Similar Others in Same-Sex Couples' Social Networks
Allen J. LeBlanc, San Francisco State University
David Frost, Columbia University
Jose Bauermeister, University of Michigan
Brian de Vries, San Francisco State University
Eli Alston-Stepnitz, San Francisco State University
Because same-sex couples experience stigma, prejudice, and discrimination, it is important to understand the degree to which they know other same-sex couples, given the support function similar others are known to provide. Participants (N = 120 couples) in an ongoing NICHD-funded study of minority stress and mental health among same-sex couples provided demographic data about “other same-sex couples they know.” Participating couples were evenly dispersed by site (Greater Atlanta and San Francisco Bay Area), gender, and three categories of relationship duration. In over half of the couples, at least one partner identified as person of color. Data analyses examined the number of “other same-sex couples known,” as well as their gender and racial/ethnic composition. Demographic characteristics of “other couples known” were compared based on the study site, gender, and race/ethnicity of participating couples. Findings are discussed with regard to evolving understandings of social connections and support within sexual minority communities.