Epistemic Injustice: Towards Uncovering Knowledge of Bisexual Realities in Social Work Research

  • Gio Iacono Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work University of Toronto
Keywords: Bisexuality, epistemic injustice, microaggression, research


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals experience health risks, with bisexuals experiencing higher levels of health risk compared to heterosexuals, gays and lesbians. These disparities are often attributed to stressors related to minority status. While similarities among LGBTQ experiences exist, it is plausible that bisexuals experience unique forms of marginalization, which may help explain the documented health disparities. Bostwick and Hequembourg highlight unique forms of marginalization that bisexuals experience vis-a`-vis microagressions, falling within the realm of the epistemic. Fricker’s work on epistemic injustice emphasizes marginalization particularly as it is related to knowledge and experience. Drawing on this scholarship, this paper provides a review of existing literature on the bisexual experience, and a discussion to provide a critical lens on bisexual marginalization in society and the minimal attention received in social work research. Approaches to increase bisexual visibility and attention in social work research will be discussed. Some approaches include: developing a queer theoretical perspective in practice and research to allow for greater problematization of social categories; and making a concerted effort to promote research that is inclusive of minority populations within the sexual and gender minority population group. This might include groups with intersecting points of marginalization, such as racialized and gender diverse individuals.

Author Biography

Gio Iacono, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work University of Toronto

Gio is a PhD candidate, research coordinator and course instructor in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. Gio also teaches at Ryerson University and Centennial College. His research and scholarly interests include: LGBTQ youth mental health, bisexuality, resilience, social work education and mindfulness-based treatment approaches. Gio has worked as a clinical social worker, psychotherapist, educator, and researcher in a variety of health and community-based settings. He has a particular expertise in delivering psychotherapy to vulnerable and marginalized populations, particularly youth. Gio’s community development work has been focused on promoting the mental health of diverse and marginalized communities. He is a current recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and fellowship recipient of the Royal Bank of Canada Graduate Fellowships in Applied Social Work Research.


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