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"Bad" Bisexuals

“I Had Already Reconciled With Being a Slut When I Came out as Bisexual”: Experiences of Binormativity, Prototypicality, and Marginalization Within the Bisexual Community - Flora Oswald, Kari A. Walton, Julie Ayad, Aidan Hooper, & Cory L. Pedersen


Bisexual people encounter pervasive stigmatization resulting in significant negative health outcomes. To avoid stigmatization, bisexual people may attempt to resist stereotyping by acting in ways counter to common bisexual stereotypes (i.e., rejecting binormativity). The current mixed-methods study investigated the effects of binormativity through an online survey (N = 68, Mage = 31.56) completed by self-identifying bisexual individuals. Our quantitative findings indicated that conformity to binormative standards predicted feelings of identity illegitimacy, but also predicted lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. These findings were supported by qualitative data indicating many participants reported experiencing pressure to act either less or more stereotypically bisexual, and some participants reported experiencing shame or social identity threat due to their engagement in “stereotypically bisexual” behaviors (e.g., promiscuity). Furthermore, participants were generally reluctant to engage with binormative standards by labeling any behaviors as “bad” representations of bisexuality, instead endorsing the notion that all bisexual people are valid. Our quantitative and qualitative data collectively indicate that bisexual people navigate binormativity in their everyday lives and may experience negative identity outcomes related to binormative standards (e.g., identity illegitimacy), yet generally maintain a positive sense of identity and pursue an inclusive definition and community of bisexuality.

Article published in the Journal of Bisexuality,

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