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Abstract

Lesbian and bisexual women from diverse backgrounds possess unique viewpoints regarding the meanings and functions of “community.” Despite this, few studies have explored sexual minority women's understanding of and relationship to their communities. The present study employed qualitative research methods to investigate the meanings and functions of community among a sample of ethnically diverse lesbian and bisexual women (N=49). From the participants' responses in semistructured focus groups and key informant interviews, three core constructs emerged: community concepts (relevance, meaning), community-based strain (racism, homophobia, biphobia, classism), and community-based action (fluidity, exclusivity). Implications of these findings for future research and practice with this population of women will be discussed. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.