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LGBTQ+ Relationships

LGBTQ+ Relationships

Rhonda Zingraff

What do we know about risks to the well-being of relationships for LGBTQ+ individuals? A lot of research emphasizes the destructive impact of exposure to discrimination, and it is not difficult to understand how that could erode a couple’s commitment. It is among the many privileges that straight couples enjoy, that they can move about in the world as a couple without being treated unfairly because they are together. To be deprived of that privilege is a pressure that can certainly strain, if not break, a relationship. But many studies have also pointed to the corrosive effect of internalizing society’s negative views. In fact, studies that include internalized homophobia find an even greater impact on relationship well-being than exposure to discrimination. The implication is that couples capable of effectively resisting or denying the cultural bigotry around them, about them, have an added measure of protection that helps them to better withstand instances of discrimination. It’s worthy of note that gay pride is an empirically established relationship protector!


Another interesting finding is about the broader category of friendships. Among LGBTQ+ people, there is far greater versatility than heterosexual cisgender people display. It’s true in general that everybody tends to make friends with people who are similar to themselves, but cross-race and cross-sex friendships are made and sustained by LGBTQ+ people to a far greater degree and that is worthy of note.


This “worthy of note” was made possible by the following scholarship:Pollitt, A. M.,  Blair, K. L., &  Lannutti, P. J. (2023).  A review of two decades of LGBTQ-inclusive research in JSPR and PR. Personal Relationships 30 (1): 144-173,https://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12432