Racialized Sexual Discrimination (RSD) in Online Sexual Networking: Moving from Discourse to Measurement

Ryan M. Wade, Gary W. Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Young Black gay/bisexual men (YBGBM) are at disproportionate risk for poor health outcomes due to multilevel stressors, such as community- and individual-level discrimination. Racialized Sexual Discrimination (RSD) is an under-examined type of discrimination experienced by gay/bisexual men of color when seeking partners online. RSD may be a driving force behind sexual network restriction (which elevates YBGBM’s risk for HIV infection) and may have an adverse impact on YBGBM’s psychological wellbeing. Thus, adequate measurement of this phenomenon is essential. Focus groups with young gay/bisexual men of color were conducted to generate survey content that captured RSD experiences; the resultant information was used to develop an RSD scale. The scale, along with other sociodemographic measures, was administered to a sample of 634 YBGBM. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted on the scale. Results revealed an 8-factor structure: 1-White superiority; 2-White inferiority; 3-White rejection; 4-same-race rejection; 5-White physical objectification; 6-same-race physical objectification); 7-degradation; and 8-role assumptions. The scale was psychometrically sound and demonstrated good reliability, providing preliminary support for the scale’s utility in social science research. Future research should further refine the scale and examine the association between RSD and sexual/mental health outcomes among YBGBM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-807
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology


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