Application of Bisexuality Research to the Development of a Set of Guidelines for Intervention Efforts to Reduce Binegativity

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Abstract

Binegativity (the stigmatization of bisexuality) from both heterosexual and lesbian/gay populations remains a prevalent and pervasive form of discrimination. Due to the unique content of binegativity, the invisibility of bisexuality in society, and the dual sources of binegativity from heterosexual and lesbian/gay populations, bisexual individuals experience distinct forms of stigmatization not experienced by lesbian women/gay men and have less access to supportive buffers from either community against minority stress. These differences between bisexuals’ and lesbian women’s/gay men’s experiences of minority stress are theorized to explain the higher mental health symptomatology, lower sexual identity disclosure, and lower positive sexual identity development among bisexuals compared to lesbian women/gay men. This article reviews the literature examining bisexuals’ experiences of minority stress and their effects on mental health and sexual identity development. Drawing on the broader prejudice reduction literature, we selectively review intergroup contact theory and multicultural theory as showing promise in their application to reduce binegativity via increasing positive intergroup contact and accurate information, respectively. We then propose a set of guidelines and suggestions for future research to develop interventions to reduce binegativity. Potential barriers to implementation are discussed.

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