The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 85

Supporting LGBQ+ Students with Disabilities

the importance of understanding their struggles, it does not provide rich details or directions for how to improve.

DISCUSSION
Most campus students in all student groups
studied felt physically safe, comfortable being
themselves, valued by their institutions, and
part of their campus communities. We do not
wish to dismiss these positive findings, and we
commend the good work institutions do, particularly of the positive environments created
within campus housing. Our purpose, however,
was to magnify the experiences of LGBQ+ students with disabilities by exploring the differences in experiences of students in intersecting
categories of sexual and ability identities.
Disproportionately, LGBQ+ students with
diagnosed disabilities agreed less with feeling
comfortable being themselves, feeling valued
by their institutions, or feeling like part of their
campus communities than their LGBQ+ peers
without diagnosed disabilities. Although we
could further discuss notable differences in
the experiences of straight students, the differences in experiences between LGBQ+ students with and without disabilities are striking.
Nearly one- third of LGBQ+ students with disabilities have personally experienced offensive
behavior, discrimination, or harassment compared to less than one in five LGBQ+ students
without disabilities. Findings such as this accentuate the complexities of living with multiple marginalized aspects of identity.
The findings of this study additionally reinforce previous research regarding the mental
health of LGBQ+ students. Nearly one-half
of the LGBQ+ students with disabilities in

this study reported that their disabilities were
related to mental health. Shadick and Akhter
(2014) discussed the ways in which students'
primary culture plays a role in their mental
health. Students whose primary culture aligns
with the surrounding environment have more
experiences that are positive, but those whose
primary culture differs from the surrounding
environment experience greater stress and
mental health concerns, which is especially
true if they do not receive the proper support
and resources (Shadick & Akhter, 2014). Residence halls are often segregated by gender,
which Hamilton (2007) argued increased
heteronormativity and created more negative
environments for LGBQ+ students. The per-

Evans and Broido (2002) named
four roles that RAs should play
including supporting LGBQ+
students, increasing awareness
among heterosexual students,
creating inclusive communities, and
confronting homophobic comments.

petuation of heteronormativity within living
environments may be a contributing factor
to increased mental health concerns among
LGBQ+ students.
We do not necessarily know the saliency
of these students' sexuality in this study, but

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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - Intro
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