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Psychology of sexual and gender identity

Horne Sh. G., Maroney M. R., Geiss M. L., Dunnavant B. R. (2017). The reliability and validity of a Russian version of the Lesbian Internalized Homophobia Scale. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10 (2), 5-20.

Background. Validated measures of sexual minority stress (Meyer, 2003), including that caused by experiences of discrimination directed toward gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) people, GLB-related stigma, and internalized homonegativity, are not readily available in Russia. Given the particular context of Russia with respect to GLB rights, it is to be expected that there would be cross-cultural variations in dimensions of minority stress, including internalized homo-negativity. 

Objective. For the present study, we aimed to back and forward translate the commonly used Szymanski and Chung’s (2001) Lesbian Internalized Homonegativity Scale (LIHS), and explore its cross-language validity. 

Design. Our design consisted of a completion of the adapted LIHS by a sample of 74 Russian lesbian-identified women; participants were asked about their age of coming out to self, friends, and family. 

Results. Based upon an examination of construct validity and internal consistency, the results suggest support for a modified four-component, 24-item Russian version of the LIH (R-LIH).The components were: Connection with Lesbian Communities (9 items); Public Identification as a Lesbian (7); Public Visibility as a Lesbian (5); and Cultural Awareness of Lesbian Communities (3). From the original LIHS scale, Personal Feelings about Being a Lesbian, Moral and Religious Attitudes toward Lesbians, and Attitudes toward Other Lesbians failed to demonstrate cross-cultural validity. 

Conclusion. The adapted R-LIH scale suggests there are some constructs of internalized homonegativity that are salient in both U.S. and Russian communities, however, there are others (i.e., Moral and Religious Attitudes, Attitudes Toward Other Lesbians) that may not be relevant in Russian lesbian communities. The implications for the use of the translated version are described.

DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0201
Keywords:  lesbian, measurement, Russia, internalized homo-negativity, internalized heterosexism, cross-cultural
About the authorsHorne, Sharon G. / Maroney Meredith R. / Geiss, Meghan L. / Dunnavant Bridget R.

Available Online: 06.01.2017

Horne Sh.G., Maroney M.R., Zagryazhskaya E.A., Koven J. (2017). Attitudes toward gay and lesbian individuals in Russia: An exploration of the interpersonal contact hypothesis and personality factor. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10(2), 21-34.

Background. Negative attitudes toward Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual people in Russia are common, and may have become more prevalent due to recent policy changes. 

Objective. This study explored whether interpersonal contact and personality characteristics predicted Hateful Attitudes Toward GLB people and Endorsement of GLB Rights. 

Design. The design of the study included 154 heterosexual undergraduate students in Moscow and Volgodonsk who were surveyed about their attitudes toward GLB people as well as their personality characteristics assessed with the NEO-FFI. Results. Results suggested that Moscow students held less hateful attitudes and endorsed greater GLB Rights than Volgodonsk students. Women were also more favorable toward GLB Rights than men. In terms of Hateful Attitudes, having GLB friends or acquaintances was a negative predictor of Hateful Attitudes, while neuroticism and conscientiousness were positive predictors. In conclusion, living in a large urban area, knowing GLB individuals, and low levels of neuroticism and conscientiousness appear to be associated with positive attitudes toward GLB people in Russia, however, personality characteristics and knowing GLB people did not appear to relate to endorsement of GLB Civil Rights. 

Conclusion. Current sociopolitical policies such as the propaganda ban, and historical censure of GLB rights during the Soviet era, may impact how “out” GLB Russian people can be, particularly outside of large urban centers, and may reinforce general lack of support for GLB Civil Rights in the Russian population.

DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0202
Keywords:  attitudes, gay, lesbian, bisexual, GLB Rights, personality characteristics, NEO-FFI, interpersonal contact
About the authorsHorne, Sharon G. / Maroney Meredith R. / Zagryazhskaya, Elizaveta A. / Koven, Julie

Available Online: 06.01.2017

Yanykin A. A., Nasledov A. D. (2017). Internalized homophobia in Russia. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10(2), 103-116.

