Why are More and More Millennials Embracing Their Bisexuality?



Recent studies show more young adults are identifying on the bisexual spectrum than ever before.  Millennials are far more likely to identify with bi labels than previous generations.

Indeed, in recent You.Gov studies, half of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 said they are “not 100% heterosexual.” Similarly, the Human Rights Campaign report on bisexual youth last year showed a high percentage identified with the label bisexual (with smaller portions opting for pansexual and queer). So, why are young individuals identifying with bisexuality more and more?

It could simply be a data collection issue.

Accounting for sexual orientation in studies is only a few-decades-old procedure. And for much of that time, many of the studies didn’t account for bisexuality at all (or for the trans community for that matter).  So, on some level, this could in part be a sign that we are simply doing a more thorough job collecting the data.

It could be a cultural shift.

Depending upon the study, somewhere between one third and two thirds of Millennials identify along the bisexual spectrum (at least in the U.S., the U.K. and Israel). Culture clearly plays a factor in identity, yet sexual orientation itself is unlikely to vary that much from culture to culture (or generation to generation, for that matter).  This suggests that these recent poll results do not demonstrate that bisexuality (as an orientation) is more common than it used to be. Rather, these results show that more young people are openly identifying as such. Bisexuality was probably just as prevalent in older generations as it is today. It’s just that more people are coming out and admitting it.

Could it be a safer environment for bi people today?

While bisexual visibility still isn’t the best, it’s definitely better than it was a few decades ago. Some celebrities have come out as bisexual, and there are few media representations of bisexuality in film and fiction. It’s a slow process, but it’s definitely getting better. It is more acceptable to be out as bisexual today than it was two to three decades ago. Visibility has encouraged growing understanding of bisexuality, leading more individuals to feel comfortable claiming that label as their own.

Even with all this progress, mainstream culture is still wrought with inaccuracies and harmful bisexual stereotypes. The bi community still faces more discrimination than the gay and lesbian communities, even though we make up the majority of the LGBT population. Biphobia is still evident in many LGBT circles, in the media, in some religious circles, and even in some secular spaces.

It’s encouraging to see that today these problems are primarily prominent among older generations. Young individuals are coming out and recognizing the need to claim bisexuality for themselves. This is promising, at least for the future. Things are only going to get better for the bi community as more people  come out. As more individuals acknowledge and accept their bisexuality, they each contribute to creating a more accepting culture. This in turn helps more people to feel comfortable coming out and claiming their own bisexuality.

Eliel Cruz
Eliel Cruz is a speaker and writer on religion, (bi)sexuality, media, and culture at Bisexual.org, The Advocate, Mic, and Religion News Service. His work has also been published in the Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, Washington Post, Soujourners, DETAILS Magazine, Quartz, Rolling Stone, and various other international platforms.