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Bisexual adults are less likely than gay men and lesbians to come out

Bisexual adults are less likely than gay men and lesbians to come out

A bisexual Pride parade in 2018 - 2019 had been heralded the year of 20-bi-teen

Bisexual adults are less likely to be open about their sexuality to important people in their lives than gay men and lesbians, a study suggested.

Pew Research Center released today (19 June) an analysis of data from a survey conducted by Stanford University, 

Just 19% of those who identify as bisexual say all or most of the important people in their lives are aware of their sexual orientation.

What does the study say?

Around 75% of gay and lesbian adults said that the bulk of important people in their lives know their sexual orientation.

But this is a striking contrast to just two out of 10 bisexual adults.

Moreover, one-quarter of bisexual adults (26%) are not out to any of the important people in their lives.

Bisexual folk are less likely to be open about their sexuality to important people in their life
Bisexual folk are less likely to be open about their sexuality to important people in their life | Graphic: Josh Milton

This is compared with just 4% of gay and lesbian adults.

Roughly half of those who are bisexual (54%) are out to some or only a few people.

‘I feel like people will discredit it or undermine [being bi]’

‘I’ve still not come out to my parents,’ said Hannah Parker*. The 24-year-old, who identities as bisexual, told Gay Star News that limited acceptability and restrained visibility are the roadblocks of her coming out to loved ones.

‘It’s not that I don’t think they’re tolerant but I think it is a lot more black and white if you’re gay or straight.

‘I think people also see bi as a phase, they’re think you’re just being slutty and indecisive. Rather than it being something about yourself that you can’t change,’ she added.

‘It’s never something I really talk about with people. I feel like people will discredit it or undermine it, that they will judge me.’

‘It felt like I had to prove I was bisexual’

Not only is Parker hesitant to discuss her sexuality, but when coming out, she has encountered private detective-style questioning from friends.

‘I remember telling one person and then him asking ok, but how far have you got with a woman? Have you had sex/gone down on a woman?

‘Basically, getting me to recount my sexual history.

‘It felt like I had to prove I was bisexual and my feeling that I am bi wasn’t good enough.’

‘Having two identities that many people would deny exist can be tricky’

Charlie Franklin* is non-binary and identifies as bisexual; the intersection of the two brings them both joy and stress.

‘I’m actually more vocal about being non-binary, but that is likely because I don’t use gendered pronouns, so, have to either out myself or be misgendered.

‘The intersection of that is really tricky though.

‘Having two identities that many people would deny exist can be tricky, which is often why I used umbrella terms like “gay” or “queer” when first coming out and specifying later.’

Distrust and disinformation

Furthermore, Joe Duncan* told Gay Star News that, as a bi man, he’s had girlfriends break-up with him as they ‘can’t cope’ with him ‘not only liking girls, but guys, too.’

Duncan explained that ‘jealously’ is often a reason people won’t date him.

‘They say there’s double the amount of people I can cheat on them with,’ he said.

*Identities anonymized. 

See also

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/23-of-young-black-women-in-the-us-now-identify-as-bisexual/

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-lesbian-and-bisexual-americans-more-critical-of-churches-than-straight-counterparts/

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/bella-thorne-helps-fan-come-out-as-bisexual-with-empowering-kiss/