"The Bisexual Parent Advantage: How Bisexual Parents Overcome Stigma and Excel at Parenting"
Doctoral Dissertation Research
Scholars know little about how bisexual parents think about and experience their sexual identities, particularly as they interact with their children. My dissertation asks how bisexuals approach sexuality-related conversations with their children while navigating bisexual stigmatization. I use a mixed-method, two-step research approach to explore the complexities of bisexual parents' experiences. In the first stage of this research, I created a survey on Qualtrics and distributed it using paid Facebook advertising. This survey is one of the largest and most comprehensive existing surveys on bisexual and pansexual individuals, with more than 6500 completed responses. My preliminary survey findings about the various reasons bisexual parents choose to disclose or not disclose their bisexuality are explored in more detail in my Sexualities article, "Making Visible the Invisible: Bisexual Parents Ponder Coming Out to Their Children." In the second stage of this research, I conducted 101 lengthy semi-structured interviews with bisexual, gay, and lesbian parents from diverse backgrounds. My dissertation chapters cover topics related to bisexual parents' identity disclosure, advantages associated with bisexual parents, and the gendered differences of bisexual parent-child communication.
To take my survey, click here.
For a pdf of the survey questionnaire with coded values, click here.
For an excel sheet of the survey's raw data (personal info redacted), click here.
Please let me know if you plan to use my survey questionnaire or data for research purposes.
"Diversifying the Rainbow Family: Incorporating Bisexual, Transgender, and Asexual Identities into Representations of Queer Parenthood"
My future research agenda involves two projects, both of which intend to diversify representations of LGBTQ+ families in academic research. First, I intend to use my rich dissertation dataset to analyze the relationship between transgender and LGB identities among parents. Twenty-two of my interviewees identify as transgender. Among participants who identify as transgender and lesbian, gay, or bisexual, the transgender identity seems to take precedence in parents’ lives. Although some research on LGB parents includes transgender individuals, this work rarely interrogates how parents’ transgender identities impact the way they understand their queer parenting status more broadly. For this project, I will analyze my data on transgender LGB parents to broaden conversations about queer parenthood which tend to focus on either sexuality or gender, rather than attending to the intersection of these identities.
Additionally, I intend to use preliminary findings from my dissertation to establish a new line of inquiry into parents’ feelings toward their children’s asexuality. A preliminary analysis of my dissertation data highlights parents' complicated feelings toward children’s asexuality. Even bisexual parents, who talk openly about their exclusion from straight and gay communities, express a desire for their children not to identify as asexual. Parents explain that they want their children to experience the joys of attraction, and say they feel saddened by their children’s asexuality. I plan to interview more LGB parents of asexual teenagers and adult children to gain a greater understanding of how they understand their child’s asexuality in relation to their family’s larger queer identity.
If you are an LGB parent with an asexual child and you are interested in being interviewed, please email me.