New Report: 23 percent of young Black women now identify as bisexual

Attendees seen at LA Pride 2019 on June 08, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.

 

Since 1972, social scientists have studied the General Social Survey to chart the complexities of social change in the United States. 

The survey, which is conducted every couple years, asks respondents their attitudes on topics ranging from race relations to drug use. In 2008, the survey started including a question on sexual identity. 

As sociologists who study sexuality, we’ve noticed how more and more women are reporting that they’re bisexual. But in the most recent survey, one subset stood out: 23% of black women in the 18 to 34 age group identified as bisexual – a proportion that’s nearly three times higher than it was a decade ago.

What forces might be fueling this shift? And what can learn from it?

Bisexuality among women is on the rise

In the 10 years that the General Social Survey has included a question on sexual identity, rates of identification among gay men, lesbian women and bisexual men in the U.S. haven’t changed much.

Bisexual identifying women, on the other hand, account for virtually all of the growth among those who say they’re lesbian, gay or bisexual. Of all of the women who responded to the 2018 survey, more than 1 in 18 identified as bisexual. One decade ago, only 1 in 65 did.

The most dramatic shift among bisexual identifying women is happening among young people. In the 2018 sample, more than 1 in 8 women from the ages of 18 to 34 identified as bisexual. There were more than twice as many young female bisexuals as there were young lesbians, gay men and bisexual men combined.

Women who identify as bisexual by age group

Since 2008, an increasing proportion of U.S. women ages 18 to 34 identify as bisexual.

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That’s a large shift – and it all happened in a relatively short period of time.

Add race to the figures and you’ll see that young black women, in particular, account for a disproportionate share of this shift.

A few years ago, we wrote about how approximately 18% of young black women identified as lesbian or bisexual in the 2016 General Social Survey sample. That rate was more than two times higher than for white women or other racial groups – and almost four times higher than for men of any racial group.

By 2018, more than 25% of young black women identified as lesbian or bisexual. And the majority of that change can be accounted for by bisexual-identifying black women.

Proportion of young women identifying as lesbian or bisexual by race

Young black women are leading the shift toward identifying as bisexual.

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In other trends, black women also led the way

Data like these help us to establish a shift is occurring, but they don’t really explain why it’s happening. 

Exploring the “why” requires different methods of analysis, and existing studies – like Mignon Moore’s research on gay identity and relationships among black women– can provide some clues.

But beyond this, other demographic research shows that black women have led the way in other trends related to gender.

Consider the gender gap in college attendance. As early as 1980, black women began to outpace black men in completion of a four-year college degree. It wasn’t until a decade later that white women started earning college degrees at a higher clip than white men.

And in the first half of the 20th century, more unmarried black women started having children. Eventually, more unmarried white women started having children, too.

Perhaps when it comes to sexuality, black women are also ahead of the curve. If that’s the case – and if this trend continues – we might expect women of other races to follow suit.

A shortage of men?

Cultural forces might also play a role.

Sociologists Emma Mishel, Paula England, Jessie Ford and Mónica L. Caudillo also analyzed the General Social Survey. Rather than study sexual identities, they studied sexual behavior. Yet they discovered a similar pattern: Young black women were more likely to engage in same-sex sexual behavior than women and men in other racial and age groups. 

They argue that these shifts speak to a larger truth about American culture: It’s more acceptable for women to spurn gender norms because femininity isn’t valued as highly as masculinity. Since masculinity and heterosexuality are closely intertwined, men might believe they’ll suffer a higher social cost for identifying as bisexual.

Others have pointed to the shortage of men hypothesis to explore young black women’s decisions about relationships and marriage. This too might explain why young black women, in particular, seem more willing to explore bisexuality. 

According to this argument, fewer “marriageable” men create a need for women to consider options beyond heterosexual relationships or marriage. A traditional marriage isn’t as necessary as it once was; since women have more educational and economic opportunities, they can afford to be pickier or, possibly, to explore same-sex relationships. 

Another aspect of the hypothesis involves the disproportionately high rates of incarceration of black men in the U.S. It’s possible that because black women are, as a group, more likely to live in areas with smaller “pools of marriageable men,” they’re more open to bisexuality.

We’re less convinced by the shortage of men argument because it ignores the fact that incarceration rates of black men haven’t increased over the past decade. Yet over this period of time, the percentages of young black women identifying as bisexual have grown substantially.

The challenge of surveying sexuality

Finding reliable ways of measuring sexual identity on surveys is more difficult than you might think, and the trend could have been spurred by something as simple as the way the question is phrased in the General Social Survey:

“Which of the following best describes you?”

  • gay, lesbian or homosexual
  • bisexual
  • heterosexual or straight
  • don’t know

Of the roughly 1,400 people who responded to this question on the 2018 GSS survey, only six responded “don’t know.” Another 27 didn’t respond at all.

But everyone else selected one of those three options. 

Perhaps some respondents didn’t want to neatly tie themselves to the category of “gay” or “straight.” If this is the case, “bisexual” almost becomes a default fallback. 

