By CHARLES ANZALONE
Published September 2, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified health disparities among minority racial and ethnic populations. Amy Hequembourg, associate professor in the School of Nursing, is also concerned about another population facing disproportionate health risks: sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations.
SGM populations represent diverse individuals who suffer from a variety of health disparities. Unique forms of stress resulting from discrimination and prejudice targeting SGM identities are at the heart of these disparities, and drive poor health outcomes and risky health behaviors.
“Heterosexism operates as a system of interrelated cultural, legal and social structures that assume compulsory heterosexuality, and marginalize and penalize those who don’t conform to that expectation, thus perpetuating inequality” says Hequembourg, whose research focuses on understanding why SGM individuals are at risk for experiencing adverse health outcomes.
“Sexual minority stressors, such as repeated exposure to daily micro-aggressions and prejudice, are rooted in