Objective. The goal of this study was to empirically verify that the combination of negative attitudes of LGB people towards homosexuality in general and to their own personal characteristics associated with a gay orientation has a negative impact on their self-esteem. 

Design. To test this hypothesis we adapted and standardized the Russian version of the personal homonegativity scale (Mayfield, 2001). Using the adapted measure, we studied how personal homonegativity affects the self-esteem of LGB people. We explored the reliability and validity of the adapted measure with 92 gay respondents aged over 21. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed a two-scale structure — the method was proved. The modified measure includes ten statements divided into two scales: Homonegativity (internalized homophobia; Cronbach’s alpha =0.96) and Acceptance of one’s own homosexuality (Cronbach alpha’s = 0.88). The results indicated that the adapted measure was suitable for assessing internalized homonegativity among gay individuals in Russia. 

Results. More than a half of the respondents (55.4 %) had a rather low level of internalized homophobia which was related to fewer neurotic symptoms and emotional discomfort in comparison with other respondents. However, a higher level of internalized homophobia in remaining respondents (44.6 %) was related to a more positive emotional acceptance of their own homosexuality and to a higher level of self-esteem. 

Conclusion. The results of the analyses of the original hypothesis were confirmed only partially. Internalized homophobia of LGB people appeared to adversely affect the severity of neurotic symptoms and subjective well-being.

DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0207
Keywords:  homonegativity, personal homonegativity, standardization, adaptation, homophobia
About the authorsYanykin Alexander A. / Nasledov Andrej D.

Available Online: 06.01.2017

Victor C. J., Nel J. A. (2017). Developing an affirmative position statement on sexual and gender diversity for psychology professionals in South Africa. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10(2), 87-102.

Background. Against the background of the dominance of patriarchy and heteronormativity in Africa and the resultant stigma, discrimination and victimisation of sexually and gender-diverse people, this article reports on the development of an affirmative position statement by the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) for psychology professionals working with sexually and gender-diverse people. The position statement is an attempt to contribute positively to the de-stigmatisation, amongst psychology professionals, of all people with diverse sexual and gender identities. 

Objective. In documenting and reflecting on the process of developing the statement — a first on the African continent — the article aims to contribute to the potential resources available to others in their work on similar projects around the world. 

Design. Although initially intended to be relevant to the African continent, the position statement is appropriate to the South African context specifically, but developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders, also from other African countries. 

Results. Concerns expressed during stakeholder consultations, and thus taken into account in the development of the statement, include relevance to other African countries, negotiating the politics of representation and language, the importance of including gender and biological variance in addition to sexuality, and the need to be sensitive to how Western influence is constructed in some African contexts. 

Conclusion. Other national psychology organisations stand to benefit by ‘lessons learned’ during this country-specific process with global implications, especially with respect to broadening the lens from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) to sexual and gender diversity, as well as an acknowledgement of the multiple and fluid developmental pathways around sexuality and gender, in general.

DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0206
Keywords:  affirmative stance, LGBTI psychology, position statement, PsySSA, sexual and gender diversity
About the authorsVictor Cornelius J. / Nel Juan A.

Available Online: 06.01.2017

Omurov N. (2017). Identity disclosure as a securityscape for LGBT people. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10(2), 63-86.

Background. The concept of a securityscape is an emerging approach to understanding human (in)securities. It derives from the concept of scapes that was initially proposed by anthropologist and cultural theorist Arjun Appadurai in 1996. Securityscapes are imagined individual perceptions of safety motivated by existential contingencies or otherwise theorized as givens of existence, according to psychotherapist Irvin Yalom: death, freedom, existential isolation, and meaningfulness. A recent study on securityscapes in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan described different securityscapes among selected socially and politically vulnerable communities, including the LGBT community. It listed securityscapes of LGBT people but did not provide details as to how such securityscapes are formed. Disclosure of a stigmatized identity was one such securityscape. 

