Sexual and ethnic identity development among gay-bisexual-questioning (GBQ) male ethnic minority adolescents

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2009 Jul;15(3):203-14. doi: 10.1037/a0014795.


Identity development is a critical task of adolescence and occurs across multiple areas of self-identification. Although research on the identity development process among individuals who are ethnic and sexual minorities has been conducted for individuals who have 1 minority status or the other, few studies have examined these processes in people who are both ethnic and sexual minorities. In this qualitative study, the authors examined the dual identity development processes related to ethnic and sexual identity among gay-bisexual-questioning (GBQ) Latino and African American male adolescents. Results indicated that the processes associated with the development of sexual orientation and ethnic identity occur concurrently. However, the actual processes involved with the development of each identity not only differed, but seemed to be independent of each other because neither process was referenced in the development of the other. Overall, the process of ethnic identity development involved the process of becoming aware of one's ethnic and cultural heritage, whereas sexual identity development involved finding one's own personally relevant sexual orientation label and connecting to that community. The implications of these findings for the development of interventions to assist in the healthy development of GBQ adolescents are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Awareness
  • Bisexuality / ethnology*
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Black or African American / ethnology*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Gender Identity*
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / ethnology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Psychosexual Development
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Support
  • Social Values / ethnology
  • Young Adult