Experiences of food insecurity among LGBTQIA+ college students in North Texas
Meaning, experiences, and recommendations for inclusive solutions
Keywords:Food Insecurity, Food Insecurity in College, LGBTQIA , Qualitative Research, Ethnography
This ethnographic research explores the meaning and experiences of food insecurity among LGBTQIA+ college students to understand how identity might play a role in those experiences. We offer research-informed recommendations that student-serving programs could implement to increase accessibility and inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ students to reduce food insecurity. The study was conducted at a large, public, Tier 1 research university in North Texas. We used purposive sampling and recruited participants through emails and class announcements. We conducted 22 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with students who identified as LGBTQIA+. LGBTQIA+ students do not initially associate their food insecurity with their LGBTQIA+ identity, and many of their experiences are similar to non-LGBTQIA+ students. However, ongoing homophobia, stigma, and discrimination against people who identify as LGBTQIA+ can add additional anxiety and challenges that influence their experiences in ways that are different from non-LGBTQIA+ students. LGBTQIA+ students are at greater risk of losing family support, are more likely to seek emotional support from peers, and have increased anxiety about responses to their identity, which can affect their willingness to seek resources. Our results indicate that food insecurity has an emotional, mental, and physical impact on students, which impacts their academic success. As universities strive to be more welcoming to LGBTQIA+ students, we recommend services that will build community, create safe spaces, and strengthen trust for students to have a positive college experience.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Lisa Henry, Dani Ellis, Steven Ellis, Micah J. Fleck, Steve Migdol, Neida Rodriguez, Vanessa Delgado, Spencer Esmonde, Md Ishraq Islam, Kio Kazaoka, Wei Sun, Paria Tajallipour
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