A single middle-aged mom and grandmother of two beautiful grand children shared with me that she was considering bisexuality when I asked about her sex life. While startled by the outright omission, we weren’t exactly friends; I wasnt surprised by the decision.
From her social media, she’d shared publicly that shed been in one failed relationship after failed relationship with men. And I could see that most of her what seemed like fulfilling friendships were evolving with females; as a Black woman, why wouldn’t her love for other Black women grow sexually?
In fact, the number of Americans who identify as bisexual is on the rise. U.S. adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or something other than heterosexual (LGBTQ+) has increased to a new high of 7.1 percent, a recent Gallup pole reveals, which is double the percentage from 2012, when Gallup first measured it. More than half of LGBTQ+ Americans, 57 percent, indicate they are bisexual, having at one time been attracted to both the opposite and same sex. Two very recently lesbian couples — Neicy Nash and Jessica Betts, as well as Da Brat with Jesseca Dupart — have been a part of heterosexual relationship in their past but grew to fall in love and have committed relationships with the same sex.
That percentage translates to 4.0% of all U.S. adults now say they are bisexual — a sexual identity in which someone is attracted to people of their gender and other genders.
An analysis of the General Social Surevey (GSS) data by the sociologists D’Lane Compton and Tristan Bridges shows that the change has been almost entirely due to an increase in the number of bisexual women. Even more specifically, they find that the upswing in bisexuality among women has been concentrated among young women of color, specifically Black women. Compton and Bridges note that the GSS data mirrors findings from a Gallup survey that found that “women, college-educated people, people of color, and those who are not religious” accounted for the steepest rise in LGBTQ+ self-identification. Women (at 6 percent) are much more likely than men (at 2 percent) to say they are bisexual.
More Representation on Music, TV and Film
One possible reason is that in the past decade, the debate around of bisexual erasure, in which the “existence or legitimacy of bisexuality (either in general or in regard to an individual) is questioned or denied outright,” writes the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). This could have contributed to a resurgence of the term over the survey period. For one, there have been more (and more favorable) representations of queer people in the news, on television, and in film over the past two decades, with 2018 seeing record growth in LGBTQ roles on TV, with queer people of color outnumbering their straight, white counterparts by 50% to 49%, according to GLAAD’s annual TV diversity report. The study also noted that Netflix is the streaming platform that has the highest percentage of LGBTQ characters, dominating outlets like Hulu and Amazon Prime.
It’s Cool To Be Bi
Detroit Hip Hop artist, Pretty Brayah has turned heads for being openly bixsexual. While this is still a space that hip-hop is adjusting to, Brayah believes other female emcees who’ve come out as gay later on in their careers — Da Brat, Queen Latifah — while others have said they have had sexual relations with other women (but don’t label themselves as gay or bisexual) Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, and some have kept an ambiguity around their sexuality in order to use the mystique to generate interest in their music. Brayah is out.
“I market being bisexual. I think that’s better, because why play with it? What if it’s a bad bitch out there waiting for me somewhere just trying to figure out what I am? So no, you know what I am.”Pretty Brayah, Deroit hip hop artist,
What’s more, as Michael Gold wrote for the New York Times in 2018, the vocabulary around sexuality itself has changed in the past decade. “Times and attitudes have changed, and the language used to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity has also changed,” he says. Indeed, there’s now “a cluster of ancillary terminology around both sexuality and gender,” as Gold puts it, that’s now available to describe one’s sexual identity. The language of the early aughts, meanwhile, was sparse and reductive.
The proportion of U.S. adults who consider themselves to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender has grown at a faster pace over the past year than in prior years. Gallup predicts that with one in 10 millennials and one in five Gen-Z members identifying as LGBTQ+, the proportion of LGBTQ+ American adults should exceed 10 percent in the near future.