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Cult Health Sex. 2013;15(7):836-50. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2013.785025. Epub 2013 May 10.

Dimensions of racism and their impact on partner selection among men of colour who have sex with men: understanding pathways to sexual risk.

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Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, USA.


While many studies have established the relationship between experiences of racism and sexual risk among men of colour who have sex with men, the pathways by which this occurs are underdeveloped. To address this gap, we must better investigate the lived realities of racism in the gay community. In this study, we had the unique opportunity to examine experiences of racism among African American, Asian/Pacific Islander and Latino men who have sex with men living in Los Angeles through focus groups and individual in-depth interviews. We found three themes of racism: exclusion from West Hollywood and the mainstream gay community, sexual rejection based on race/ethnicity and sexual stereotypes. There were differences across the three racial groups in the experiences of each theme, however. We then considered how racism impacted partner selection and found that race played a salient role in determining power differentials within mixed-race partnerships. Finally, we discussed several future areas for research that can better establish pathways between racism and sexual risk.

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