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Epidemiological research consistently concludes that sexual and gender minority populations —lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals—have higher rates of mental and physical health problems than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. These health disparities are not likely to be caused by or inherent to sexual and gender minority identities in and of themselves. Instead, theory and research suggest that these health disparities are attributable to the fact that sexual and gender minority individuals are exposed to more social stress than their heterosexual peers because of stigma and prejudice directed toward them in society. In turn, excess exposure to social stress puts sexual and gender minority individuals at increased risk for negative health outcomes.

Rooted in heterosexist and cisgenderist social structures, these stigma-related stressors have been ...

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