Racial Disparities in Health Behaviors and Conditions Among Lesbian and Bisexual Women: The Role of Internalized Stigma



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Little research has examined African American LB women’s physical health behaviors and conditions or compared them with their heterosexual and/or white counterparts.

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Internalization of negative societal attitudes described above toward one’s own minority group (internalized stigma) may also negatively impact the health behaviors and conditions of marginalized communities.

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Physical health behaviors and conditions of marginalized communities: There are at least two types of internalized stigma that apply to LB women across race/ethnicity: internalized homophobia (anti-homosexual attitudes toward the self) and internalized sexism (sexist attitudes toward the self).

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Lower access to healthcare has also been noted for LGB individuals relative to heterosexual populations and has been suggested to be particularly poor for ethnic minorities who identify as LGB.


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African American LGB women reported lower fruit/ vegetable intake and physical activity than white counterparts.

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African Americans have lower rates of insurance and source of usual care compared with white Americans, as well as lower quality of care once in the healthcare system.


Development, implementation, and dissemination of stigma reduction programs for African American LGB women may be associated with physical health benefits.

Internalized sexism has been found to be related to poorer mental health among LGB women.