, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 447-470

Empowering lesbian and gay communities: A call for collaboration with community psychology

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Abstract

This article traces the history of empowerment efforts in lesbian and gay communities. Despite considerable progress, lesbians and gay men remain marginalized in American society. Their personal, family, and community development is hampered by social and institutional barriers to empowerment. Three powerful disempowering problems of contemporary lesbian and gay communities are detailed: (1) stresses related to coming out; (2) heterosexism; and, (3) difficulties identifying with a community. Four domains are suggested for future collaboration between community psychologists and lesbian/gay communities: (1) anti-lesbian/anti-gay prejudice, discrimination, and violence; (2) mental health and health enhancement; (3) the HIV/AIDS epidemic; and, (4) civil rights. Future collaborations must build on successful-social change strategies already used by activists in lesbian and gay communities.