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Laura Baams: LGBTQIA+ Are all those letters really necessary?

LGBTQIA+ Are all those letters really necessary?

Sexual and gender minority youth use various labels to describe their sexuality and gender. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual are labels most commonly used by people who are attracted to people of the same gender (L and G), or to their own and other genders (B). People who do not experience sexual or romantic attractions may identify as asexual or aromantic (A). People whose gender does not align with their sex assigned at birth may identify as transgender (T). People who are born with an intersex condition may identify as intersex (I). Queer is a term often used to push back against normative expectations from both heterosexual and sexual/gender minority communities (Q).

Laura Baams
Photo: Kees van de Veen

These labels describe the wide range of people’s identities, attractions, gender, or sex, but there are also people that feel these binary labels don’t fit them. This is why the plus (+) is important: to include those who do not identify with a binary label, and may identify with an emergent identity, such as genderqueer or pansexual, or who prefer to forego labels altogether.

Research shows that Dutch sexual and gender minority youth are more likely to have mental health problems, and these disparities are best explained by negative experiences with peers and family in a heteronormative society. My research aims to identify the underlying mechanisms of these disparities and which sociocultural factors might protect youth or potentially exacerbate disparities. Seeing themselves represented in one of these letters improves the sense of belonging for minority youth, and helps them to better understand their experiences.

L. (Laura) Baams, PhD
First name
Laura
Telephone
E-mail
Function
Assistant Professor
Last modified:12 December 2019 3.24 p.m.
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