Objective. This article elaborates on research on how LGBT people consider disclosure of their stigmatized identity a securityscape. 

Design. This study was conducted using a semistructured biographical interview with LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan. 

Results. It found that both voluntary identity disclosure and the decision to conceal the stigmatized identity are considered contrasting securityscapes by LGBT people, depending on how central the stigmatized identity is to their self-conception. 

Conclusion. The study concludes that identity disclosure as a securityscape should be considered on a continuum, with identity concealment as a securityscape on one end and complete identity disclosure as a securityscape on the other.

DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0205
Keywords:  LGBT, securityscape, stigmatized identity, identity disclosure, givens of existence
About the authorsOmurov Nurbek

Available Online: 06.01.2017

Nourkova V. V., Ivanova A. A. (2017). Autobiographical memory in transsexual individuals who have undergone genderaffirming surgery: Vivid, self-focused, but not so happy childhood memories. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10(2), 42-62.

Background. Whereas reciprocal relationships between autobiographical memory and self are broadly emphasized, there is no empirical research that examines how major life changing transitions affect the graphically expressed life story. 

Objective. The paper focuses on the novel topic of autobiographical memory in transsexual individuals. 

Design. Twenty-eight volunteers who had undergone gender-affirming surgery and 28 non-transgender participants were asked to produce a Life Line which required them to identify the most memorable events in their lives. The level of acquisition of affirmed gender-typed traits was measured by the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI). 

Results. Compared to cisgender individuals, transsexual participants have self-focused Life Lines with a high proportion of vivid flashbulb-like memories and unhappy recollections of childhood. The emotional profile of autobiographical memory addressing childhood was more negative in transsexual participants who deviate from BSRI norms reflecting derogation of past gender category in favour of affirmed gender identity. Those with high acquisition of affirming gender-typed traits assigned more space on the timeline for childhood, revealing the process of self-continuity restoration that leads to an increase in the proportion of positive memories. Accordingly, transsexuals recollected fewer events relevant to their gender identity performing a psychological defence toward the topic of gender. 

Conclusion. We interpreted the results by focusing on the utility of autobiographical memories as a cognitive resource for filling the gap between past and current selves and maintaining self-continuity across the lifespan.

DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0204
Keywords:  autobiographical memory, transsexualism, gender identity, self-continuity, Life Line, life story
About the authorsNourkova, Veronika V.  / Ivanova Anna A.

Available Online: 06.01.2017

Lunin I. I. (2017). Striving for LGBTQ rights in Russian psychology and society: A personal narrative. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10(2), 35-41.

Background. Based on a long personal story of dealing with LGBTQ rights in Russia, the author reviews several transformations in the psychological approach and research to gender and sexual identity. The author describes his professional growth as a psychologist. First his interest was in child sex-role development and then transformed to prevention of sexual crimes, AIDS prevention and sexual education among adolescents. The author shows how his area of expertise in human sexuality brought him to professional ethics for psychologists. 

Discussion. In the second part of the article the author reviews changes in social attitudes towards same sex- relationships from their criminalization and medicalization to acceptance and respect. The author emphasizes the pioneering role of Professor Igor Kon in changes of mass attitudes towards sexuality and same sex relationships. The author sees Kon’s legacy in his statement that “As long as gays and lesbians are objects of bullying and discrimination, everybody who considers himself/herself as a thinking person must support LGBTQ people’s fight for their human rights.” At the end of this part of the article, the author describes a recent hate crime based in homophobia, and its victim, the talented St. Petersburg journalist, Dmitry Tsilikin. Tsilikin was involved in sex education in the 1990s and published a book about these issues. His murder was not considered by the court to be a hate crime against an LGBTQ person, despite enormous protest from progressive-minded people all over Russia. 

Conclusion. The author recommends the Russian Psychological Ethics Code as a way to help psychologists support and advocate for people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0203
Keywords:  Russia; LGBTQ; Ethics Code; Kon; Tsilikin; psychology
About the authorsLunin, Igor I.

Available Online: 06.01.2017