Toward a Multidimensional Construct of Racialized Sexual Discrimination (RSD): Implications for Scale Development

Ryan M. Wade, Gary W. Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Racialized sexual discrimination (RSD), also known as “sexual racism,” is an understudied phe-nomenon in psychology and other social sciences. Young gay or bisexual men of color (YGBMoC) commonly report experiencing RSD in online partner-seeking venues (e.g., mobile hookup apps and websites). RSD may be associated with adverse health outcomes (e.g., poor psychosocial function-ing, HIV exposure) among YGBMoC. These associations remain unclear, however, because the construct of RSD is still relatively novel, and there are no validated measures that evaluate the full scope of the phenomenon. Thus, the investigators sought to gain a robust understanding of RSD and establish the groundwork for developing a comprehensive scale to measure the phenomenon. Using a hybrid deductive–inductive qualitative approach, we conducted focus groups with YGBMoC and service providers to (a) gain a deeper understanding of RSD; (b) verify, augment, and/or reconcep-tualize emergent subcategories of RSD from the existing literature; and (c) develop a list of specific experiences (i.e., potential survey items) within each subcategory. A 4-domain structure of RSD was supported (Exclusion, Rejection, Degradation, and Erotic Objectification). Participants endorsed (a) measuring the frequency, effect, and beliefs associated with RSD experiences; (b) assessing multiple social contexts in which RSD is experienced; and (c) capturing data on RSD experiences based on the race or ethnicity of individuals perpetrating RSD. RSD is a complex and multidimensional construct. Measurement of this construct should account for multiple components and contexts of an experience within 4 discrete RSD domains, while accounting for the race or ethnicity of individuals who perpetrate RSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401–406
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Bisexual men
  • Discrimination
  • Ethnicity
  • Gay
  • Race
  • Scale development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • General Psychology


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