Story at a glance
- A 100-word LGBTQ+ glossary for journalists failed to include definitions of bisexuality and pansexuality at first launch.
- Bisexual and pansexual erasure is rampant in LGBTQ+ discourse.
- Nearly 55 percent of LGBTQ+ U.S. adults identify as bisexual and, as of 2017, 14 percent of LGBTQ+ youth identify as pansexual.
A new online LGBTQ+ literacy tool launched last week to help journalists better understand and write about the community failed to include definitions of bisexuality and pansexuality, excluding two groups that are commonly left out of LGBTQ+ discourse.
The 100-word glossary, launched by the LGBTQ+ advocacy nonprofit VideoOut in partnership with the Google News Initiative and Men’s Health Magazine, aims to “transform the way journalists – and all of us – write and talk about LGBTQ+ people.”
But the tool at first launch left out definitions of bisexual and pansexual attraction, the LGBTQ+ newspaper the Los Angeles Blade reported.
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Nearly 55 percent of LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. identify as bisexual, according to a Gallup poll released earlier this year, and a 2018 Human Rights Campaign-University of Connecticut survey found 14 percent of a sample of more than 12,000 LGBTQ+ youth identified as pansexual.
This is not the first time these groups have been excluded from LGBTQ+ discussions, and bisexual and pansexual erasure is rampant in mainstream culture.
“I think, for some people, it’s hard to get their heads around this idea that sexual orientation doesn’t have to be either-or, that it’s not only being attracted to people of the same gender or of people of another gender, but that you could be attracted to more than one different type of person,” Brian A. Feinstein, an associate professor of psychology at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, told Health in March.
Erasure occurs when the existence or legitimacy of something is “questioned or denied outright,” according to LGBTQ+ media monitoring organization GLAAD.
Executive Director of VideoOut, Jordan Reeves, told the LA Blade the glossary is a “living and breathing resource” that will be altered and added to over time.
“We left out some terms and phrases at launch — bisexual, for example — that should have been included from the very beginning,” Reeves told the LA Blade.
“We are keenly aware of bi-erasure and the persistent confusion around bisexual identity,” he added.
Reeves was not able to provide an explanation as to how a team of language experts forgot to include two basic words from the LGBTQ+ community.
As of Tuesday, definitions of bisexuality and pansexuality had been added to the glossary.
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