Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Sociology and Anthropology
Scholars have begun to explore sexual identity development and the impact of sexuality binaries on well-being for bi+ individuals. However, extant research has not yet fully analyzed the experiences of bi+ individuals in heterosexual relationships, particularly those who have never experienced a non-heterosexual relationship. This community remains relatively invisible in research and theory on sexuality and within LGBTQIA+ communities. The unique experiences of these individuals can provide valuable insights to the field of bi+ research by furthering our understanding of sexual identity development and queer inclusion and by underscoring the need for more inclusive research, policy, and practice. The current study seeks to fill this gap through a case study of bi+ individuals in Utah. Relying on in-depth interviews with sixteen bi+ identified individuals, this study explores the experiences of bi+ individuals engaged in heterosexual relationships, including how these individuals define their sexuality and negotiate their identity. To develop a framework for this study, I also critique research methodologies that exclude this population. Key findings include the unique pathways to identity development, a limited sense of belonging within queer heterosexual spaces, and the resulting double bind of sexuality invalidity and lack of place within queer communities. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of this project for more inclusive research on bi+ identities and more inclusive practices within queer communities.
Hutchinson, Brook, "Beyond ‘Bisexual’: Toward a New Conceptualization of Bi+ Experience" (2023). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations, Fall 2023 to Present. 28.
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