Date of Conferral
Tracy G. Marsh
Until recently, society and science often ignored, erased, and avoided bisexual women and men and individuals with biracial and multiracial identities, and rarely considered these identities simultaneously. Prior research has shown that some lesbians and gay people of color exhibit resilience against sexual minority stress due in part to an inoculating effect of exposure to racism earlier in life. However, little is known about the lived experience of thriving, resilient bisexual multiracial individuals. In the tradition of positive psychology and context of intersectionality theory, this qualitative study explored how multiracial bisexual individuals develop and maintain flourishing well-being despite sociocultural factors promoting chronic stressors. In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with 6 multiracial bisexual participants. Interpretive phenomenological analysis revealed 6 key themes for developing and maintaining resilience: integration of intersecting social identities, social support, emotional openness, hope and optimism, meaningful life, and life/personal accomplishments. Deeper knowledge about resilience-building in holders of multiple-marginal identities may influence informed stakeholders (bisexual, biracial and multiracial individuals and their families, service providers, researchers, public institutions, and decision makers) to advance development of more effective counseling programs and influence more responsive and affirmative social policies. Subsequent social change involves the advance of sexual health, rights, and behaviors of bisexual, biracial and multiracial citizens.