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date: 01 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews current literature pertaining to body image and pathogenic eating practices among sexual and gender minority populations. The authors begin by detailing three dominant theoretical frameworks that have been used to particularize why some sexual and gender minority persons are at risk of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating—the minority stress model, sociocultural theory, and objectification theory—as well as the pantheoretical model of dehumanization. Then, to highlight dominant trends in the literature, the authors summarize narrative and meta-analytic reviews on body image and eating disorders that target gay men, lesbian women, bisexual persons, and trans persons. The authors conclude by detailing obstacles that prevent researchers from better grasping the corporeal psychology of sexual and gender minority persons. These obstacles include (1) inconsistent and ambiguous operationalizing of constructs such as the “gay community”—constructs that are often invoked to explain why sexual and gender minority persons are at risk; (2) reliance on outdated measures of sexual orientation; (3) the elision of bisexual persons in body image scholarship; (4) the limited attention that is paid to the variability existing within sexual and gender minoritized groups; (5) the absence of research focusing on the dynamics of intersectionality as they pertain to the body; and (6) the lack of studies conducted outside of the United States.

Keywords: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, body image, eating disorders, sociocultural, objectification

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