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Purpose: Sexual minority youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to consider and attempt suicide, in part due to victimization experienced within schools…
Purpose: Sexual minority youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to consider and attempt suicide, in part due to victimization experienced within schools. While existing research suggests that rates of school victimization and suicidality among sexual minority students vary by school and community context, less is known about variation in these experiences at the state level.
Methodology: Using data from a large, representative sample of sexual minority and heterosexual youth (2017 Youth Risk Behavior States Data, n = 64,746 high school students in 22 states), multilevel models examine whether differences between sexual minority and heterosexual students in victimization and suicide risk vary by state-level policies.
Findings: Results suggest that disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual boys in bullying, suicide ideation, and suicide attempt are consistently smaller in states with high levels of overall policy support for LGBTQ equality and nondiscrimination in education laws. Sexual minority girls are more likely than heterosexual girls to be electronically bullied, particularly in states with lower levels of LGBTQ equality. Disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual girls in suicide ideation are lowest in high equality states, but state policies are not significantly associated with disparities in suicide attempt among girls.
Value: Overall, findings suggest that state-level policies supporting LGBTQ equality are associated with a reduced risk of suicide among sexual minority youth. This study speaks to the role of structural stigma in shaping exposure to minority stress and its consequences for sexual minority youth's well-being.
Purpose: The goal of Volume 21 of Advances in Medical Sociology, entitled Sexual and Gender Minority Health, is to showcase recent developments and areas for future…
Purpose: The goal of Volume 21 of Advances in Medical Sociology, entitled Sexual and Gender Minority Health, is to showcase recent developments and areas for future research related to the health, well-being, and healthcare experiences of LGBTQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, Asexual, and related communities that do not identify as heterosexual) persons and communities.
Approach: In this introduction to the volume, we trace the historical development of research on sexual and gender minority (SGM) health, discussing how priorities, theories, and evidence have evolved over time. We conclude with brief suggestions for future research and an overview of the articles presented in this volume.
Findings: Research on SGM health has flourished in the past two decades. This trend has occurred in conjunction with a period of intense social, political, and legal discourse about the civil rights of SGM persons, which has increased understanding and recognition of SGM experiences. However, recent advances have often been met with resistance and backlash rooted in enduring social stigma and long histories of discrimination and prejudice that reinforce and maintain health disparities faced by SGM populations.
Value: Our review highlights the need for additional research to understand minority stress processes, risk factors, and resiliency, particularly for those at the intersection of SGM and racial/ethnic or socioeconomic marginality.