LGB Q&A: An investigation of the influence of sexual orientation on professional practice among LGBQ-affiliated forensic mental health professionals.

Recent decades have seen an increase in research examining the experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, and other-identifying (LGBQ) individuals in the workplace, including surveys and empirical studies exploring how an individual’s sexual orientation influences their work, instances of workplace discrimination due to sexual orientation, and the impact of antidiscrimination legislation in changing workplace culture. However, research has yet to examine the experience of LGBQ-identifying forensic mental health professionals. A survey of 37 forensic psychologists and psychiatrists who self-identified with the LGBQ community found half of all participants viewed their sexual orientation as impacting their professional identity in some way. Qualitative analyses suggest this may include an interest in research about or a desire to work with LGBQ-identifying individuals. Although one third of the participants in this study reported they did not believe there was LGBQ related prejudice or discrimination in the field of forensic mental health, 81% of participants reported experiencing some form of prejudice/discrimination. Further, over half of all participants reported changing their professional practice, physical appearance, and/or behaviors to influence others’ perceptions of their sexual orientation. In total, these data suggest LGBQ-identifying forensic mental health professionals may simultaneously feel as though the field is particularly accepting of nonheterosexuality while also identifying ways in which their sexual orientation impacts their workplace behaviors and environment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)