Perceptions of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Minority Adolescents About Labels

Carolyn M. Porta, Amy L. Gower, Camille Brown, Brittany Wood, Marla E. Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Young peoples’ acceptance and use of nontraditional, descriptive identity labels (e.g., pansexual, genderqueer) require nurses to consider moving beyond use of traditional terms (e.g., gay, transgender). This mixed methods study explores (a) labels used by sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) minority youth, (b) their expressed importance and meaning of these labels, and (c) differences in label usage. Sixty-six SOGI minority adolescents in British Columbia, Minnesota, and Massachusetts (mean age = 16.6) participated in “go-along” interviews; during interviews, 42 (63.6%) commented on labels. Chi-square and t tests were used to compare traditional versus nontraditional labels across participant demographic categories. Inductive thematic analysis was used to identify representative themes. Approximately, 1/3 of participants used nontraditional sexual orientation identity labels; this finding was associated with a trans identity and nontraditional gender labels. Using terminology that is meaningful and representative to the youth themselves has potential to facilitate representative research and welcoming environments in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalWestern journal of nursing research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

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 in part by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01HD078470. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • gender identity
  • identity development
  • identity labels
  • mixed methods
  • research
  • sexual orientation


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