Either way, one thing seems clear: Young people – especially young black women – are more willing to explore their sexuality. And the ways they are sexually identifying themselves on surveys is only one indicator of this change.The Conversation

By Tristan Bridges, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara and Mignon R. Moore, Professor and Chair of Sociology, Barnard College

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 

Texas Woman Allegedly Killed Her 3-Year-Old Child by ‘Playing Chicken’ With an SUV

Texas Woman Allegedly Killed Her 3-Year-Old Child by ‘Playing Chicken’ With an SUV

She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted

A woman in Houston, Texas, has been arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide after she allegedly ran over her 3-year-old son in what law enforcement officials have called a game of “chicken.”

Lexus Stagg, 26, was caught on surveillance footage fatally hitting her young son with her car, according to a statement from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Texas.

On June 11, she allegedly drove her 2006 Lincoln Navigator forward as her three young children ran towards the front of the SUV. Stagg hit one of her children, trapping him under the right front tire, according to prosecutors. Authorities claim that she subsequently ran over the small child with the SUV’s right rear tire. The child died of his injuries.

Stagg was arrested on Thursday and appeared in probable cause court the following morning. She initially told police that she thought she hit a speed bump when she was driving in reverse, according to prosecutors.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced the charges against Stagg on Friday. If convicted, Stagg may face up to 10 years in prison.

“Every parent has an obligation to protect their children, even from themselves,” Ogg said in a statement released by her office. “Cars aren’t toys and playing chicken with your kids isn’t a game.”

Following the incident, Houston police initially called the child’s death an “unfortunate accident,” reported KTRK. According to the station, prosecutors decided to press charges after further investigation, including reviewing security camera footage.

“She was in her car and her children were playing in front of her in the parking lot. She put her car into reverse, and drove at least 100 feet,” said Sean Teare, chief of the Vehicular Crimes Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, according to KTRK. “The three kids followed her, followed the car, at which point, the defendant put her car into drive and drove toward her children as they were running toward her. The two older children were able to get out of the way, and tragically, the younger child was not and was run over by two of her tires.”

Prosecutors requested Stagg be held on a $50,000 bail. A judge set the amount at $1,500.

“You should be playing Peek-A-Boo with a three-year-old instead of forcing him to try and dodge a 5,600 pound deadly weapon,” said Teare in a statement.

 

Milwaukee father fatally punched 5-year-old son because he ate his cake

Prosecutors say a Milwaukee father is accused of fatally punching his 5-year-old son because the boy ate some of the cheesecake he had gotten for Father’s Day.

Travis Stackhouse is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the child’s death last Saturday. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the boy died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

A complaint says the 29-year-old father initially told police his son was injured after falling down the stairs. Paramedics didn’t think the boy’s injuries were consistent with a fall. Authorities say Stackhouse became angry his children were eating his cheesecake, went to a bar and returned about 2 a.m., at which time the mother of the child called 911.

Court records don’t list an attorney who could speak on the defendant’s behalf.

 

Alabama woman indicted in shooting death of her unborn child; shooter not charged

Marshae Jones

A woman whose unborn baby was killed in a 2018 Pleasant Grove shooting has now been indicted in the death.

Marshae Jones, a 27-year-old Birmingham woman, was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on a manslaughter charge. She was taken into custody on Wednesday.

Though Jones didn’t fire the shots that killed her unborn baby girl, authorities say she initiated the dispute that led to the gunfire. Police initially charged 23-year-old Ebony Jemison with manslaughter, but the charge against Jemison was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her.

The shooting happened about noon on Dec. 4, 2018, outside Dollar General on Park Road. Officers were dispatched to the scene on a report of someone shot but arrived to find the shooting victim – later identified as Jones – had been picked up and driven to Fairfield. Police and paramedics then found the Jones at a Fairfield convenience store.

From Fairfield Jones was taken to UAB Hospital. She was five months pregnant and was shot in the stomach. The unborn baby did not survive the shooting.

“The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,’’ Pleasant Grove police Lt. Danny Reid said at the time of the shooting. “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby.”

Reid said the fight stemmed over the unborn baby’s father. The investigation showed, he said, that it was Jones who initiated and pressed the fight, which ultimately caused Jemison to defend herself and unfortunately caused the death of the baby.

“Let’s not lose sight that the unborn baby is the victim here,’’ Reid said. “She had no choice in being brought unnecessarily into a fight where she was relying on her mother for protection.”

Jones will be transferred to the Jefferson County Jail where she will be held on $50,000 bond.

Eric Trump Says He Was Spit on by Restaurant Employee in Chicago

‘It was purely a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems,’ he said.

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President Donald Trump’s son Eric says he was spit on by an employee at the Aviary, a cocktail bar in Chicago, on Tuesday night. The employee was taken into Secret Service custody but was later released.

“It was purely a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems,” Trump told Breitbart News. “For a party that preaches tolerance, this once again demonstrates they have very little civility. When somebody is sick enough to resort to spitting on someone, it just emphasizes a sickness and desperation and the fact that we’re winning.”

