How do the experiences of young LGB people today differ from those who came out a generation ago? Is high school bullying a common experience for LGB youth? Is it something that more uniquely describes the lives of young LGB people or has it affected the lives of LGB people across generations? Are young LGB people healthier than older LGB people as a result of living in a world with less discrimination and stigma? How common are experiences of prejudice and discrimination in the lives of LGB people in the United States? What kinds of challenges to LGB people experience in accessing health care? These are just some of the questions that the Generations study comes to address.
The study has both a qualitative and quantitative (survey) components. In the survey research we aim to assess three cohorts in relation to their identity as LGB individuals and their experience of stress related to homophobia and everyday forms of discrimination and compare patterns of utilization of social and health services. Respondents representing the Black, Latino, and White U.S. LGB populations will participate in a survey over a 5-year period to detect changes related to social environment and aging. In the qualitative study, we ask respondents to tell us their narrative life histories. Respondents will be Black, Latino, White, Asian, and American Indian LGB individuals living in urban and non-urban regions of New York, California, and Arizona.
The researchers and scientific advisors are excited about the promise of the new Generations study because it has two distinct benefits: First, we are studying a nationally representative sample of LGB individuals, so we can more accurately than most research on LGB individuals describe not only the issues but also how prevalent they are in the United States. Second, because it is a study that focuses on LGB individuals, rather than include them in a large sample of the U.S. population, we are able to address very specific questions concerning the lives and health of LGB persons that other general national health studies do not address in detail.
The study was launched in September 2014 and we have been hard at work preparing for the data collection phase. The qualitative data collection is beginning in March 2015 and the survey data collection is planned for July 2015. Check this space for news about our progress in the future.