The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Beyond the Binary: Experiences of Lgbtq Individuals of Different Ethnicities and Faith Groups

Saturday, January 19, 2013: 3:30 PM
Executive Center 3A (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
* noted as presenting author
Trisha Moscato, BA, Researcher, no Affiliation, New York, NY
Wahiba Abu-Ras, PhD, Assistant Professor, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
Hind Almaizr, PhD, Assistant Professor, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Purpose: Discrimination and hate crimes toward the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) population are still prevalent despite recently improved societal attitudes and behaviors.  Thus, many of these individuals are left with a pervasive sense of vulnerability.  Several studies have been conducted on discrimination and mental health issues within this community, indicating that discrimination and physical, verbal or sexual abuse pose high risks to their mental health and well-being.  However, there remains a dearth of knowledge regarding LGBTQ persons of minority groups, notably, South Asian and Arabs. This study is the first to fill the gap in the literature.

Objectives: (a) assess the risk and protective factors race, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, and immigration status may have on the well being of LGBTQ minority groups; (b) examine the relationship between race-based and sexual-based racism and depression among LGBTQ individuals of different faith and ethnic groups.

Methodology: A cross-sectional online national survey collected data from 546 participants. We randomly selected two community organizations from an extensive list from seven states (NY, NJ, CA, FL, HW, MI, and TX– the most known states to address LGBTQ issues). We also used 10 individuals as seeds, who posted the survey link on Facebook.

Measures: We used two standardized measures: scales of General-Based Racism (GBR) and Sexual-Based Racism (SBR) (Ibanez, el 2009), and The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) (Radloff, 1977).  Open-ended questions were also utilized.

Results: Descriptive, dependent t -test, and one-way ANOVA analysis were used to analyze the data.  Participants came from different ethnic, racial, religious, immigrant, and educational backgrounds. About 42% reported experiencing hate crimes, verbal abuse (34%), emotional abuse (22%), and mental abuse (11.5%). The dependent t test results show significant differences between levels of depression, GBR and SBR between male and female participants, and between U.S. and non-U.S. born participants.  While males reported higher rates of GBR and SBR,GBR (5.45 vs. 4.98, , t (df=273.7) =1.99, p<.05) female participants reported a higher mean on the CES-D (5.45 vs. 5.0,  t=(df=226.69) =2.113; p <05) .  Non-U.S. participants reported higher rates of SBR than their U.S. counterparts, (5.87 vs. 5.02 t (df=78.24 ) = 2.775; p < 0.5) but a lower mean on CES-D than U.S. born participants. Results show a significant difference between religious and ethnic groups: Hindus and Muslims were more likely to report GBR and SBR than Christians, Jews, Buddhist and those with no religious affiliation. Although there is no significant differences found between faith groups on depression, Hindus reported the highest (M=23.8), while Muslims reported the lowest (M=16.8) level of depression.

Implications: This study highlights the importance of examining differences between and among participants.  The results will provide social workers and mental health professionals with a better understanding of the intersectionality between race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status and sexual orientation and its impact on their clients’ well being.