Barker & Langdridge (2008)

Barker, M. & Langdridge, D. (2008). Bisexuality: Working with a silenced sexuality. Feminism & Psychology, 18 (3), 389-394.


Bisexuality has been acknowledged to be a silenced sexuality within several domains including mainstream media (Barker, Bowes-Catton, Iantaffi, Cassidy & Brewer, in press), lesbian and gay communities (Gurevich, Bower, Mathieson & Dhayanandhan, 2007), sexology (Rust, 2000), and psychology and psychotherapy (Petford, 2003). Our own anecdotes above serve to illustrate the frequent overlooking of bisexuality as a potential identity position in both popular understanding and applied psychological contexts. Indeed, Firestone’s (1996) collection on bisexuality was subtitled: ‘the psychology and politics of an invisible minority’; there is a wikipedia entry for ‘bisexual erasure’; and prominent UK bi-activist Jenni Yockney speaks of exclusion of ‘the bword’as one of the main problems confronting bi people when trying to access services (Barker & Yockney, 2004). Several authors have linked bisexual invisibility to the high rates of mental health problems reported amongst bi-identified people relative to heterosexual, lesbian and gay identified people (e.g. Jorm, Korten, Rodgers, Jacomb, & Christensen, 2002; Oxley & Lucius, 2000). In this paper we present the intertwined popular and psychological exclusions of bisexuality before critically considering whether queer theory (Jagose, 1996) offers alternative possibilities for increasing the acknowledgement of this silenced sexuality.

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