Methods: Individual semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted October 2020 to January 2021 via Zoom with participants who reside in California, were 18 and older, self-identify as a member of both a sexual minority group (e.g., queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and identify as Latinx or a variation of the Latinx identity (e.g., Latina/o, Chicana/o, Hispanic). Recruitment was conducted via a snowball sampling method initiated with a recruitment email sent to 95 LGBTQ and Cultural resource centers across California. Interviews lasted approximately one-hour, were recorded, and transcribed for data analysis using ATLAS.ti version 8.5.
Results: 9 interviews were conducted with participants ranging from 22-43 in age. 5 participants identified with masculine pronouns, 3 with feminine pronouns, and 2 with gender neutral pronouns. 5 participants are current university students ranging from undergraduate to graduate and 4 participants are working professionals working in a range of careers. Although experiences varied across the sample, four emerging themes surfaced. They are: (1) policing; (2) single-identity; (3) cis lens; and (4) navigating multiple context. Participants shared a common experience of their behavior, thoughts, presentation, and desires being policed. These instances were often emphasized and mixed with cultural and societal norms. Intern, participants were often viewed and forced into a single-identity often not chosen by them. This was usually produced through a cis lens. Lastly, participants expressed the difficulty of navigating multiple contexts.
Implications: Qualitative data allows us to begin to see a complex and unique experience with minoritized identities that is often misunderstood. Initial results provide a foundation for practitioners to support the population. Culturally responsive and community grounded interventions for LGBTQ+ Latinx individuals could counter policing of identities from within community and outside community. Continuing to emphasize intersectionality and the nuances of identity could support LGBTQ+ Latinx fully experience their multiple identities. Despite the small sample size, emerging themes offer a foundation to further research. Particular attention should be placed on individual strengths to build a strengths-based framework to support community mental health. Lastly, further research is necessary to better encourage mental health providers to support positive mental health outcomes.