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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3337.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - Board 5

Abstract #108405

Uncharted territory: Homophobic discrimination & victimization in a frontier state

Matthew R. Wolden, BS1, Ben Felix2, and Kristen Clements-Nolle, PhD, MPH1. (1) School of Public Health, University of Nevada, Reno, Mail Stop 274, Reno, NV 89557, 775.784.4041 ext. 262, MRWolden@aol.com, (2) A Rainbow Place, 33 St. Lawrence Avenue, Reno, NV 89509

Background: Research in large urban centers has shown that homophobic discrimination and victimization may lead to increased risk behaviors and poor mental health outcomes among LGBTQ individuals. However, little is known about the prevalence of discrimination, victimization, or mental health status of LGBTQ populations in small communities.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 63 LGBTQ individuals in Northern Nevada. Participants completed an anonymous questionnaire designed to assess: socio-demographics; exposure to discrimination and victimization; perceived comfort level “being out” in the community; and psychosocial needs.

Results: Sixty-four percent of participants were male, 59% were Caucasian, the median age was 24 (Range = 16-59), 25% had a history of homelessness and 6% were currently homeless. Thirty-seven percent experienced anti-gay harassment and 28% reported a threat of physical violence in Nevada public schools. In the community, 60% experienced homophobic threats, and 29% experienced homophobic violence, of which 10% lead to the need for hospitalization or health care. Fifty-one percent of participants felt they needed to deny or hide their sexual orientation at work, and 47% reported fear of being fired, denied promotion, compensation, or benefits as a result of sexual orientation. Nearly one-third (30%) reported a past suicide attempt, and 62% had suicidal ideations.

Conclusions: Prevalence of homophobic discrimination and victimization, as well as suicidal behaviors is high among LGBTQ populations in Northern Nevada. Policies and interventions addressing hate crimes, discrimination, and victimization are urgently needed.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Gay, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Special Topics: Poster Session

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA