Category: Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender Issues
The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community is at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, suicidality, and other mental health concerns, compared to the general population (Barnes & Meyer, 2012; Hershberger & D’Augelli, 1995). Internalized homonegativity and binegativity are associated with more severe mental health symptomology in gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals (Hoang, Holloway, & Mendoza, 2011; Shilo & Savaya, 2012). Research suggests that bisexual individuals are at a higher risk of internalized homonegativity, or more specifically binegativity, as compared to gay and lesbian individuals (Costa, Pereira, & Leal, 2013; Shilo & Savaya, 2012). Bisexuality is stigmatized in the gay and lesbian community and there is more stigma associated with bisexuality than with homosexuality in mainstream media (Johnson, 2016; Obradors-Campos, 2011; Weiss, 2003). In addition, bisexual individuals often experience discrimination and bi-erasure from both the heterosexual community and the gay and lesbian community (Mulick & Wright, 2002). These issues raise concerns for treatment efficacy of the LGB community, particularly bisexual individuals, and indicates that screening for internalized homonegativity would be beneficial for this population (Millar, Wang, & Pachankis, 2016). This study looks at the different facets of homonegativity in-depth.
Methods: This study had a sample of 178 sexual minority participants who were recruited via LGB social media websites. Of that number, 127 identified as gay or lesbian and 51 as bisexual or pansexual. Pansexuality refers to individuals who are attracted to a person irrespective of gender (Human Rights Campaign, 2013). The Clinical Measure of Internalized Homonegativity (CMIH) was given as an online survey. This measure includes four subscales: Sexuality Dissatisfaction, Discomfort with Disclosure, Community Disengagement, and Negative Stereotypes.
Results: Although bisexual and pansexual participants did not differ from gay and lesbian participants in their overall CMIH scores, t(158) = -.32, p = .70), they did differ on several subscale scores. Specifically, bisexual and pansexual participants (M = 16.28, SD = 7.40) had significantly greater levels of Discomfort with Disclosure than gay and lesbian participants (M = 13.72, SD = 6.53), t(171) = -2.25, p < .05. Bisexual and pansexual participants (M = 18.60, SD = 7.53) also reported greater Sexuality Dissatisfaction than gay and lesbian participants (M = 15.83, SD = 6.90), t(170) = -2.30, p < .05. Implications of findings and limitations will be discussed.