Bisexuality pp 77-93 | Cite as

5 Bisexuality in Society

  • Kirsten McLeanEmail author


Despite increased awareness and acceptance of LGBTIQ sexualities in many Western countries, and considerable theory and research on bisexuality, it is still an invisible sexual identity in many regards. Bisexual invisibility is manifested in a continued dominance of the binary of sexuality that suggests there are only two sexual identity categories—heterosexual and homosexual. Bisexual invisibility is also reinforced by monosexism, the tendency to prioritize the single-sex attractions and/or sexual behaviors of gay, lesbian, and heterosexual individuals. Both the sexuality binary and monosexism play out in everyday constructions of sexuality as well as in representations of sexuality in the media and popular culture. As a result, bisexuality is silenced on the sexual landscape and is made invisible through three mechanisms: absence through erasure; appropriation of bisexuals as another sexual identity by other people; and assimilation, where bisexual people hide their bisexuality in order to avoid negativity or rejection. The consequences of this silencing is that bisexual people lack a range of role models to help build positive bisexual identities, which also has a significant impact on the mental health of bisexual people overall. Campaigns using new media platforms are increasing bisexual visibility, but there is still a way to go to ensure bisexuality is recognized as a legitimate sexual identity category within Western society.


Bisexuality Society Invisibility Monosexism Binary thinking Erasure 



Many thanks to Ella Buczak for information about the many YouTubers uploading their videos to increase bisexual visibility.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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