Abstract: Challenges and Coping Strategies Among Indigenous Gay Men through Intersectional Lens (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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152P Challenges and Coping Strategies Among Indigenous Gay Men through Intersectional Lens

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Ciwang Teyra, PhD, Assistant Professor, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Chao-Kai Huang, MSW, Research Assistant, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Wan-Jung (Wendy) Hsieh, LICSW, PhD student, university of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL
Background: With the legalization of Same-Sex Marriage in 2019 in Taiwan, the LGBTQ

population and their marginalization have gradually gained public attention. Comparing with the mainstream Han LGBTQ group, indigenous LGBTQ groups experience more severe challenges through the intersectionality of racial and gender discrimination in their daily lives. With only a few existing studies focusing on the indigenous LGBTQ population in Taiwan, this research aims to fulfill the gap by exploring their life challenges, coping strategies, and resilience factors with an intersectionality perspective.

Method/Analysis: This study used a community-engaged approach in collaboration with the Taiwan Indigenous LGBTQ Alliance, conducting in-depth qualitative interviews with 15 indigenous gay men who reside in various regions of Taiwan. We employed an inductive thematic analysis approach to analyze transcripts. This approach involved both within and cross-case analysis to identify major themes. The findings were reviewed by the core members of

the Taiwan Indigenous LGBTQ Alliance to establish cultural validity.

Findings: Findings revealed that many indigenous gay men experienced the intersectionality of racial discrimination, gender identity/ sexual orientation discrimination, and stigmas (religion,

class, SES status, and migrations) during their growths, which is very different from the experiences of the Han LGBTQ group in Taiwan. Findings suggested Indigenous gay men experienced not only racial discrimination and microaggression from the general Han population but also gender discrimination from their own indigenous communities. The history of colonial oppression and assimilation policies have created racial and ethnic stigma toward indigenous individuals. Colonialization further has reinforced Han values and Christian values into indigenous communities, which created homophobia and anti-gay phenomenon in indigenous communities as both values root in heterosexual hegemony. Therefore, while suffering racial discrimination from mainstream society, indigenous gay men could not receive comforts or supports from their communities/ tribal individuals either because they may experience rejections or gender discrimination within the communities. These contexts resulted in severe psychological distress among indigenous gay men. While many of them coped with the stress by using substances, some of them developed positive coping strategies to respond to the challenges of multiple discriminations and stigma. Specifically, many indigenous gay men were actively involved in tribal public affairs and services, kept a proper physical distance from the tribal communities, made connections within other indigenous LGBTQ group members, and sought for higher socioeconomic status (SES) to extend a sense of security.

Conclusion: This study suggests that more future research about indigenous LGBTQ individuals in Taiwan is needed. Moreover, to better understand their experiences, it is significant to use intersectional perspectives. This study also indicates that additional resources are required to support indigenous LGBTQ individuals and their parents to cope with stress about coming-out, to explore their inner strengths and resilience, and to facilitate dialogues within the tribe. These practices and supports will be critical to reduce further oppression among this population and promote their wellbeing.