Feds Spend $438,699 Studying If 'Gender Norms' Make LGBTQ People Get Drunk

Grant: Alcohol is 'integral component of bars and clubs'

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August 18, 2017

The National Institutes of Health is spending over $400,000 studying whether gender norms of masculinity and femininity lead LGBTQ individuals to drink too much.

Trying to find the "meanings of intoxication" of sexual and gender minorities is the central question of a study that was awarded in late July.

The project will "examine the extent to which gendered norms shape risky drinking practices for sexual and gender minority (SGM) young adults," according to the grant for the study.

The grant states that alcohol is an "integral component of bars and clubs."

"Alcohol has played a central role for SGM by facilitating exploration of sexuality and gender, coping with minority stress, trauma, and stigma and serving as an integral component of bars and clubs for SGM young adults," the grant states. "Given this central role, it is not surprising that problematic alcohol use, including heavy episodic drinking (HED) and intoxication, and alcohol-related problems are significant issues for SGM young adults."

Researchers will conduct "in-depth interviews" with approximately 200 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals about their alcohol use, to determine why they drink.

Central research questions include: "What are the meanings of intoxication for SGM adults?" and whether their reasons for getting drunk are "shaped by their sexual and gender identities and beliefs about masculinity and femininity."

The overall goal of the study is to "explore questions about meaning, context, and social practices related to drinking and intoxication among SGM young adults."

The NIH project began as a study of the differences between the drinking habits of young men and women, which received over $1.4 million over three years.

On July 31, the Scientific Analysis Corporation received an additional $438,699 to continue the study, but changing the focus to sexual minorities. The project's end date is listed as December 2020.

Dr. Geoffrey Hunt is the principal investigator on the study. He is also leading an NIH project on "Asian-American men who have sex with men (MSM)."