The long debated notion that bisexuality is a “transitional stage” or a “phase” has been debunked by a University of Utah researcher.

Lisa M. Diamond concluded that bisexuality was a third type of sexual identity after interviewing 79 women over a 10-year period for her research project Female Bisexuality From Adolescence to Adulthood.

There was a belief that bisexuals were either gay men or lesbians who had not yet fully accepted their same-sex sexuality, or heterosexuals who were temporarily experimenting, the report read.

However, few women interviewed for Diamond’s 10-year longitudinal study ended up identifying as lesbian or heterosexual. Instead more women adopted bisexual identities rather than relinquished that identity.

ACON lesbian health officer Siri May said she was pleased with the result, but surprised some studies had not yet moved beyond static views of sexuality and gender identity.

“One has to question why at this point we even have to study this,” she said.

“We do have a lot of women coming through the Women’s Health Project who firmly call themselves bisexual, and we do discuss certain prejudices related to that. We have a word for it, and that is ‘biphobia’.

“A lot of women don’t adhere to any sexual identity label, while some firmly call themselves bisexual, lesbian or fluid.”

The findings of Diamond’s research, launched early this year, suggested that there were boundaries between the long-term developmental paths of lesbian, bisexual and unlabelled women, but also determined that those boundaries were fluid.

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