Trigger warning: heterosexual people being garbage.
Bisexual people put up with more harmful stereotypes than most gay or lesbian people, and even though it’s 2018, unfortunately, some of those stereotypes just won’t die.
The Journal of Sex Research ran a new study on how heterosexual people view bisexuals, and the results were alarming. According to the study, the straight identified participants were more likely to view bisexual women as “confused, promiscuous, non-monogamous, neurotic, extraverted, and less agreeable” than straight or lesbian women.
Conducted by Alon Zivony of Tel Aviv University, the surveyasked participants about “romantic potential” while considering bi and lesbian women, referencing descriptions of them while on dates.
“On the one hand, society habitually ignores bisexuality,” the researcher told PsyPost of his findings. “Whenever a person professes any bisexual tendencies, they are automatically categorised as ‘gay, straight, or lying.’ On the other hand, bisexuality is associated with immaturity and inability to maintain a relationship. My hope is that shedding light on this prejudice can help reduce it and the heavy toll it takes on bisexual individuals.”
What’s interesting is that many participants weren’t even aware of such stereotypes surrounding bisexual people. Rather, straight people tend to deduce such assumptions based on what they know about typically male or typically female behavior.
“Bisexual stereotypes seem to be deduced based on the idea that men and women are opposites,” Zivony said. “If one holds two opposing attractions, then it stand to reason that this person will be confused. However, it is becoming clearer and clearer that gender should not be viewed two dichotomous and opposing categories. Once we let go of the idea that gender is binary, it’s easier to see why bisexuality cannot determine a person’s personality.”
Because of stereotypes and damaging misconceptions, bisexual women experience a higher rate of mental health issues and suicidal tendencies, as well as being at a higher riskof intimate partner violence than lesbian or straight women.
Zivony thinks his findings will actually be helpful for the future of bisexual people and such stereotypesif we can identify the problem, we can solve it.
“It means that educating the public about bisexuality can help reduce prejudice, and therefore improve the lives of bisexual individuals,” he said. “As a society, we need to talk more about bisexuality.”