LGBTQIA Populations

LGTBQIA Populations

Like other minority and diverse populations, research in this area is scant and conflicting.  It is probably accurate to conceptualize eating disorders and body image disturbance in this population a hidden epidemic.

Research suggests:

  • There may be similar prevalence of eating disorders amongst heterosexual, bisexual and lesbian women
  • GENERALLY speaking, gay men:
    • idealize a thinner body size
    • are more concerned about their weight
    • are more afraid of becoming fat than straight men
    • share the drive for muscularity with straight men
  • However, subcultures exist within the LGBT community and not all emphasize thin body types
  • Contributing and complicating factors in this population include:
    • Coming out
    • Internalized negative messages about LGBT, non-conforming gender expression or sexuality
    • Violence and PTSD
    • Discrimination
    • Bullying
    • Gender dysphoria
    • Homelessness (especially youth)
    • Lack of family/social support
    • Subcultures within the LGBT community
    • Access to services and culturally-competent providers who understand the intersection of these identities and concerns ​​