Minority Stress of Black LGBTQIA+ Students Attending an HBCU

Rachel Joseph, Tennessee State University


Minority stress literature demonstrates that minority group membership negatively impacts physical and psychological health and well-being, adjustment, and success (Greer & Brown, 2011). For Black/African American LGBTQIA+ college students, adjustment and success in college is often shaped by the complex and pervasive nature of the interplay between typical collegiate stressors and minority stress (Greer & Chwalisz, 2007). Despite historical research that focuses on the impact of minority stress on Black/African American individuals within Eurocentric society, a minimal number of research studies focus on the intersectionality of ethnicity and race (i.e., Blackness) with gender and sexual identity. Moreover, there are far less studies that examine these variables within the college population. Therefore, this study aspires to add to the literature by exploring the essence of the lived experiences of five Black/African American LGBTQIA+ college students who attend/attended an HBCUs. By doing this, counseling psychologists, mental health professionals, and larger society can assist in improving the collective well-being of this group by employing culturally informed practices and mental health services that speak to the experience of marginalized Black/African American LGBTQIA+ college students. Data was collected using a semi-structured interview format in which Black/African American LGBTQIA+ college students described their experiences attending HBCUs in the southern and eastern regions of the United States. The study’s research questions directed the qualitative process by focusing on the impact of minority stress on Black/African American LGBTQIA+ college students and how these students cope with this stress. Eight thematic findings emerged from participant’s interviews including experiences related to identity development, education and exposure, systems and institutions, stigma, ostracization, discrimination, adverse experiences, and recommendations. Based on these findings, suggestions were provided for practices within the HBCU institution, Black/African American community, mental health profession and future research.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Higher education|LGBTQ studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Rachel Joseph, "Minority Stress of Black LGBTQIA+ Students Attending an HBCU" (2020). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI28027803.