Bisexual women in relationship with straight men not likely to be out
Bisexual women who are in relationship with straight, cis men are far less likely to be out than other bisexual women, a new study has revealed.
The study, analyzing how bi women are affected by the sexual orientation and gender of their partners, surveyed 600 bi women who were in relationships with cis people.
Bi women who were in relationships with transgender people were not included in the study because the sample size was too small.
Bisexual women with straight men
The survey– which was published in the Journal of Bisexuality– asked bi women whether their partner was a straight man, a lesbian, a bi man, a bi woman, or nonexistent (meaning they’re single).
They were then asked to rate their outness on a scale of “out to nobody” (0) to “out to everyone” (4).
Speaking to NBC News, Casey Xavier Hall, a researcher at Northwestern University and the author of the study, said: “There is very little relationship research around bi people’s relationships.”
“There are meaningful differences in relationships depending on the sexual and gender identity of bi women’s partners,” Xavier Hall said.
The study revealed that bi women in relationships with straight men were the least likely to be out, as compared to bi women in relationships with lesbians or other bi women who were more likely to be out.
Bisexual women in other relationships
Meanwhile, bi women in relationships with bi men were somewhat more likely to be out. However, single bi women were about as likely to be out as bi women in relationships with straight men.
Xavier Hall said, “What’s unique about our finding is that bi women in relationships with bi men were also more likely to be out, compared to bi women in relationships with heterosexual cisgender men.”
“It’s about both the sexual and gender identity of the partner,” he added.
Another finding of the study was that bi women in a relationship with straight, cis men face the least discrimination, as compared to other bi women in other relationships.
Xavier Hall said that while the exact reasons for this finding are unclear, “The visibility of your identity could be at play. If you are visibly queer, you may experience more discrimination.”
What’s more, he said that bisexual women experience two forms of stigma: homophobia and monosexism.
LGBTQ people and discrimination
Previous research has reported that bi women in relationships with men face less discrimination as compared to those in relationship with women.
Bi women in relationships with bi men also faced more discrimination. The study said this could be explained by “vicarious discrimination related to her partner’s sexual identity.”
The study cited as example a bi woman who might get insulted for being in a relationship with a bi man. She might consider this as a form of sexual orientation discrimination against her.
Another finding of the survey was that bi women in relationships with lesbians were less likely to report depression in comparison to those in relationships with straight men.
Meanwhile, bi women in relationships with other bi women or bi men were about as depressed as those in relationships with straight men. However, single bi women were the most likely to report depression.
Xavier Hall said that research on bi people’s relationship have to consider both their partner’s gender and sexual orientation. He said: I think it is important to give voice to the experiences of bisexual people.”