The Los Angeles-based American Institute of Bisexuality (AIB) is a charity that funds scientific research to overturn the belief that bisexuality is a sexual phase for mere experimenting or a cover-up for an un-admitting gay.
AIB has backed 40 researchers these past few years conducting studies in “bisexual behavior and mental health; bisexual youth; and ‘mostly straight’ men,” as stated in the NYTimes. At Northwestern University, AIB funds Psychology Professor Michael Bailey, who explores how gay men’s sexual inhibition affects their sexual identity.These studies utilize quality pornography as a stimulant to measure arousal patterns — by a gential monitor — that confirm or contradict the subject’s respective sexual identity. AIB’s Carlos Legaspy explains that “there’s some indication that what makes a bisexual person may be less about what they’re strongly attracted to and more about what they’re not averse to.” Because some of his gay male subjects aren’t necessarily turned-off by being with a woman, they may be bisexual.
At Cornell University, AIB financially backs psychologists: Ritch Savin-Williams and Gerulf Rieger, who study bisexual identity and behavior. Unlike Professor Bailey, Williams and Rieger use a pupil-dilation tracker to measure male arousal. This kind of testing further complicates “what bisexuality is.” Bisexuality can be quite diverse in that, a subject can be 100-100 percent interested in men and women but one for romantic notions and the latter for sexual interests. However with these claims, bisexuals are still trying to accumulate a supporting community like gays and lesbians.
Scientifically Proving that Bisexuality Exists
Bisexuals seem to receive vast societal discrimination, especially from lesbian and gay communities. A 2013 Pew Research Survey of L.G.B.T.-identified Americans concludes that part of the reason is because bisexuals are less likely “to view their sexual orientation as important to their overall identity.” Robyn Ochs, a bisexual activist and speaker, tells NYT that she could not come out to her lesbian friends in college because “they said that bisexuals couldn’t be trusted, that they would inevitably leave you for a man… for me to say I was a lesbian would have required that I dismiss all of my previous attractions to men as some sort of false consciousness. So I didn’t come out.” Despite the invisibility of bisexuals in society, Williams Institute’s 2011 reports that 3.1% of American adults identify as bisexual compared to 2.5% who identify as gay or lesbian.
John Sylla, an AIB board member, suggests that it’s important to continue to publicly identify as bisexual. Sylla tells the NYTimes that “the world needs more out bi people so that bisexuals can find support and community, just like gay people have when they come out,” he said. “Many bisexuals just end up saying they’re gay if they’re with a same-sex person or straight if they’re with an opposite-sex person. It’s easier to do that — you don’t have to constantly correct people or deal with people’s stereotypes about bisexuality and fidelity.”