The Journal of Adolescent Health reported that bisexual youth might have difficulties improving their health as they get older.
“Some bisexuals may struggle with depression later on because they don’t feel accepted and supported in either lesbian and gay or straight communities,” said University of Kentucky lead researcher Robert Cardom in an interview with Medical Xpress. “Bisexual identity does not fit into the gay/straight categories most people are comfortable with.”
Some draw criticism of the “It Gets Better” campaign for lacking to address the needs of the bisexual community. The new study addresses concerns over Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, which launched in 2010 to address LGBT teen bullying and suicide.
“The [It Gets Better] campaign has helped many of the LGBT students that I work with in my clinical work,” Cardom said. “It has started conversations. Our results seem to support the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign’s claims, while also telling us that we must do better to include bisexual individuals in our efforts to support LGBT youth and adults.”
The distinction between counseling between gay and bisexual teens may differ.
“Therapists must understand that the experiences of clients who identify as bisexual can be much different from the experiences of their lesbian and gay clients,” said Cardom. “Without understanding the challenges related to finding acceptance and support, we can fail to assess the social support our clients are getting.”
Sexual identification is fluid and varies within each group.
“Those who identify as mostly gay may be expressing an ambivalence about identifying as gay or lesbian due to living in unsupportive environments or getting messages that it’s not okay to be gay or lesbian,” University of Massachusetts psychologist Sharon Horne said. “It may take them more time to work through this ambivalence, particularly since early adulthood continues to be a time of great transition. But the findings from this study are very encouraging for gay and lesbian youth.”