By Deana Williams, MPH
As a first-year doctoral student at Indiana University, I am grateful for the meaningful experiences and collaborations I have had thus far while working at The Center for Sexual Health Promotion. Growing up, I faced challenges with openly embracing my identity as a queer black woman. I struggled to make peace with myself living in a community where heteronormativity thrived. These experiences have greatly influenced my motivation to use my work to celebrate the identities of other LGBTQ+ people, giving space for these valuable voices to be heard and appreciated.
My research is devoted to advancing the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ individuals, especially those from marginalized racial/ethnic communities. I am thrilled to be working on an exploratory qualitative study that aims to investigate how individuals who are both biracial/multiracial and bisexual make meaning from the intersections of their racial and sexual identities. I recognize that the identities of biracial/multiracial and bisexual individuals are largely ignored and discounted in previous research, creating further invisibility and exacerbating health inequities. Furthermore, the limited studies on biracial/multiracial and bisexual individuals that exist mainly focus on the experiences of women identified individuals without taking into account the experiences of people of other gender identities.
The results of this study will be used to inform papers, extramural grant proposals, and scientific evidence that will contribute to improved knowledge of the health needs of biracial/multiracial and bisexual individuals. Furthermore, the findings from this study will serve as an impetus for additional research that brings visibility to the unique life experiences of this dramatically understudied population.
My hopes for this emerging work is to dispel the notion that the identities of biracial/multiracial and bisexual people are trivial. I am dedicated to promoting the health and wellbeing of those living on the margins and hopeful that other bisexual researchers will continue this much-needed work.
Deana Williams, MPH, is a doctoral student at Indiana University, School of Public Health-Bloomington.