Unraveling Health Disparities Among Sexual and Gender Minorities: A Commentary on the Persistent Impact of Stigma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) populations experience disparities in health outcomes, both physical and mental, compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. This commentary confronts the view held by some researchers that the disparate rates of mental health problems reported among LGBT populations are the consequences of pursuing a particular life trajectory, rather than resulting from the corrosive and persistent impact of stigma. Suggesting that mental health disparities among LGBT populations arise internally, de novo, when individuals express non-heterosexual and non-conforming gender identities ignores the vast body of evidence documenting the destructive impact of socially mediated stigma and systemic discrimination on health outcomes for a number of minorities, including sexual and gender minorities. Furthermore, such thinking is antithetical to widely accepted standards of health and wellbeing because it implies that LGBT persons should adopt and live out identities that contradict or deny their innermost feelings of self.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 11 2018

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minority
gender
Health
health
mental health
Transgender Persons
discrimination
human being
evidence
Sexual Minorities
experience
Mental Health
Population
Caustics
Ego
Heterosexuality
Emotions
Research Personnel

Keywords

  • discrimination
  • health disparities
  • Sexual minorities
  • stigma
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) populations experience disparities in health outcomes, both physical and mental, compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. This commentary confronts the view held by some researchers that the disparate rates of mental health problems reported among LGBT populations are the consequences of pursuing a particular life trajectory, rather than resulting from the corrosive and persistent impact of stigma. Suggesting that mental health disparities among LGBT populations arise internally, de novo, when individuals express non-heterosexual and non-conforming gender identities ignores the vast body of evidence documenting the destructive impact of socially mediated stigma and systemic discrimination on health outcomes for a number of minorities, including sexual and gender minorities. Furthermore, such thinking is antithetical to widely accepted standards of health and wellbeing because it implies that LGBT persons should adopt and live out identities that contradict or deny their innermost feelings of self.",
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