Coming out as bisexual tougher
A new study shows that coming out for bisexual people can be more problematic than for lesbians and gays.
The study published in March in the Journal of Marriage and Family, conducted by UNL (University of Nebraska – Lincoln) sociologist Emily Kazyak, found that cultural perceptions and stereotypes have more impact on bisexuals' coming-out experiences than those of gays and lesbians.
“Stereotypes of bisexuality are pervasive and often negative or over-sexualized, and most research ignores bisexual identity or lumps it together with gay and lesbian sexual identity.”
"We know that there are certain stereotypes about bisexual identity that are different from gay and lesbian sexuality. Our hunch was that bisexual people really have a distinct experience in coming out to family members, given those stereotypes attached to bisexual identity."
Forty-five people who identify as bisexual were interviewed for the research. Researchers found that perceptions of how family members viewed bisexuality caused the interviewees to react in one of three ways: to not come out at all; to come out as gay or lesbian; or to come out as bisexual. Perceptions of bisexuality also affected to whom the person decided to come out, and how those family members responded.
“Bisexual identity may be more difficult to accept because of monosexism, the belief thatpeople can only be gay or straight.
“We really have this sense that sexual orientation is something that is black and white and that you're either attracted to people of the opposite sex or you're attracted to people of the same sex.”
"Family members will say, 'Oh, it's just a phase,' or, 'You're confused,'" Kayzak said. "That's why a lot of people came out as gay or lesbian. They would say things like, 'I think this will be easier for my family members to understand.' They thought coming out as bisexual would be too confusing to their family."
[image Angelina Jolie who is bisexual and former lover Jenny Shimizu]