Intersectional minority stress and identity conflict among sexual and gender minority people of color assigned female at birth.

Elissa L. Sarno*, Gregory Swann, Michael E. Newcomb, Sarah W. Whitton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Sexual and gender minority people of color (SGM-POC) experience intersectional forms of minority stress, including heterosexism within racial/ethnic minority communities, which can contribute to feelings of conflict between SGM and racial/ethnic identities. Internalized stigma may be a consequence of sexual orientation-based discrimination but has not been tested as a mechanism linking intersectional minority stress to identity conflict among SGM-POC. We hypothesized that the association between experiences of heterosexism in racial/ethnic minority communities and identity conflict would be mediated by internalized stigma among SGM assigned female at birth (SGM-AFAB). Method: Participants were 316 SGM-AFAB who identified as POC. Data were collected as a part of an ongoing longitudinal cohort study of young SGM-AFAB. We tested the longitudinal mediation using data from baseline, 6-month follow-up, and 1-year follow-up assessments. Results: Internalized stigma at 6-month follow-up partially mediated the association between experiences of heterosexism in racial/ethnic minority communities at baseline and identity conflict at 1-year follow-up. Conclusions: For SGM-POC, experiences of heterosexism within their racial/ethnic communities may lead to internalization of those negative attitudes. A consequence of internalizing heterosexist attitudes from one’s racial/ethnic group could be a feeling that one’s sexual orientation and racial/ethnic identities must remain separate, perhaps to maintain connection to one’s racial/ethnic community. Identifying internalized stigma as a mediating process is critical to better understand identity development for SGM-POC, and has important clinical implications for working with this population. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Public Significance Statement—Sexual and gender minority people of color (SGM-POC) experience unique forms of discrimination, such as heterosexism within racial/ethnic minority communities, that can affect their identity development. Results of this study showed that among SGM-POC, experiences of heterosexism within one’s racial/ethnic community contributed to more feelings of conflict between their SGM and racial/ethnic identities over time. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • identity
  • intersectionality
  • minority stress
  • race/ethnicity
  • sexual and gender minority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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