An Intersectional Approach to the Study of Sexual Stigma

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Sexual minorities report experiencing more stigma, fewer psychosocial resources, and less positive regard. While differences within sexual minority subgroups may exist in terms of both experience and attitudes, the current literature lacks an exploration of those differences as well as an exploration of intersectionality (the concept of belonging to multiple minority groups thus creating a novel and distinctive experience). Our study aimed to examine sub-group differences as well as take an intersectional approach using data on heterosexuals, homosexuals, and bisexuals (N=1,725) from across the U.S. Bisexuals differed significantly from homosexuals on reported experiences, such as higher outness (p<.001, MD=-0.573). Further, significant differences were found between female (n=106) and male (n=136) homosexuals with lesbians reporting less direct help-seeking (t=-2.255, p=.026) and less perceived social support (t=-2.014, p=.046) than gay men, indicating that the intersection of gender and sexual orientation creates a novel experience for each group. These findings along with the lack of racial diversity lead us to conclude that a more extensive study must be done that targets racial minority individuals and expands the intersectional framework by including more gender and sexual orientation options. A full spectrum intersectionality study will be proposed.


Johnson City, TN

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