How, When, and Why do Bisexual+ Individuals Attempt to Make Their Identity Visible?

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is ample evidence of and concern about the invisibility of bisexual + individuals, which results from the tendency to deny or ignore their identities. Recent research has begun to examine whether and how bisexual + individuals (an umbrella term that includes all individuals who are attracted to more than one gender, regardless of the specific identity label they use) attempt to make their identity visible to others. This study builds on prior research by exploring novel questions regarding how, when, and why bisexual + individuals attempt to make their identity visible, using data from an Internet survey of 715 individuals who reported attractions to more than one gender. Results indicated that participants were most likely to use bi + visibility attempt strategies involving indirect forms of communication (e.g., sharing things related to their identity on social media) and direct forms of communication (e.g., telling others in person), though they perceived indirect communication as less successful at communicating their identity to others than direct communication. They were most likely to make bi + visibility attempts in situations with other bisexual + individuals or in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender contexts, as well as with partners or when single, and they did so for reasons related to a sense of activism or pride. Future directions for research and barriers to bi + visibility are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Bisexual
  • Disclosure
  • Identity
  • Visibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology(all)

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