Abstract: “Whoever I Find Myself to be”: Past, Present and Future Selves of Bisexual Emerging Adult Men and Trans Masculine Individuals (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

130 “Whoever I Find Myself to be”: Past, Present and Future Selves of Bisexual Emerging Adult Men and Trans Masculine Individuals

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific B/C (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Katherine Querna, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN
Introduction: The Institute of Medicine has recognized bisexual adults as an understudied and underserved population at-risk of poor physical and mental health outcomes. Meta-analyses have shown higher rates of mental, physical, and sexual health decrements in bisexual men as compared to monosexual counterparts. Research on trans masculine individuals is scant. That which does exist suggests higher rates of victimization, alcohol use, and suicidality than cisgender peers. Further, associated stress effects of discrimination, implicated in these disparities can perpetuate across the life course and intergenerationally, particularly given the biological and social vulnerability to stress that characterizes emerging adulthood, the focal developmental stage of this research. Further, bisexuality is the most prevalent sexual minority identity in the US, highest in emerging adult cohorts. Given the aforementioned research highlighting the unique issues associated with bisexuality, its association with various health decrements, and its increasing prevalence in the population, it is imperative to social welfare and public health, that we increase our understanding of bisexuality as an identity to ultimately increase health and well-being for bisexual men and trans masculine people.

Methods: This research attends to this gap using innovative narrative and arts-based and somatic methodology to conduct multiple interviews, co-creating knowledge with fifteen bisexual emerging adult men and trans masculine individuals. Thematic networks analysis was used to identify themes.

Results: Two primary themes were constructed: a). cishetero/cishomonormativity: reproduction, resistance, and dissonance (including gendered socialization through relationships across the social ecology) and (b) finding myself: who I was, who I am, and who I am becoming.

Conclusion: This research complicates the oft-taken exclusively social constructionist approach to identity categories, highlighting the importance of socialization and that of biology and changing masculinity norms, expanding our understanding of the nuances of sexuality, gender, and identity. This research is both a methodological model and a crucial first step toward understanding how bisexuality influences emerging adult men and trans masculine individuals throughout the life course to best inform future research and health promotion practice and policy.