Disclosure of Sexual Identities Across Social-Relational Contexts: Findings from a National Sample of Black Sexual Minority Men

Lance C. Keene, Ryan D. Heath, Alida Bouris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Black sexual minority men (BSMM) in the USA navigate a range of factors that may influence the extent to which they disclose or conceal their sexual identity in various social contexts. To date, few studies have investigated the correlates of sexual identity disclosure or concealment among BSMM across multiple life domains. Guided by a minority stress perspective and intersectionality, we analyzed data from N = 809 BSMM who participated in the Social Justice Sexuality Survey. We conducted ordinary least squares regression to examine the relative weight of perceptions of homophobia, religiosity, LGBT community connectedness, racial identity salience, and sexual identity salience on disclosure of sexual identity in six social-relational contexts: (1) family, (2) friends, (3) neighbors, (4) religious community, (5) work, and (6) online. Findings indicate that BSMM disclosed their sexual identity unevenly across social-relational contexts. Notably, LGBTQ community connectedness and sexual identity importance were consistent predictors of sexual identity disclosure across contexts. In contrast, perceptions of homophobia were not related to sexual identity disclosure, suggesting that other factors may be more salient for BSMM when deciding to disclose their sexual identity. Finally, bisexual men consistently reported lower levels of sexual identity disclosure relative to gay men in all six contexts. Study findings have important implications for future research on sexual identity disclosure with diverse samples of BSMM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-214
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Black sexual minority men
  • Coming out
  • Concealment
  • Disclosure
  • Intersectionality
  • Minority Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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