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Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations

Snapshot of LGBTQI+ Well-Being:

  • Legal System — While legal reforms have improved quality of life for many, discrimination against and mistreatment of LGBTQI+ individuals remain common. Laws vary greatly among states on issues such as gender markers on essential documents or religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws. Mistreatment during interactions with police and correctional systems is a common experience.
  • Public Policy — Though many organizations advocate for LGBTQI+ rights, organizations opposing these rights sometimes control the policy agenda. More inclusive laws and policies are perceived as a signal that society has changed to be less stigmatizing to LBGTQI+ populations.
  • Stigma — Structural stigma contributes significantly to the inequalities experienced by LGBTQI+ people. There has been little research on the ways in which stigma manifests over their lifetimes, and most studies have not considered intersectional characteristics such as race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.
  • Civic Engagement — Over the past several years, convening spaces for LGBTQI+ people have diminished substantially, especially for marginalized groups and people of color. Community connectedness has been shown to help LGBTQI+ people address health disparities and is also a strong predictor of socio-political involvement.
  • Families and Social Relationships — Social connection and family support are important for well-being throughout life, for LGBTQI+ people, as for others. Additional research is needed on relationship development in adolescence, adult family formation, family processes, and couple dynamics among older individuals in sexual and gender diverse communities.
  • Education — School experiences shape educational achievement and career success later in life. Bullying and victimization of LGBTQI+ youth in school has been well documented. Inclusive nondiscrimination policies in schools have been associated with positive student adjustment.
  • Economic Stability — Poverty and economic insecurity are more common among LGBTQI+ people. Many face lower earnings and discrimination in the workforce, as well as discrimination in housing. LGBTQI+ youth are at a greater risk of homelessness, as are transgender people of any age, particularly transgender women of color. More research is needed on the economic well-being of transgender, non-binary, and intersex people.
  • Physical and Mental Health — LGBTQI+ people face numerous health disparities. Their health is substantially affected by discrimination, stigma, and prejudice. Because clinical and population research often does not include measures of sexual or gender identity, the full scope and magnitude of health disparities and the interventions to address them are not yet known.
  • Health Care — Laws that guarantee access to health care services are critical to the health and well-being of LGBTQI+ people, as is access to affordable health insurance. Gender-affirming care is an essential intervention for improving well-being among transgender individuals. Conversion therapy and elective genital surgeries on intersex children who cannot consent are detrimental to both health and well-being.

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