Fenway Health would like to congratulate Tangela S. Roberts, an intern at the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center and graduate of The Fenway Institute summer research program, on the publication of her new study Between a Gay and a Straight Place: Bisexual Individuals’ Experiences with Monosexism. Her research shows that bisexual people are widely affected by monosexism, the privileging of sexual attraction to one sex or gender. This means that bisexual individuals face discrimination due to their sexuality not just from heterosexual people, but from within the wider LGBT community.
The study notes that subjects reported significantly more discrimination from the heterosexual community in comparison to the gay or lesbian community. However, the effect size reveals a small degree of difference. “Essentially it’s like saying that two people are yelling at you, but one voice is a decibel higher,” Roberts explained in an interview with The Daily Beast. “Yes, statistically one voice is more significant, but the difference between the two voices is small.”
Bisexual people are often painted with stigmatizing stereotypes by their gay and lesbian peers. Individuals reported being told that they must be “confused” about their sexuality and are more likely to cheat on a partner because of it. Study respondents expressed that they are often made to feel unwelcome in LGBT spaces. Without a sense of belonging in both the heterosexual and LGBT communities, face high rates of isolation and depression.
“[T]he fact that outness to family and friends was negatively related to antibisexual discrimination is concerning, suggesting that bisexual people who are out may be vulnerable to discrimination in many contexts,” the study noted.
We applaud Tangela on her impressive research and all she has done to shed light on this important topic. Work like hers helps break down barriers and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities. Congratulations, Tangela!
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