Faculty Publications

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December 2019

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Sexuality Research and Social Policy



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Sexual minority women, Gender non-conforming, Transgender, Election, Social climate, Geographic location


Social Work


As part of a larger online survey, we conducted an Internet-based study that included both qualitative and quantitative data from a national non-probability sample to examine how sexual minority women and gender non-conforming individuals described their experiences and concerns after the 2016 election. The current study explores responses in relation to local social and political climates. Quantitative analysis of survey responses (N = 969) examined changes in participant concerns relative to state policy context (number of positive policies offering equal rights and protections for LGBTQ communities) and size of community (e.g., urban and rural). Analysis of narrative responses to open-ended questions (n = 605) explored experiences and perceptions of safety and support relative to geographic location. Quantitative analyses showed no difference in levels of concern by size of community of residence and greater concerns among participants in higher equality states compared to those in negative equality states. Qualitative analyses revealed two broad categories of themes: perceptions of safety and support in the state, region or local context (safe havens and hostile locations), and strategies for navigating in the current or changing local social and political landscapes (hunkering down in safe places and with safe people, increasing vigilance and evasion, fleeing unsafe locations, and paving the road to a better future). Findings underscore the broad impact of national elections on perception of safety and civil rights at all levels of the social and political environments.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0349-6

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