Sexual Minority Women's and Gender-Diverse Individuals' Hope and Empowerment Responses to the 2016 Presidential Election

Ellen D.B. Riggle, Sharon S. Rostosky, Laurie Drabble, Cindy B. Veldhuis, Tonda L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The 2016 presidential election and its outcome evoked strong reactions for many people in the United States. Women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, or queer, and individuals who identify as transgender or genderqueer felt at increased risk of experiencing discrimination and minority stress after the election (Veldhuis et al., 2017). Finding positive strategies for reacting to the election outcome is important for the well-being of individuals in these groups. Hope and empowerment theories provide a useful framework for understanding individuals' responses to the election. As part of a larger online survey, 387 sexual minority women and transgender individuals responded to open-ended questions concerning their reactions to the election, including “What makes you feel hopeful or empowered?” Using experiential thematic analyses (Braun & Clarke, 2006) 3 main themes emerged: individual agency, recognition of support from others, and political engagement and collective action. Multiple subthemes for each theme illustrated the range of responses consistent with hope and empowerment theories. We discuss implications for strength-based interventions to promote resilience in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-173
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Angie Wootton for assistance in conducting the analysis. We gratefully acknowledge all those who participated in our survey. Research reported in this article was supported in part by San JoséState University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Columbia University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • bisexual women
  • coping
  • empowerment
  • hope
  • lesbian
  • minority stress
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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