'Just a little hint': bisexual-specific microaggressions and their connection to epistemic injustices

Cult Health Sex. 2014;16(5):488-503. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2014.889754. Epub 2014 Mar 25.


A growing body of evidence indicates disproportionate rates of mental health disorders among bisexual women compared to both heterosexual and lesbian women. Such disparities are often attributed to stressors related to minority status, including experiences of prejudice and discrimination. Prior research has made little distinction between the prejudicial experiences of bisexual groups as compared to lesbian/gay groups. Based on qualitative data gathered in focus groups with 10, predominantly White, bisexual-identified women, which occurred in a large city in the USA, we posit that differences in prejudicial experiences do exist for bisexual groups, and that such differences reside in the realms of the epistemic, yet have very real implications for bisexual women's daily lived experiences. We discuss everyday slights and insults, also known as microaggressions, reported by the participants vis-à-vis their bisexual identity. These bisexual-specific microaggressions include hostility; denial/dismissal; unintelligibility; pressure to change; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legitimacy; dating exclusion; and hypersexuality. We consider how such microaggressions may adversely impact mental health and well-being and may assist in explaining the mental health disparities among bisexual women.

Keywords: USA; bisexuality; epistemic injustice; microaggression; women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hostility*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Social Perception
  • United States
  • Young Adult