First- and Second-Hand Experiences of Enacted Stigma Among LGBTQ Youth

Amy L. Gower, Cheryl Ann B. Valdez, Ryan J. Watson, Marla E. Eisenberg, Christopher J. Mehus, Elizabeth M. Saewyc, Heather L. Corliss, Richard Sullivan, Carolyn M. Porta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Research on enacted stigma, or stigma- and bias-based victimization, including bullying and harassment, among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth often focuses on one context (e.g., school) or one form (e.g., bullying or microaggressions), which limits our understanding of these experiences. We conducted qualitative go-along interviews with 66 LGBTQ adolescents (14–19 years) in urban, suburban, town, and rural locations in the United States and Canada identified through purposive and snowball sampling. Forty-six participants (70%) described at least one instance of enacted stigma. Three primary themes emerged: (1) enacted stigma occurred in many contexts; (2) enacted stigma restricted movement; and (3) second-hand accounts of enacted stigma shaped perceptions of safety. Efforts to improve well-being among LGBTQ youth must address the diverse forms and contexts of enacted stigma that youth experience, which limit freedom of movement and potential access to opportunities that encourage positive youth development. School nurses can play a critical role in reducing enacted stigma in schools and in collaboration with community partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of School Nursing
Issue number3
Early online dateJul 23 2019
StatePublished - Jul 23 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HD078470. Watson acknowledges support from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse Award Number K01DA047918.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • and queer youth
  • bias-based bullying
  • bisexual
  • enacted stigma
  • gay
  • harassment
  • lesbian
  • safety
  • school nursing
  • transgender


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