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Intimate partner violence among sexual minority men influenced by social, sexual identity

Sexual minority men experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at disproportionately high rates, and IPV among sexual minority men can be influenced by social and sexual identity.

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Sexual minority men experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at disproportionately high rates, and IPV among sexual minority men can be influenced by social and sexual identity.

This is according to a study – “How Intimate Partner Violence Is Influenced by Social Identity Among Sexual Minority Men” by Owen Jessup, Carrie L. Nacht, Marianna Amato, et al – that appeared in LGBT Health.

For this study, 23 sexual minority male participants were recruited from online community settings and one LGBTQ+ organization in Los Angeles, with 10 providers recruited from LGBTQ+ organizations. After interviews, an applied thematic analysis approach was implemented to create memos, inductively generate a codebook, apply codes to the transcripts, and identify key themes in data.

Three main themes were identified by the researchers:

  1. Theme 1: Weaponizing social identity to control a partner, which had three subthemes: (a) immigration status, race/ethnicity, and skin color, (b) threatening to “out” the partner’s sexual orientation, and (c) abusing power inequity.
    “Men who perpetrated IPV often used minority identities or undisclosed sexuality to leverage power over their partner,” stated the researchers.
  2. Theme 2: Use of IPV to establish masculinity, by exerting power over the more “feminine” partner.
  3. Theme 3: Internalized homophobia is a root cause of IPV, which details how internalized homophobia was often expressed in violent outbursts toward partners.

“These findings highlight how IPV among sexual minority men can be influenced by social and sexual identity,” stressed the researchers.

They, therefore, recommend that future research must consider socially constructed power structures and the multiple identities of sexual minority men when developing interventions to address IPV in this population.

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