Bisexual Americans: Minds Blown

The Pew Research centre in the USA has been crunching numbers on their 2014 Religous Landscape Study, to looks at experiences of faith and break them down by what gay, straight or bi people say.

And bisexuals have the greatest sense of wonder about the universe: 53% of bis say they feel a deep sense of wonder about the universe at least once a week, ahead of gay and lesbian people on 51% and straight people on 45%.

The numbers are reversed when it comes to having a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being though, with bis trailing (49-54-59). We’re blown away by the universe, but maybe a little bit more troubled by what is going on in it.

We were expecting that sense of wonder to be the other way round given 89% of straight respondents said they believe in God compared to 77% of gay and bi people – with 36% of straight people attending religious services weekly compared to 19% of bis and 16% of gay men and lesbians.

Barely half as many bis and gays think scripture is ‘the word of god’ as of straight people – 33% of gay and lesbian respondents compared to 38% of bis and 61% of heterosexuals.

It would seem likely that what causes such a gap is not something innate to being one sexuality or another, but the experiences that has brought over your lifetime of the attitudes faith groups have taken to your sexual orientation.  The history of many religious groups lobbying against same-sex marriage, stigmatising homosexuality and bisexuality, equating HIV with being divine judgement against sex between men and so forth has pushed many bi and gay people away and with a clearer impact than the way that also hits their straight friends, family and partners.

The survey data is from 2014, with a sample size of around 34,000 people – 1,604 gay and bi people and 32,439 straight people.  No-one was recorded as being of other orientations such as ace.