Navigating Risk Discourses: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Care Among LBQ+ Latina Young Adults

  • Rachel M. SchmitzEmail author
  • Brandon Andrew Robinson
  • Jennifer Tabler


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer (LGBQ+) youth’s sexual and reproductive health is often framed as “at-risk.” For LGBQ+ young people who inhabit multiple marginalized statuses, such as lesbian, bisexual, or queer (LBQ+) Latinas, managing these risk discourses and their health may be even more complicated. The perspectives of LBQ+ youth of color can elucidate how risk discourses hinge on multiple, intersecting axes to shape youth’s sexual and reproductive health when their sexual identities are also stigmatized. We employ an intersectional analysis to qualitatively explore 30 LBQ+ Latina young adults’ encounters with sexual and reproductive health risk discourses. Findings show how some LBQ+ Latinas had to manage the constraints of heteronormative health discourses in maintaining their health. Relatedly, some participants emphasized their struggles in navigating barriers to sexual and reproductive health care, often stemming from fears of experiencing prejudice and discrimination. Finally, certain LBQ+ Latina young people challenged negative stereotypical discourses by conceptualizing their sexual identity/behavior as health promotive and engaged in proactive and preventative health behaviors. Our study challenges the theoretical focus of individual risk among marginalized youth to highlight how this framing eclipses structural conditions and how intersecting risk discourses shape and constrain youth’s sexual and reproductive autonomy.


LGBTQ youth Sexual minority Latinas Sexual health Reproductive health Risk discourse 



The authors extend their appreciation to the young people who generously shared their stories for this research.


The first author received a new faculty start-up grant from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Gender and Sexuality StudiesUniversity of California, RiversideRiversideUSA
  3. 3.Department of Criminal Justice and SociologyUniversity of Wyoming, LaramieLaramieUSA

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