ETSU Diversity Educators will be hosting a coffeehouse community discussion on April 5 from 1-2 p.m. The discussion will concern the topics of biphobia and transphobia. Participants will gather together at the second floor of the D.P. Culp Center within the Multicultural Center. Attendants will be offered coffee and snacks. The discussion will be informal.

“These discussions give students a place to use their voices to address important topics like sexuality and transgender issues,” said Diversity Educator Jacqueline Duncan.

Biphobia refers to discrimination against people who self-identify as or are otherwise perceived as being bisexual. Even when partnered with someone of a gender other than their own, bisexual people can suffer from homophobia.

In addition, bisexual people are subject to unique sorts of discrimination. People of all sexual orientations may be under the impression that bisexuality is illegitimate and that bisexual individuals are simply “going through a phase” or “in denial.” It is not unheard of for people within LGBT+ communities to discriminate against bisexual individuals.

Bisexual people must also contend with the perception that they are sexually deviant and prone to carry STIs. Many feel that bisexual people make poor, unreliable partners, fearing that they may “run off” to be with someone of another gender at a moment’s notice.

“Individuals sometimes get lost in large communities like college campuses,” Duncan said. “When we allow the campus community a space to converse, we allow a space for learning, understanding, and mutual respect.”

Transphobia refers to discrimination against transgender people. Transgender individuals often suffer from homophobia on account of the perception that their gender identity correlates with homosexuality.

However, transphobia usually refers to a slew of issues specific to transgender people. They contend with both unintentional and intentional mislabeling. Many openly insist that trans men are not “true” men and that trans women are not “true” women. The forms discrimination commonly faced by transgender people are too many to name here.

Transgender people also suffer from near-incomparable rates of physical and sexual abuse/assault. They are disproportionately likely to face unemployment, poverty and homelessness. In addition, transgender people often find it unusually difficult to obtain healthcare and other services.

Transphobia can come from within LGBT+ communities. It is erroneous to assume that the people making up any given demographic automatically hold amiable views towards transgender individuals.

“I see these discussions as safe places where brave individuals can find a sense of community and share their experiences and perspectives,” Duncan said.

Biphobia and transphobia are certainly both topics worthy of communal discussion. Interested persons are welcome to attend the April 5 coffee house discussion free of charge.