago. (2018).

Considerable gender, racial and sexuality differences exist in attitudes toward bisexuality. Graduate School of Public Health. (2013, November 5).

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