'Shiny Happy Same-Sex Attracted Woman Seeking Same': How communities contribute to bisexual and lesbian women's well-being

Heath, Mary; Mulligan, Ea
October 2008
Health Sociology Review;Oct2008, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p290
Academic Journal
Existing research studies document significant challenges to bisexual and lesbian women's health, and suggest social connection may be protective. This study investigated how communities might contribute to bisexual and lesbian women's well-being. Interviews with 47 women suggest that community engagement could provide resources and social contact, enhancing women's confidence, self-esteem and well-being. However, ensuring community support for well-being, requires actively choosing or creating an appropriate community, and rejecting those which are inappropriate. In some cases, it also demands negotiating or resisting community norms which conflict with women's well-being. This study also suggests bisexual and lesbian women often participate in different communities, that lesbian communities may be larger and composed of stronger ties than those of bisexual women, and the stronger social norms of lesbian communities may even threaten some lesbians' well-being. However, while bisexual women confronted fewer community norms, they may also have access to fewer community resources.


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