“We Are Just Magic”: A Qualitative Examination of Self-Love Among Black Same-Gender Loving Men

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Objectives: Black same-gender loving men (BSGLM) represent a population with understudied lived experiences as both racial and sexual minority individuals. Most existing research among BSGLM focuses on sexual health outcomes in the context of minority stress, without consideration of the full experiences of BSGLM or strengths-based approaches. The present study aimed to address this gap in the literature by examining self-love among BSGLM using a phenomenological qualitative approach. Method: Adult BSGLM in the U.S. (n = 19; Mage = 31.79 years [SD = 8.88]) were recruited online and completed interviews via phone and video conferencing. Data were coded independently by two trained coders via an iterative approach that included in vivo coding and line-by-line comparative coding. Codes were grouped thematically, guided by sexual minority identity and positive psychology literature. Results: Three major themes related to self-love among BSGLM emerged: (a) Freedom of identity, meaning participants’ ability to construct an identity outside of societal expectations; (b) Community connection and pride, or participants’ connection to and pride derived from the BSGLM community; and (c) Adversarial growth and resilience, or ways that adversity related to BSGLM identity generated personal growth. Conclusions: Current findings may have clinical implications. Using narrative therapy approach, facilitating connectedness to the BSGLM community, and implementing gratitude interventions in therapeutic settings may enhance self-love and positive self-regard among BSGLM. Future research should continue to give voice to the full lived experience of BSGLM.