Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals are more likely to experience violence than LGBT individuals of other ethno-racial backgrounds or heterosexuals of any ethno-racial background. While the literature has thoroughly described the challenges faced by Black LGBT individuals, their resilience capacity is given much less attention. An examination of the strengths and resilience outcomes of these populations is warranted given their ability to successfully adapt and thrive in the face of racism, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia, as well as racialized sexual orientation and gender identity health disparities. This paper examines resilience and LGBT social science literatures, focusing on factors that may lead to resilience in Black LGBT individuals, and offers recommendations for research and clinical practice.
The evidence is now overwhelming that discrimination negatively impacts both the physical and mental health of minority groups. Members of multiple-minority groups, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer people of color (LGBTQ-POC), are more likely to be exposed to experiences of stigmatization, discrimination, and fear of rejection. However, whether the stress of having these unfavorable experiences translates into increased risk for negative health outcomes is unanswered by the literature. Research to date attempts to address the relationship of stress as a minority and health outcomes through examining the role of microaggressions, exploring the concepts of risk and resilience, and most notably the creation of the minority stress model. The model analyzes the complex relationship between external (discrimination/prejudice) and internal (self-doubt/rumination) stressors that shape the experience of multiple-minority groups, which helps us understand the lived experiences of LGBTQ-POC. LGBTQ-POC are adversely affected by cumulative discrimination and social exclusion, including racism from the LGBTQ community, and homophobia and heterosexism within their racial/ethnic community. In this way, they are a multiply marginalized group, which has implications not only for their risk of mental illness, but also for their access to mental health care, and the quality of care they receive. Using the minority stress model as a frame of reference, we will discuss current approaches to capturing the toll that stress as an LGBTQ-POC has on mental health consequences.
This article examines the perception of homophobia in the black community. The author offers a context for answering this question that briefly explores the parameters for understanding the black community and the experience of black gays and lesbians within this context. No mention of homophobia as it relates to black people would be complete without addressing the impact of racism, sexism, class, and religious practices within the black community. The author gives a rationale for the prevailing assumption that gay and lesbian intolerance is higher among black people and explores at what cost and to what benefit. Recommendations are given for building a stronger and more cohesive black community.