Martin-Storey A, August EG. (2016). Harassment due to gender nonconformity mediates the association between sexual minority identity and depressive symptoms. Journal of Sex Research. 53(1): 85-97.
The visibility of a stigmatized identity is central in determining how individuals experience that identity. Sexual minority status (e.g., identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual) has traditionally been identified as a concealable stigma, compared with race/ethnicity or physical disability status. This conceptualization fails to recognize, however, the strong link between sexual minority status and a visible stigma: gender nonconformity. Gender nonconformity, or the perception that an individual fails to conform to gendered norms of behavior and appearance, is strongly stigmatized, and is popularly associated with sexual minority status. The hypothesis that harassment due to gender nonconformity mediates the association between sexual minority status and depressive symptoms was tested. Heterosexual and sexual minority-identified college and university students (N = 251) completed questionnaires regarding their sexual minority identity, experiences of harassment due to gender nonconformity, harassment due to sexual minority status, and depressive symptoms. A mediational model was supported, in which the association between sexual minority identity and depressive symptoms occurred via harassment due to gender nonconformity. Findings highlight harassment due to gender nonconformity as a possible mechanism for exploring variability in depressive symptoms among sexual minorities.