Based on this understanding of intersectionality, one might think that having multiple minority identities, such as being part of the LGBTQ2IA community and having a minority ethnic/racial identity, would create more stress and lead to more negative health and mental health outcomes.
Yet, research in this area is not conclusive and, in fact, some literature suggests that LGBTQ2IA PoC and white LGBTQ2IA people do not differ significantly in experiencing negative mental health outcomes.
This is surprising, given that research also suggests that LGBTQ2IA PoC, compared to white queer people, are more likely to experience discrimination, including verbal harassment and physical assault, relating to their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Indeed, this is the case among transgender women of Colour. In a most extreme example, trans women of colour make up 80% of anti-trans homicides in the United States, compared to 20% being white trans women.
This disconnect between research findings is important to note. This is meaningful for LGBTQ2IA PoC, because this “ suggests that there are other factors at play, or more interestingly, the existence of a protective mechanism from psychological stress as a member of multiple marginalized minority groups” (p. 196).
This suggests that LGBTQ2IA PoC might be better-equipped to manage stress that comes from homophobic and transphobic minority stressors that they experience after coming out, because they can draw from resources they’ve already developed to deal with racism.
But, it’s important to note that this theory is not conclusive. It may explain why some research shows no significant differences in the mental health outcomes between LGBTQ2IA PoC and white queer people.
There are some legitimate concerns with this theory’s structure, including:
it assumes that LGBTQ2IA PoC have more resources to deal with stressors compared to white queer people. This is not necessarily true, and likely also depends on other factors such as income and finances, and social supports.
that LGBTQ2 people are only exposed to homophobic and transphobic minority stressors after coming out, which is also not necessarily true.
With this said, mental health research focusing on LGBTQ2IA PoC remains relatively new, and there is a great deal left to learn about why LGBTQ2IA PoC may not experience greater negative mental health outcomes compared to white queer people.
Regardless, this does emphasize resiliency, and the crucial role that clinicians could play in helping their clients develop resiliency in response to discriminatory events.