Eliminating racism and anti-LGBTQ policies can improve the health of men with a black sexual minority
Eliminating racial and anti-LGBTQ policies is critical to improving the health of gay, bisexual, and other black sexual minority men, according to a research team led by Rutgers.
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examined the effects of structural racism and state-level anti-LGBTQ policies on the psychological and behavioral health of men with black and white sexual minorities.
Our results highlight the composite effects of racist and anti-LGBTQ policies and their implementation for gay, bisexual and queer black men. In order to improve mental and physical health and to support their human rights, this policy of oppression needs to be changed. “
Devin English, Director of Studies and Assistant Professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health
The researchers interviewed a statewide US sample of 1,379 black and 5,537 white men of sexual sexuality who were over 16 years of age, identified as male (including cisgender and transgender men), were HIV negative, or were unaware of their status , and reported about their mental health (e.g. symptoms of anxiety) and behavioral health (e.g. heavy drinking and frequency of HIV testing).
The study measured structural racism using an index that rates black and white inequalities at the state level in terms of incarceration rates, educational attainment, economic indicators, employment status, and housing segregation.
Anti-LGBTQ policies were measured against the Human Rights Campaign’s Equal Opportunities Index, which rates each state based on how its laws affect LGBTQ communities, e.g. B. Allowing hate crime, conversion therapy and discrimination in housing, employment and public housing.
The states with the worst LGBTQ policies were those in the southern and upper Midwest that continued to restrict LGBTQ people’s access or criminalize their experiences, e.g. B. restrict access to bathrooms that match the gender identity of transgender and gender-specific communities.
States with the worst structural racism scores were predominantly states with large metropolitan areas in northern states with legacies of redlining, systematic divestment, and other forms of racism.
Black men with sexual minorities who live in states with high levels of structural racism and anti-LGBTQ policies saw themselves exponentially more often as a burden to others and drink a lot of alcohol than men in states with less structural oppression. In addition, black participants had higher rates of anxiety in states with high levels of structural racism and anti-LGBTQ policies, and lower rates of HIV testing in states with anti-LGBTQ policies.
The study found that structural racism amplified the effects of anti-LGBTQ policies and vice versa. In contrast, the study found no association between either form of structural oppression and health outcomes for men with a white sexual minority.
“The finding that anti-LGBTQ interventions have been linked to negative psychological and behavioral health outcomes in black but non-white sexual minority men suggests that this oppression disproportionately affects black sexual minority communities,” said English.
“To effectively combat the negative health effects of structural oppression for men with a black sexual minority, clinicians, researchers, and policy makers must campaign for anti-repression laws such as the Gender Equality Act to be passed that protect these men from interpersonal and institutional discrimination.”