Intersectional stigma converges with criminalization to produce sexual health disparities. The convergence of socially marginalized identities constrains sexual rights, as well as provides opportunities for resilience, resistance, and solidarity. This presentation explores how an intersectionality lens helps to elucidate the ways that criminalization shapes sexual health across diverse populations and contexts. This presentation draws from three community-based studies. Applying a multiple case study design to these studies provides the opportunity to examine broader themes of intersectionality and criminalization and how these shape sexual health across global contexts. A qualitative study was conducted with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in Lesotho, a country where same-sex practices were recently decriminalized but there remains no legal protection from discrimination for LGBT persons. A mixed-methods study was conducted with LGBT youth and gender diverse sex workers in Jamaica, where sex work and same sex practices are criminalized. Finally, a quantitative study was conducted with urban refugee youth in Uganda, where sex work is criminalized. We found that managing and negotiating sex—and in turn sexual health—was constrained by intersectional sexual rights violations. The ways by which persons were affected by criminalization differed based on intersectional identities, including gender, sex work and sexual orientation. By examining contexts of constrained sexual rights, we found that survival challenges included pervasive violence—including from police, limited healthcare access, employment & housing barriers, barriers to accessing prevention tools, and barriers to healthy relationships. Participants across contexts discussed awareness of, and strategies to navigate, these barriers to sexual health. Criminalization of sex work and LGBT identities constrains negative and positive sexual rights. An intersectional lens provides insights into both intercategorical complexity—shared and differential experiences across populations and contexts—and intracategorical complexity of lived experiences within socially marginalized groups. Findings can inform intersectional, structural-level sexual health interventions.
Disclosure No significant relationships.
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