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Considerable gender, racial and sexuality differences in attitudes toward bisexuality
Date:11/4/2013

BOSTON, Nov. 5, 2013 Men who identify themselves as heterosexual are three times more likely to categorize bisexuality as "not a legitimate sexual orientation," an attitude that can encourage negative health outcomes in people who identify as bisexual, according to an analysis led by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health researcher Mackey Friedman, Ph.D., M.P.H.

The results of the survey, sponsored by the Indiana University Bloomington, will be presented today at the American Public Health Association's 141st Annual Meeting & Exposition in Boston.

"Bisexual men and women face prejudice, stigma and discrimination from both heterosexual and homosexual people," said Dr. Friedman, director of Project Silk, an HIV prevention initiative. "This can cause feelings of isolation and marginalization, which prior research has shown leads to higher substance use, depression and risky sexual behavior. It also can result in lower rates of HIV testing and treatment."

Building on previous work assessing attitudes toward bisexual men and women, Dr. Friedman and his colleagues surveyed hundreds of adult college students for words that come to mind in relation to bisexual people, such as "confused," "different" and "experimental." The researchers then developed a 33-question survey and administered it to an online sample of 1,500 adults.

Overall, respondents were generally negative in terms of their attitudes toward bisexual men and women, with almost 15 percent of the sample in disagreement that bisexuality is a legitimate sexual orientation. However, women, white people and people who identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual had less bias and prejudice against bisexual people. Of note, respondents who identified as gay or lesbian responded significantly less positively toward bisexuality than those identifying as bisexual, indicating that even within the sexual minority community, bisexuals face profound stigma
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Contact: Allison Hydzik
hydzikam@upmc.edu
412-647-9975
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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