Baćak, V., Wilson, L.*, & Bright, K.* (2021). Gendered association between sexual self- identification and police encounters perceived as unfair. Annals of Epidemiology, 63, 41-45.
Policing is a critical public health issue for minority populations. Yet few studies have examined policing among sexual minority persons, a group that has long been a target of punitive action by law enforcement. The purpose of this study was to examine whether sexual self-identification is associated with ever having been unfairly stopped, searched, or questioned by the police.
The cross-sectional data are from Wave 5 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health collected between 2016 and 2018 (N = 11,592). Gender-stratified multivariable logistic regression models to examine associations with police encounters perceived as unfair was used. Across all groups of women identifying as a sexual minority, the odds of experiencing a police encounter perceived as unfair were higher relative to women who identified as “100% heterosexual (straight).” The association among men was only consistent for men who identified as “100% homosexual (gay),” but in the opposite direction from the association among women.
Findings suggest that policing should be examined as a significant public health concern for sexual minority women, specifically because of the adverse health consequences of involuntary police encounters.