IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 9916: State-Level Policy Environments, Discrimination, and Victimization among Sexual and Gender Minority People (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Legislation has been passed in some states to reduce discrimination and victimization toward sexual and gender minority people (SGM; people who are not solely heterosexual and/or whose gender identity is not equal to what is socially associated with sex assigned at birth). The purpose of these analyses is to test whether state-level policy environments are associated with past-year discrimination and victimization among SGM people. Cross-sectional data from The Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality (PRIDE) Study annual questionnaire (collected 2018–2019), a national study of the health of SGM adults in the USA, were used for these analyses. Measures included related to discrimination, victimization, and demographic characteristics. State-level policy environments were measured using data from the Movement Advancement Project. Logistic regression analyses evaluated state-level policy environment scores and past-year discrimination and victimization among gender identity categories. In this sample, 7044 people (gender minority n = 2530) were included. Cisgender sexual minority (odds ratio [OR] = 1.007, p = 0.041) and the gender expansive subgroup of gender minority people (OR = 1.010, p = 0.047) in states with more protective policy environments had greater odds of discrimination. The gender expansive subgroup was found to have greater odds of victimization in states with more protective policy environments (OR = 1.003, p < 0.05). There was no relationship between state-level policy environments and victimization among any other study groups. SGM people may experience increased risk for discrimination and victimization despite legislative protections, posing continued risks for poor health outcomes and marginalization. Evaluation of factors (e.g., implementation strategies, systems of accountability) that influence the effectiveness of state-level polices on the reported experiences of discrimination and victimization among SGM people is needed.