Internalized Binegativity, LGBQ + Community Involvement, and Definitions of Bisexuality

Amanda M. Pollitt, Tangela S. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bisexual people can internalize stigma from both heterosexual and gay/lesbian communities, which often occurs in the form of monosexism, the belief that people should only be attracted to one gender. Although community involvement is protective for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer+ (LGBQ+) people, bisexual people may benefit more from bisexual-specific communities than LGBQ + communities because of monosexism. Further, how bisexual people define their identity may be related to internalized binegativity, especially given the historical invisibility of bisexuality in mainstream media and recent debates about the definition of bisexuality within LGBQ + communities. We examined LGBQ + and bisexual-specific community involvement, definitions of bisexuality, and internalized binegativity among an online sample of 816 bisexual adults. Multivariate regression analyses showed that those with spectrum definitions, which acknowledged a nuanced understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality, reported lower internalized binegativity than those with binary definitions, which described sexuality as consistent with mainstream norms. Involvement in LGBQ + communities, but not bisexual communities, was associated with lower internalized binegativity. There was no interaction between type of definition and type of community involvement. Our results suggest that broad community involvement may be protective for internalized binegativity, but findings should be considered in light of a lack of well-funded, local bisexual communities. The current study adds to a growing literature on sexual minority stressors among bisexual people, a population that continues to be understudied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-379
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Bisexuality
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bisexuality
  • community participation
  • minority stress
  • sexual and gender minorities
  • sexual identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

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