4 in 10 Black LGBTQ Men Experience Police Discrimination, Study Finds

A new study published in Social Science and Medicine found that a Black LGBTQ men are likely to experience police discrimination, and this discrimination can cause a variety of health effects.

“Black sexual minority men are largely invisible in the research and discourse on the effects of policing and incarceration in the US,” said Devin English, an assistant professor of public health and Rutgers University and one of the study’s lead authors. “Often the story we read or research we produce implicitly or explicitly focuses on heteronormative experiences. We conducted this study to fill that gap.”

The study, which surveyed 1,172 Black LGBTQ men between 2017 and 2018, found that four in 10 Black LGBTQ men—or 43 percent of participants—reported facing police discrimination in the past year. The study participants who did experience discrimination by police also faced more psychological distress, a greater risk for acquiring HIV, and a lower willingness to use PrEP.

Roughly 86 percent of respondents said they had never been incarcerated; however, the study found that those who had been incarcerated were more likely to experience police discrimination and later arrest.

The authors concluded that racial discrimination by police “may be a mechanism of mass incarceration and [a] fundamental driver of health inequities among Black sexual minority men.”

These findings come during the height of Black Lives Matter protests, which have erupted in Atlanta and across the country in response to the murders of Black individuals like Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah McClain by police. 2020 is also set to become the deadliest year for transgender people, in particular for Black trans women; 25 trans people have been killed this year, making 2020 on track to overcome 2017 with 29 murders as the deadliest year.