Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Eric Wright

Second Advisor

Wendy Simonds

Third Advisor

Erin Ruel


This thesis is a quantitative analysis of the relationships between demographics, outness, discrimination experiences, and mental health among cisgender sexual minority women. It utilizes data from the LGBTQ Institute Southern Survey, which documents the experiences of LGBTQ adults in the Southern United States. Greater outness correlates with more discrimination, and both outness and discrimination are associated with psychological distress (greater outness correlates to less psychological distress and greater discrimination correlates to more psychological distress); older respondents tend to be more out, experience more discrimination, and have less psychological distress; bisexual respondents and respondents of some other sexual orientation tend to be less out, experience more discrimination, and have more psychological distress; additionally, Black/African American respondents tend to experience less discrimination, and more educated respondents tend to have less psychological distress.

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