SEXUAL-MINORITY COLLEGE WOMEN's EXPERIENCES WITH DISCRIMINATION: RELATIONS WITH IDENTITY AND COLLECTIVE ACTION

Authors


  • Carly Friedman and Campbell Leaper, Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Cruz.

  • The research was the basis of Carly Friedman's doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Santa Cruz. It was supported by a University of California, Santa Cruz faculty research grant to Campbell Leaper.

  • We thank Faye Crosby, Margarita Azmitia, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Carly Kay Friedman, Department of Psychology, Lenoir-Rhyne University, P.O. Box 7472, Hickory, NC 28603. E-mail: friedman.carly@gmail.com

Abstract

This study examined sexual-minority women's reports of sexism, heterosexism, and gendered heterosexism (discrimination that is both sexist and heterosexist) as predictors of social identity and collective action during college. A measure of gendered heterosexism was developed that assesses women's experiences with discrimination that is simultaneously sexist and heterosexist in nature. This measure was distinct from measures of sexism and heterosexism and had good internal consistency. The sample included 83 sexual-minority college women (mean age = 19.93 years). Significant differences occurred between groups of women based on their identification as lesbian/queer or bisexual. Lesbian/queer women reported significantly more heterosexist discrimination, social identity, and commitment to sexual orientation activism than did bisexual women. After controlling for reported sexism, heterosexism, and their interaction, reported gendered heterosexism uniquely predicted social sexual-orientation identity, commitment to feminist activism, and commitment to lesbian/gay/bisexual/queer (LGBQ) collective action. Thus, young LGBQ women may experience discrimination that is qualitatively different from sexism, heterosexism, or high levels of both sexism and heterosexism. Results are discussed in terms of the implications of intersectionality on sexual-minority women's experiences and identity development.

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