Abstract: Violence Among Gay and Bisexual Latino Men (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

Violence Among Gay and Bisexual Latino Men

Sunday, January 20, 2019: 1:00 PM
Continental Parlor 8, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Daniel Jacobson, MSW, LSW, Doctoral Candidate, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Background/Purpose:  Gay and bisexual Latino men may be subjected to both violence prompted by homophobia and racism due to the intersection of their identities. Previous studies indicate that for gay and bisexual Latino men, experiences of homophobia and racism are related to social isolation, psychological distress and low self-esteem. LGBT individuals are more likely to experience physical assault and verbal harassment due to their sexual identity from strangers and family compared to heterosexual persons. Research indicates that there are higher prevalence rates of mental disorders and substance usage among gay and bisexual individuals, possibly resulting from societal stressors from belonging to a stigmatized group. While some research has begun to examine health outcomes for gay and bisexual Latino men, there remains a paucity of research examining the complexities of adverse life experiences of gay and bisexual Latino men. This study explored the prevalence of violence due to homophobia and racism among a group of gay and bisexual Latino men.

Methods: Data were obtained from the Latino MSM Community Involvement: HIV Protective Effects Study. All respondents were self-identifying gay, bisexual and/or transgender persons (N=643) from Chicago and San Francisco (Ramirez-Valles, 2014). Three items were used to measure experiences of adult harassment, which examined harassment experienced due to one’s sexual orientation by friends and family members.

Results:  Approximately 34.5% of respondents reported that they were verbally harassed as adults by family members due to their sexual orientation and 31.9% were physically attacked in general due to their sexual orientation.  67.2% of respondents reported being verbally harassed by non-family members (67.2%) due to their sexual orientation.

Conclusion/Implications: The high prevalence of verbal and physical harassment that gay and bisexual Latino men experience falls in line with the hypothesis that this community is particularly vulnerable to violence. Study results have both practice and policy implications. Service providers should ensure to provide culturally competent, trauma-informed practices when working with gay and bisexual Latino men, by addressing the intersection of their identities. In addition, it is important to ensure the protection of this community in attempts to prevent further victimization. Further research in this area is needed.