Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 12–24 | Cite as

“We Won’t Go Back into the Closet Now Without One Hell of a Fight”: Effects of the 2016 Presidential Election on Sexual Minority Women’s and Gender Minorities’ Stigma-Related Concerns

  • Cindy B. Veldhuis
  • Laurie Drabble
  • Ellen D. B. Riggle
  • Angie R. Wootton
  • Tonda L. Hughes


Much progress has been made in terms of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) rights. The 2016 United States presidential election, however, raised concerns that this progress could be slowed, if not reversed. We conducted an internet-based study and gathered both qualitative and quantitative data from a national convenience sample to examine how sexual minority women and gender minorities (n = 741) perceived the outcome of the election in relation to stigma-related concerns, perceptions, and expectations. Quantitative analyses of responses collected between December 2016 and the presidential inauguration (January 20, 2017) revealed that participants reported high levels of election outcome-related concerns, including psychological and emotional distress. Qualitative responses centered on the individual-level impacts of the perceived threat of potential increases in structural stigma. Participants raised specific concerns about the possible rollback of rights and the rise in hate speech and discrimination, and the stigmatizing effects of these on LGBTQ and other marginalized populations.


Sexual identity Gender identity Effects of policies Politics Mixed-methods 



We gratefully acknowledge all those who participated in our survey. The authors would also like to thank Lauren Jow for her edits and comments. Research reported in this publication was supported in part by San José State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Columbia University School of Nursing.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkSan José State UniversitySan JoseUSA
  3. 3.Political Science and Gender and Women’s StudiesUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  5. 5.College of NursingUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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