Category: Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender Issues

Symposium

Self-Perceived Attitudes of Heterosexual and Gay/Lesbian Individuals Toward Bisexual U.S. Men and Women

Saturday, November 18
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Aqua Salon C & D, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: L / G / B / T | Stigma
Presentation Type: Symposium

Introduction: Researchers have hypothesized that health disparities among bisexual individuals may be fueled in part by negative attitudes, prejudice, and discrimination from heterosexual gay/lesbian individuals (i.e., biphobia). Previous studies of biphobia have focused on heterosexual and gay/lesbian individuals’ attitudes, without considering bisexuals’ own perceptions of others’ regarding their sexuality. Additionally, prior research on bisexual individuals has been largely based on convenience samples, with limited generalizability.


Methods: As part of the 2015 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), online questionnaire data were collected from a nationally-representative probability sample of 2,999 adults (18 and over) from across the U.S. For these analyses, we focused on data from 94 self-identified bisexual adults (61 women and 33 men). We included a modified version of a validated scale (BIAS-b) that measures biphobia, followed by an open-ended textbox in which more detail could be shared. We analyzed quantitative data using descriptive and gamma regression methods and open-ended textbox data using standard qualitative techniques.


Results: The internal consistency of the BIAS-b was high (α=0.85), the mean scale score was 15.04 +/- SE 0.77 (range=0-30). Participants endorsed varying agreement with statements regarding others’ perceptions toward their bisexuality, including confusion, HIV/STI risk, incapability of monogamy, promiscuity, and instability (“just a phase”). These themes were further amplified in participants’ textbox descriptions. More negative perceptions were reported in the Midwest and by multi-racial/other participants, but gender did not influence perceptions.


Conclusions: In a nationally-representative sample of self-identified bisexual adults in the U.S., we found a range of perceptions of attitudes toward bisexuality, primarily neutral to negative. Findings document the persistence of negative perceptions experienced by bisexual individuals in the general population, as well as the need for interventions to promote tolerance toward bisexual individuals among heterosexual and gay/lesbian individuals and communities.

Brian Dodge

Indiana University Center for Sexual Health Promotion

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Self-Perceived Attitudes of Heterosexual and Gay/Lesbian Individuals Toward Bisexual U.S. Men and Women



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