Attitudes to Bisexuals Shift from Negative to Neutral

writing-1149962_960_720A Study by Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion has found attitudes towards bisexual people are slightly better than previously.

The study, led by Brian Dodge, associate professor in the Department of Applied Health Science and associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University’s School of Public Health in Bloomington, is to be presented today at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver, Colorado.

The study is only the second to explore attitudes toward bisexual men and women — those with the capacity for physical, romantic and/or sexual attraction to more than one sex or gender — in a nationally representative sample. It is also the first to do so with a sample of gay, lesbian and other-identified individuals (pansexual, queer and other identity labels), in addition to those who identify as heterosexuals. The nationally representative sample was taken from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion’s 2015 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (sic), one wave of data from an ongoing population-based survey of adults and adolescents in the U.S.

“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”.

The study looked at five negative connotations, found in previous studies, associated with bisexual men and women, including the idea that they are confused or in transition regarding their sexual orientation, that they are hypersexual and that they are vectors of sexually transmitted diseases.

The research showed that a majority of male and female respondents, more than one-third, were most likely to “neither agree nor disagree” with the attitudinal statements. In regard to bisexual men and women having the capability to be faithful in a relationship, nearly 40 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.

Those who identified as “other” had the most positive attitudes toward bisexuality, followed by gay/lesbian respondents and then heterosexuals.

Age played a factor in the results, with participants under the age of 25 indicating more positive attitudes toward bisexual men and women. Income and education also played a role: Higher-income participants were more likely to report more positive attitudes toward bisexual men and women, in addition to participants with higher levels of education.

Overall, attitudes toward bisexual women were more positive than attitudes toward bisexual men.

“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,” Dodge said. “That nearly one-third of participants reported moderately to extremely negative attitudes toward bisexual individuals is of great concern given the dramatic health”.

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Libby Baxter-Williams

Libby is a 30-something Londoner, who spends more time reading picture books than is seemly. She became a bi activist entirely by accident, but now she can't imagine living any other way. In the event of an emergency, she'll have a large gin and tonic, thanks.
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