Article2017

LGBTQI-Identifying Members of the Middle Eastern-American Community

ABSTRACT

While the contemporary landscape of sociological and psychological literature boasts nuances that account for many cultural identities, there exists a paucity in research pertaining to the lived experiences of Middle Eastern-American (MEA) members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or Intersex (LGBTQI) community within the United States. Researchers have investigated the experiences of LGBTQI-identifying individuals and those of MEAs, but the idiosyncrasies that occur at the intersection of these identities is still a largely unexplored terrain. Narrative accounts suggest that this group faces a high risk of adverse quality of life outcomes directly resulting from persecution along axes of race, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Moreover, this persecution is bolstered by post-9/11 American societal views, heteronormative Middle Eastern values, and non-MEA members of the LGBTQI community. Anecdotal evidence also indicates promise in exploring interventions, such as community building to curb psychosocial pathways that could otherwise result in self-injurious behaviors (including suicide) amongst Middle Eastern-American individuals who identify as LGBTQI. Unfortunately, the lack of research on this topic acts as a barrier to both understanding this extremely vulnerable group and providing its members with culturally competent support. This review will synthesize information germane to the experiences of LGBTQI MEAs in order to illuminate gaps in literature and indicate areas which further research could better inform social service practices on behalf of this group.