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Bisexual public acceptance at a neutral phase: study

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Bisexual public acceptance

Bisexual public acceptance at a neutral phase: study

Bisexual public acceptanceDespite wider public acceptance of gays and lesbians in the past years, others in the LGBT community haven’t been so lucky with bisexual public acceptance still at a neutral phase.

This was the conclusion of a recent study by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at the Indiana University.

Specifically, the study noted that the general public attitudes toward bisexual men and women are “relatively neutral” or “ambivalent.”

A study on bisexual public acceptance

Published in the online peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, the study examined attitudes towards bisexuals using a nationally representative sample.

This study was also the first to include together with heterosexuals a sample of members of the LGBT (gays and lesbians, as well as pansexual, queer, and other identity labels).

In the study, respondents were asked to relate to five statements of negative connotations associated with bisexuals historically. The result? About one-third responded “neither agree nor disagree” with the statements.

While respondents had more positive attitudes toward bisexual women as compared to bisexual men, those who identified as “other” sexual identities gave a more positive view of bisexuality.

This was followed by gays/lesbians, and then heterosexuals.

“While our society has seen marked shifts in more positive attitudes toward homosexuality in recent decades, our data suggest that attitudes toward bisexual men and women have shifted only slightly from very negative to neutral,” said Brian Dodge, an associate professor at Indiana University as well as the lead researcher of the study.

“That nearly one-third of participants reported moderately to extremely negative attitudes toward bisexual individuals is of great concern, given the dramatic health disparities faced by bisexual men and women in our country, even relative to gay and lesbian individuals,” Dodge said.

The causes of disparities may be due to negative attitudes and stigma, he added.

Bisexual public acceptance and visibility

Another problem is how visible bisexuals are in the public perception.

“While recent data demonstrates dramatic shifts in attitude (from negative to positive) toward homosexuality, gay/lesbian individuals, and same-sex marriage in the US, most of these surveys do not ask about attitudes toward bisexuality or bisexual individuals,” Dodge said.

“And many rely on convenience sampling strategies that are not representative of the general population of the US,” he added.

Currently, the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior noted approximately 2.6 percent of adult men and 3.6 percent of adult women in the US regarded themselves as bisexual.

For women, that’s higher than the number who identify themselves as lesbian (0.9 percent).

“After documenting the absence of positive attitudes toward bisexual men and women in the general US population, we encourage future research, intervention and practice opportunities focused on assessing, understanding and eliminating biphobia– for example, among clinicians and other service providers– and determining how health disparities among bisexual men and women can be alleviated,” he explained.

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