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

Authors
  • Valdiserri, Ronald O1
  • Holtgrave, David R1
  • Poteat, Tonia C2
  • Beyrer, Chris2
  • 1 a Department of Health, Behavior, and Society , Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , Baltimore , Maryland , USA.
  • 2 b Department of Epidemiology , Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , Baltimore , Maryland , USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of homosexuality
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Volume
66
Issue
5
Pages
571–589
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2017.1422944
PMID: 29297774
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

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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