Abstract: We Are Powerful People: Health-Promoting Strengths of LGBTQ Communities of Color (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

225P We Are Powerful People: Health-Promoting Strengths of LGBTQ Communities of Color

Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Kimberly Hudson, PhD, Assistant Professor, Fordham University, NY
Meghan Romanelli, MSW, Doctoral Candidate, New York University, Silver School of Social Work, New York, NY
Background and Purpose:  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities of color experience intersecting systems of oppression that limit access to health care, safety, and other basic resources. Important research has documented these disparities, their antecedents and consequences. However, little research has attended to the strengths of multiply marginalized LGBTQ communities. Exploring how individuals perceive the role of community in enhancing health is critical toward reaching a more nuanced, grassroots understanding of the formal and informal mechanisms through which communities become and stay well.

Methods: Drawing from the Health Equity Promotion Model, this study is based on individual, in-depth interviews with 38 LGBTQ-identified people of color in New York City. Purposive and snowball sampling were used. Participants’ perspectives on the role of community in enhancing health and well-being were examined using framework analysis.

Results: Health-promoting community strengths identified by participants were organized around three themes: (a) safety, acceptance, and support; (b) interconnectedness and resource sharing; and (c) advocacy, collective action, and community potential. These three themes reflected the key strengths of LGBTQ communities that enhance health and create the possibility for wellness.

Conclusions and Implications: This study points to specific implications for research, policy, and practice. Research should continue to pay attention to diversity within communities and be sure to include LGBTQ people from different social positions and backgrounds, including nonbinary people, people living with disabilities, low income, indigenous, immigrant, and those best served in other languages. Additionally, health care organizations and institutions must maintain a commitment to community self-determination and listening to and centering the needs, concerns, and accomplishments of communities. Insights from this study also demonstrate the imperative of acknowledging and raising up LGBTQ people of color’s voices in community, practice, and policy settings.