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ERIC Number: ED343070
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Aug-18
Reference Count: N/A
Identifying as Lesbian vs. Bisexual: The Dilemma for Women.
Dworkin, Sari H.
In this culture a person's sexual identity falls into one of four groups: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and asexual. Essentialism assumes that one is fixed with a core identity of either heterosexual or homosexual. Constructionism posits that categories of sexuality are constructed to meet the needs of a particular culture, society, and/or historical period. Bisexuality as a category is often equated with constructionism. A woman with a bisexual label is seen as a threat to both the lesbian and heterosexual communities. The reasons that bisexual women may choose to identify as lesbian appear to be social, political, and emotional. Socially the lesbian identity offers a community in which to belong. Politically the lesbian identity is a way to continue the struggle against gay and lesbian oppression and ultimately against bisexual orientation. Emotionally the lesbian community offers quality woman-to-woman relationships and a sense of empowerment. In therapy and counseling it is not uncommon to see a woman client who is questioning her sexual orientation. Once the female client is comfortable with her bisexual identity, if she is primarily affiliated with the lesbian community, therapists and counselors might help her to decide how she wants to identify herself. It is important to explore what each label means to her and how her self-esteem will be affected by choosing one label over another. (ABL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (99th, San Francisco, CA, August 16-20, 1991).