ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Friday August 17, 2012 – A new study has confounded popular opinion by suggesting that almost one in four Caribbean men today describe themselves as bisexual.
Preliminary findings of the regionwide Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey (CARIMIS) contrast dramatically with the Caribbean’s longstanding image of a macho society with low tolerance for homosexuality often verging on homophobia.
According to Ernest Massiah, facilitator of the CARIMIS project and director of UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team, “We have a fair population in the Caribbean that identify as bisexual. Across the entire sample, about 20 to 23 per cent say they are bisexual”.
The study, which surveyed 2,560 men throughout 33 territories in the region, is said to be the “largest sample” of the Caribbean MSM (men who have sex with men) population of its kind, conducted via the Internet.
Massiah went on to reveal that 15 per cent of the men did not define themselves in any category. Although they engaged in sexual activity with other men, they “do not want a label,” he said.
The director indicated that the “most shocking” aspect of the study involves the amount of physical and verbal abuse and visual intimidation levelled against MSMs in their respective countries.
“What we are seeing across the region is that between five and 10 per cent of people have been assaulted because they were perceived to have a different sexual orientation,” he said.
In some nations half of the MSM population identified with being verbally abused and visually intimidated.
“What we are seeing is that as a society, if you have a sexual orientation that is perceived as different, you can be physically abused and in a lot of cases you receive verbal abuse,” Massiah noted.
The study also broke new ground by identifying a new group of men: the educated MSM man.
According to the director: “We are getting a population that we have not been able to get data from before, that is men with secondary and tertiary level education. We have a very educated sample here.”
In the past, face-to-face surveys were the norm, but only accessed “certain members” of the MSM population. Massiah said that the use of the Internet and redefining their target populations was the key to the survey’s success.
“It is a good way of doing research because you can get to people in a much quicker way than you would have if you tried to do an interview with an individual person,” he explained.
The study’s results will be given to governments of participating nations to help develop policies and initiatives that will protect and service the MSM community.
The UNAIDS-funded initiative was launched online last November and concluded in June.
The MSM population is defined by the survey not only as openly gay men but also men who do not self-identify as gay or bisexual but participate in sexual activities with other men. The survey is being implemented throughout the English, French, Spanish and Dutch speaking Caribbean countries. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)
Will Men Ever Be Able to Come Out of the Bisexual Closet?
In the porn industry, several men that I know do not disclose their bisexuality to employers, nor do they do bisexual porn, for fear of being discriminated against or losing jobs. One such porn star (who wished to remain anonymous), said that several female co-stars would not appear with him on screen due to that fact.
The more time I spend writing about sex, more and more of my male friends and acquaintances have brought up this topic as a source of frustration. While many seem to be comfortable with experimenting sexually, they feel they can only do so as long as no one else knows about it. A friend of mine and fan of the swinger site Lifestyle Lounge, checked bi-comfortable on his profile and then received several hateful responses via chat, saying bi men were not welcome in the swinger community. He changed his status back to straight, in order to avoid further aggressive behavior.
Bisexuality is often seen as a cop-out, a phase, or an all-out denial from people on every side of the sexual spectrum. Again, these are all fear-based reactions to a subject that makes people extremely uncomfortable. If you are a man, you are encouraged to have a lot of sexual partners, but you are never encouraged to be sexual with other men.
Straight men are barely even allowed to be on the receiving end of anal sex with women because it’s seen as gay behavior. Never mind that a lot of men happen to enjoy anal stimulation. If society says you like to take it up the ass, then you must be gay. This is the kind of thinking that leads to self-hatred and feeds outdated gender stereotypes. Even in my enlightened sex-positive community, men are very uneasy even broaching this subject.
On a personal level, I think it’s hot when a man is sexual with other men. In the handful of times I’ve jerked off to porn, it was always the guy-on-guy variety. I also enjoy having threesomes or foursomes with men who interact with one another and then with me. But, I am not all women, and some women can’t handle it because according to the stereotype, it is just a matter of time before the bi guy discovers he is gay and leaves her.
Controversial UT study on gay parenting sparks debate
A new UT study stating children with gay parents turn out resoundingly different than children with heterosexual, married parents has spurred LGBT advocates across the nation into the offensive.
Led by associate professor Mark Regnerus, the New Family Structures Study appeared in the June issue of Social Science Research and sought to answer the question, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships?” At the end of the study, Regnerus found that adult children who grew up with gay parents, particularly lesbian parents, fared worse socially, emotionally and in relationships than children who had married, heterosexual parents. One theme in the data was instability in LGBT households.
His findings sparked debate online Monday, and today four major LGBT organizations, the Family Equality Council, Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry group and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, issued a joint statement condemning Regnerus’ research for seeking to disparage LGBT parents.
“The paper is fundamentally flawed and intentionally misleading,” the statement read. “It doesn’t even measure what it claims to be measuring. Most of the children examined in the paper were not being raised by parents in a committed same-sex relationship, whereas the other children in the study were being raised in two-parent homes with straight parents.”
The Witherspoon Institute, a conservative research organization working to enhance public understanding of moral foundations, and the Bradley Foundation, which supports conservative principles and government, contributed funding to the New Family Structures study. In his findings, Regnerus said funding sources played no role in the study.
Regnerus and others in the UT Population Research Center, a research entity that focuses primarily on topics such as parenting, as well as partnering and human development, analyzed more than 15,000 people ages 18-39. Out of the total respondents, 248 indicated their mother or father had a same-sex relationship at some point while growing up.
In a piece for Slate, Regnerus pointed to findings in recent years suggesting homosexual parents are just as good as heterosexual married parents and in some studies, better. Regnerus said the drastic difference in his findings from those of other researchers was a result of better research methods, particularly his use of a random sampling approach rather than locating and surveying small minorities.
Regnerus said he is not claiming sexual orientation is at fault in these worse outcomes and does not know about any kids currently being raised by lesbian and gay parents.
“Their parents may be forging more stable relationships in an era that is more accepting and supportive of gay and lesbian couples,” Regnerus wrote. “But that is not the case among the previous generation, and thus social scientists, parents and advocates would do well from here forward to avoid simply assuming the kids are all right.”