Sexual Minority Women's and Gender-Diverse Individuals' Hope and Empowerment Responses to the 2016 Presidential Election

Publication Date

February 2018

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Publication Title

Journal of GLBT Family Studies







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The 2016 presidential election and its outcome evoked strong reactions for many people in the United States. Women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, or queer, and individuals who identify as transgender or genderqueer felt at increased risk of experiencing discrimination and minority stress after the election (Veldhuis et al., 2017Veldhuis, C. B., Drabble, L. A., Riggle, E. D. B., Wootton, A. R., & Hughes, T. L. (2017). “We won't go back into the closet now without one hell of a fight”: Effects of the 2016 election on sexual and gender minorities. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, published online 24October 2017. doi:10.1007/s13178-017-0305-x[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]). Finding positive strategies for reacting to the election outcome is important for the well-being of individuals in these groups. Hope and empowerment theories provide a useful framework for understanding individuals' responses to the election. As part of a larger online survey, 387 sexual minority women and transgender individuals responded to open-ended questions concerning their reactions to the election, including “What makes you feel hopeful or empowered?” Using experiential thematic analyses (Braun & Clarke, 2006Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77–101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa[Taylor & Francis Online], [Google Scholar]) 3 main themes emerged: individual agency, recognition of support from others, and political engagement and collective action. Multiple subthemes for each theme illustrated the range of responses consistent with hope and empowerment theories. We discuss implications for strength-based interventions to promote resilience in this population.


bisexual women, coping, empowerment, hope, lesbian, minority stress, transgender


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