A new study has been released that states around 15 percent of people do not believe that bisexuality is an actual sexual orientation. The research was done at the University of Pittsburgh and even though the percentage seems to be low, bisexuals still are stigmatized by the broader community.
The researchers gave their results at a health exposition, and they stated that they found the general judgment about bisexuality was adverse, even amid people who were gay.
The study showed there can be negative consequences for both the physical and mental health of bisexual individuals because they are not likely to be believed. In fact, straight men are the least to think that bisexuality even existed. However, lesbian and gay contributors also displayed some disapproval toward the concept of bisexuality.
They learned that straight men were at least three times over the rest of the group to believe that bisexuality was not a true sexual orientation for people.
White people, women, lesbians, gays and bisexuals themselves were less likely to have undesirable attitudes toward bisexual individuals. However, it was found even in the LGBT community, there were many that were lesbian or gay who were more prejudiced to bisexual people than any who called themselves bisexual. Even here bisexuals were faced with intense stigma. It also showed that male bisexuals were likely to suffer additional stigma than female bisexuals.
But even with these beliefs, the study has found that heterosexual man and women each have serious reservations about bisexuality as a legitimate sexual orientation, and people of college age said that bisexuals are mostly “confused” or “experimenting”.
The study was given to just over 1,500 adults. In total, the respondents were mostly adverse in terms of their outlooks about bisexual individuals, with the 15 percent not agreeing that bisexuality was a true sexual orientation.
By having such legitimate data might show why a bisexual person decides to be secretive about his or her sexual orientation. This is something that might lead to greater changes of depression and numerous other harmful health outcomes. This information may be useful to people attempting to battle humiliation.
Bisexual men and women endure stigma, and discrimination from both the heterosexual and homosexual population, stated Mackey Friedman, who is one of the researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and is also a director of HIV prevention.
He noted that by hiding a person’s sexual personality can lead to severe mental health problems and substance abuse. It can also lead to lower rates of HIV testing and treatment and in turn there is a possible increase of HIV due to risky sexual behavior.
At this time there are about 1 million bisexual men in the United States. Out of all these, there are approximately 122,000 individuals that are believed to be HIV-positive.
Some of this has happened because of the stigma attached to bisexuality. It might make it harder for bisexual people to be able to connect to the general public socially. As was mentioned above, this might lead to the bisexual individual engaging in precarious sexual behaviors.
Even though the study shows that only 15 percent of the general public believes bisexuality is not an actual sexual orientation, it sure seems that there are many more people out there that truly think so.
By Kimberly Ruble