The Chicago Police Department was on the scene and assisted the Secret Service with a “law enforcement matter,” CPD Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter.

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The Secret Service could not be reached for comment.

 

 

Neighbors Mourn Loss Of Irving Boy Allegedly Killed By His Mother Who Said ‘Demons’ Made Her Do It

IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Neighbors of an Irving mother accused of killing her 8-year-old son, saying demons made her do it, said Monday evening they’re still trying to process this.

“I don’t know what happened to me but at 5 o’clock I couldn’t sleep,” said neighbor Hem Mehta.

Joevani De La Pena’s body was found in an RV behind a family member’s home on Peach Tree Lane Sunday morning.

Tisha Sanchez, 30, is now in the Irving City Jail facing a capital murder charge. Her bond is set at $2,000,000.

Police say there were signs Sanchez may have been mentally unstable.

Hem Mehta described waking up early Sunday morning with a feeling something wasn’t right. Later looking outside to see police officers at his neighbor’s door.

“At that point we realized something happened,” said Mehta.

Court documents show Sanchez called 911 that morning, telling dispatchers her son was unconscious or had passed away.

Then her sister also called, saying Sanchez told her demons made her sacrifice her son and that she needed to forgive her. She believes her sister suffocated her son with a pillow.

The Mehtas don’t have the heart to tell their 10 year old son what happened, only telling him Joevani is gone.

“He was a really good friend,” Mehta said.

The two met about a year ago and quickly bonded.

“When I was outside doing some jump roping he was on the tree,” said Aaray Mehta, Joevani’s friend. “Then we started making friends.”

“I couldn’t sleep last night. He just came into my mind. This morning when I was going to the office I feel like he’s there and he’s waving at me. He was a really nice kid,” said Sabits Mehta.

The family said they are shaken by the loss and surprised to hear past concerns about Sanchez’s mental health.

Seven months ago, the way she was handling her son in a store caused shoppers to call 911.

Police say she resisted arrest, but there wasn’t enough evidence for abuse charges.

They instead took her to a hospital to get checked out.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigated, but closed the case a few weeks later.

Sanchez is now also facing an assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest charge for the incident at the store.

Joevani De La Pena went to school in Irving ISD.

“Our thoughts are with the family of an Irving ISD student who passed away this weekend. This is a tragic loss for our district and our community.  We are grieving for the loss of a young life, and we pray for the family and friends most affected by this loss,” said Irving ISD Superintendent of Schools Magda Hernandez in a statement Monday afternoon. “Our entire district extends heartfelt condolences to the family at this difficult time.”

Philadelphia pulls 72 cops off the street over offensive social media posts

(PHILADELPHIA) — Police Commissioner Richard Ross says 72 Philadelphia police officers have been placed on administrative duty amid an initial investigation into a national group’s accusation of officers in at least five states posting racist and anti-Muslim comments on social media.

Ross said he believed at least “several dozen” people would be disciplined and he expects some to be fired. The commissioner said the internal affairs division prioritized posts “clearly advocating violence or death against any protected class such as ethnicity, national origin, sex, religion and race.” An independent law firm had been hired to determine whether posts were constitutionally protected before any discipline is imposed.

“I am not prepared to tell you at this point who’s being disciplined and how many may be terminated, but I can tell you with a degree of certainty there are some people who will meet with that fate,” Ross said Wednesday.

John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia police union, said the Fraternal Order of Police leadership and attorneys will protect the officers’ free speech.

“It’s premature and irresponsible for the commissioner to tell the public that police officers will be fired without a complete investigation into officers’ social media use,” he said in an emailed statement. “Our officers are entitled to due process just like any other citizen.”

The posts were uncovered by a team of researchers who spent two years looking at the personal Facebook accounts of police officers from Arizona to Florida. They said they found officers bashing immigrants and Muslims, promoting racist stereotypes, identifying with right-wing militia groups and, especially, glorifying police brutality. All the posts were public.

“We’ve talked about, from the outset, how disturbing, how disappointing and upsetting these posts are, and they will undeniably impact police-community relations,” Ross said. “There’s no question that this puts us in a position to work even harder than we already do to cultivate relationships with neighborhoods and individual groups who we struggle to work with or struggle to maintain relationships with now.”

Ross also announced other steps, including measures to monitor social media posts by officers, anti-bias training for officers and preparation of a training video.

“I can’t think of any other investigation that we’ve undertaken, at least in my 30 years, where that many people were taken off the street at one time,” Ross said. He said he was a “dinosaur” who didn’t use social media, but he couldn’t understand how police officers who come into contact with many different people — and who were themselves part of a diverse recruiting class — could make what he called “ridiculous assertions” about whole groups of people.

“It really makes me sick, because we are in a position to know better, we are in a position by virtue of what we do every day, and how many people you see in different walks of life that people are the same — people want the same thing out of life,” he said. “It angers me beyond belief, because it just makes our job far more difficult than it needs to be.”