Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

PLoS One








Gender-variant-based victimization is victimization based on the way others perceive an individual to convey masculine, feminine, and androgynous characteristics through their appearance, mannerisms, and behaviors. Previous work identifies gender-variant-based victimization as a risk factor for health-risking outcomes among same-sex attracted youths. The current study seeks to examine this relationship among other-sex attracted youths and same-sex attracted youth, and determine if gender-variant-based victimization is similarly or differentially associated with poor outcomes between these two groups. Anonymous data from a school-based survey of 2,438 racially diverse middle and high school students in the Eastern U.S. was examined. For other-sex attracted adolescents, gender-variantbased victimization was associated with a higher odds of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, regular use of cigarettes, and drug use. When compared to same-sex attracted adolescents, the harmful relationship between gender-variant-based victimization and each of these outcomes was similar in nature. These findings suggest that gender-variant-based victimization has potentially serious implications for the psychological wellbeing and substance use of other-sex attracted adolescents, not just same-sex attracted adolescents, supporting the need to address gender expression as a basis for victimization separate from sexuality- or gender-minority status. The impact that gender-variant-based victimization has on all adolescents should not be overlooked in research and interventions aimed at addressing sexual orientation-based and gender-variant-based victimization, substance use, and suicide prevention.

Original Publication Citation

Ioerger, M., Henry, K. L., Chen, P. Y., Cigularov, K. P., & Tomazic, R. G. (2015). Beyond Same-Sex Attraction: Gender-Variant-Based Victimization Is Associated with Suicidal Behavior and Substance Use for Other-Sex Attracted Adolescents. PLoS One, 10(6), 16. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129976

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Psychology Commons