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Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 199–211 | Cite as

Bi+ Visibility: Characteristics of Those Who Attempt to Make Their Bisexual+ Identity Visible and the Strategies They Use

  • Joanne DavilaEmail author
  • Jeremy Jabbour
  • Christina Dyar
  • Brian A. Feinstein
Special Section: Bisexual Health

Abstract

There are numerous forms of stigma that contribute to the de-legitimization and erasure of bisexual and other non-monosexual identities (collectively referred to as bisexual+ or bi+ identities). To reduce such stigma, efforts are needed to increase bi+ visibility. Little is known, however, about whether bisexual+ individuals attempt to attain greater bi+ visibility (i.e., make their bisexual+ identity visible to others) and, if so, how they do this. Using data from a mixed-method (quantitative and qualitative) internet survey study of 397 individuals reporting attractions to more than one gender, we examined the proportion who attempted to attain greater bi+ visibility, the strategies they used to do so, and factors that distinguished those who made bi+ visibility attempts from those who did not. Results indicated that 58% made bi+ visibility attempts, with the most common being direct verbal communication (e.g., telling others) and visual displays (e.g., wearing bi/pride clothing, jewelry, tattoos). Less common attempts included indirect forms of communication, engagement in LGBT-related activities, and public behavioral displays. Those who made bi+ visibility attempts differed from those who did not on variables related to identity (e.g., centrality, self-affirmation, community connection) and internalized binegativity. Implications for understanding the reasons for and for not making bi+ visibility attempts, as well as the potential consequences of doing so, are discussed.

Keywords

Bisexual Non-monosexual Minority stress Identity Internalized binegativity Sexual orientation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanne Davila
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jeremy Jabbour
    • 1
    • 4
  • Christina Dyar
    • 2
    • 3
  • Brian A. Feinstein
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and WellbeingNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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