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.

 

Angry Woman Sits On Man’s Lap Since He Refused To Give Up His Seat…. Thoughts????

YOU CAN’T EXPECT MEN TO TREAT YOU LIKE A LADY, WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO ACT LIKE A MAN AND SUPPORT FEMINISM! SMH ROFL!!

Pop Singer Janelle Monae Just CAME OUT . . . As a LESBIAN!! (Dating Tessa Thompson)!

MTO News first broke the news that pop singer Janelle Monae is gay, and that she’s dating actress Tessa Thompson.

Well Janelle has finally admitted it.

Here’s what she told Entertainment Weekly in a new article, “Being a queer black woman in America,” she says, taking a breath as she comes out, “someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”

She initially identified as bisexual, she clarifies, “but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.”

Janelle is currently dating, and in love, with actress Tessa Thompson.

Tessa spoke on her relationship with Janelle a few months ago and said,

“Janelle and I have been really close. We’ve been really good friends at this point for about three and a half years,” the Thor: Ragnarok star told ET in February. “I’m so lucky to have her in my life. I met her in an audition!”

The 34-year-old actress added that some consider “Make Me Feel” to be a “bisexual anthem.”

“If it makes people feel liberated in their skin and feel closer to who they are, then I think we did our job,” she said of the song and video.

“I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracized or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you,” she says. “This album is for you. Be proud.”

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Jay Z cried after his mother came out to him a lesbian??!

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FILE – In this Sept. 29, 2011 file photo released by Starpix, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter poses with his mother Gloria Carter at a fundraising event to support his college scholarship program in New York. The rapper speaks about his mother on the the April 6 episode of “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman” on Netflix. He says he cried when his mother came out to him and that he was happy that his mother was free. (AP Photo/Starpix, Kristina Bumphrey, File)  (2011 AP)

 

Jay Z says he cried with joy when his mother came out to him as lesbian.

In the April 6 episode of “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman” on Netflix, Jay Z says he was happy his mother was free.

The rap mogul says he’d known his mother was gay, but they discussed it for the first time eight months ago.

Jay Z says his mother had to live as someone she wasn’t because she didn’t want to embarrass her children.

Gloria Carter came out on Jay Z’s 2017 song “Smile,” which featured her poem “Livin in the Shadows.”

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Lesbian mothers and at least three children killed after driving off cliff in California!

Questions raised about the tragedy after reports Jennifer and Sarah Hart were reported to Child Protective Services.

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At least five members of a family have been killed after their SUV drove over a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway in Mendocino County, California.

Jennifer Jean Hart and Sarah Margaret Hart, both 38, were killed, as were three of their six adopted children: Markis, 19, Abigail, 14, and Jeremiah, also 14. Three children remain unaccounted for, but are also presumed to have been killed in the crash: Hannah, 16, Devonte, 15, and Sierra, 12.

Police are still trying to determine the exact nature of the accident, including why the Harts were in California, hundreds of miles from their family home in Woodland, Washington.

“We know that an entire family vanished and perished during this tragedy,” Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said in a statement. “There were no skid marks. There were no brake marks. There was no indication of why this vehicle traversed approximately over 75 feet off a dirt pullout and went into the Pacific Ocean.”

Allman added that there was “no evidence and no reason to believe this was an intentional act. If this was an intentional act, I truly believe that both between the highway patrol and the sheriff’s office, we are going to come to that conclusion.”

However, the investigation into the crash has resulted in more questions than answers, particularly after reports that the Harts had recently been referred to Child Protective Services.

Portland’s KGW8 news confirmed that the Harts’ children had been identified as “potential victims of abuse or neglect” on March 23. CPS tried to make contact on multiple occasions between the referral and the family’s crash on March 28.

Bruce and Dana DeKalb, neighbors of the family, told KGW8 that they contacted CPS after one of the children told them his mothers were withholding food as punishment. It came after other accusations of abuse, including that the Harts had hit another child.

Dana DeKalb told KGW8 that a CPS official came to the Harts’ door, but was unable to make contact with the family. The following day, the Harts left in their SUV.

“The next morning when we saw that the vehicle was gone, and then Sunday morning when it still wasn’t there, we figured something was off,” said Bruce DeKalb, adding, “We figured that they saw the business card and loaded up the kids as quick as they could and took off.”

Another neighbor, Bill Groener described the Harts’ children as “wonderful,” but told CNN he “thought it was strange that I didn’t see the kids a lot. The weird thing was that the kids kind of seemed repressed and not communicative.” It is understood that the children were being home-schooled.

Sarah Hart also pleaded guilty to domestic assault and malicious punishment of a child in 2011, after admitting that she had struck one of her daughters, leaving visible bruising. Hard claimed she was spanking the child and got carried away.

However, friends of the couple painted a picture of a happy, loving family.

“They were really radiant, warm, adventurous inspiring people. They were always on some grand adventure, and the kids were living this life that was kind of like this dream,” Zippy Lomax, a photographer in Portland, told The Associated Press. “The family was this very self-supporting unit that was impossible to miss. When they showed up to an event, they made an impression. They shattered a lot of norms and they did not shy away from controversy or adversity.”

Max Ribner, who has known the family since 2012, told the AP that Jennifer and Sarah Hart were “beautiful examples of opening arms to strangers, helping youth, supporting racial equality. They brought so much joy to the world. They represented a legacy of love.”

The Harts gained infamy in 2014 for a viral photo in which Devonte Hart, then 12, was photographed hugging a white police officer at a Portland rally in support of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

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The Harts apparently moved from Oregon to Washington to escape the fame that the photo had generated, which had allegedly led to hate mail being directed towards them and their children, including alt-right accusations that Devonte was a “crisis actor.”

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