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Intersectional stigma and mental health: Interactions with identity authenticity and SGM community in sexual and gender minoritized young adults of color

Gregory Swann, Shariell Crosby, Michael E Newcomb, Sarah W Whitton

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology

Objectives: Sexual and gender minoritized people (SGM) of color experience stigma unique to their intersection of identities, such as racism from SGM and heterosexism from people of color (POC) in their same racial/ethnic group. SGM POC who experience enacted stigma, like microaggressions, have been found to have poorer mental health outcomes. SGM identity authenticity and connections to the SGM community have been associated with better mental health. We sought to test if intersectional enacted stigma, identity authenticity, community connectedness, and the interactions between enacted stigma and authenticity and community were associated with mental health in assigned female at birth (AFAB) SGM young adults of color.

Method: Data come from 341 racial/ethnic minoritized SGM-AFAB (Mage = 21.23, SD = 3.80). Multivariate linear regressions tested main effects of intersectional enacted stigma (heterosexism from POC and racism from SGM) and authenticity and community on mental health, as well as interaction effects on mental health.

Results: SGM-AFAB POC who experienced more heterosexism from POC reported more anxiety and depression symptoms. Greater connection to the SGM community was associated with fewer anxiety and depression symptoms. Heterosexism from POC and community connection interacted such that SGM-AFAB who experienced less heterosexism from POC reported fewer mental health symptoms if they were more connected to the SGM community, but SGM-AFAB who experienced more heterosexism did not benefit from stronger community connection.

Conclusions: Heterosexism from other POC may put SGM POC at higher exposure for negative mental health outcomes and reduce the mental health benefits of a stronger connection to the SGM community.

PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved.

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