Generational Differences in Sexual Identity Development Milestones in a Nationally Representative Sample of LGB People

Meg Bishop , University of Texas at Austin
Allen Mallory, University of Texas at Austin
Jessica Fish, University of Maryland
Stephen T. Russell, University of Texas at Austin

Sexual identity development milestones, including first same-sex attraction, self-identification, sexual behavior, and disclosure, provide important insights into sexual minority health and wellbeing. Yet, little is known about the developmental timing of these milestones, and even less is known about how they differ across generations of sexual minorities. Using the first nationally representative sample of sexual minorities in the US, the current study measured the age, time between, and sequence of sexual identity development milestones (same-sex attraction, self-identification, sexual behavior, and disclosure) across three generations of sexual minorities aged 18-25, 34-41, and 52-59. The youngest generation reported experiencing milestones at earlier ages, and progressed through milestones at a faster pace than older generations. The youngest and middle generations reported self-identifying prior to same-sex sexual behavior, whereas the oldest generation reported concurrent same-sex sexual behavior and self-identification. Results suggest that sociohistorical contexts shape the sexual identity development of sexual minority populations.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1