Bi+ Visibility: Characteristics of Those Who Attempt to Make Their Bisexual+ Identity Visible and the Strategies They Use

Joanne Davila*, Jeremy Jabbour, Christina Dyar, Brian A. Feinstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

There are numerous forms of stigma that contribute to the de-legitimization and erasure of bisexual and other non-monosexual identities (collectively referred to as bisexual+ or bi+ identities). To reduce such stigma, efforts are needed to increase bi+ visibility. Little is known, however, about whether bisexual+ individuals attempt to attain greater bi+ visibility (i.e., make their bisexual+ identity visible to others) and, if so, how they do this. Using data from a mixed-method (quantitative and qualitative) internet survey study of 397 individuals reporting attractions to more than one gender, we examined the proportion who attempted to attain greater bi+ visibility, the strategies they used to do so, and factors that distinguished those who made bi+ visibility attempts from those who did not. Results indicated that 58% made bi+ visibility attempts, with the most common being direct verbal communication (e.g., telling others) and visual displays (e.g., wearing bi/pride clothing, jewelry, tattoos). Less common attempts included indirect forms of communication, engagement in LGBT-related activities, and public behavioral displays. Those who made bi+ visibility attempts differed from those who did not on variables related to identity (e.g., centrality, self-affirmation, community connection) and internalized binegativity. Implications for understanding the reasons for and for not making bi+ visibility attempts, as well as the potential consequences of doing so, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-211
Number of pages13
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • Bisexual
  • Identity
  • Internalized binegativity
  • Minority stress
  • Non-monosexual
  • Sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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