Essay Sample on Social Identity Development Models

Published: 2023-03-23
Essay Sample on Social Identity Development Models
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race Gender Stereotypes Human sexuality
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1190 words
10 min read

Social identity is used to describe a particular group's behavior. Some of the categories of social identities include political, religious, race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and sexuality. Social identity refers to an individual's affiliation with the mentioned categories. Culture, ethnicity, and diversity affect the human experience. The three aspects are man-made. Human beings make culture, ethnicity, and diversity for their survival and comfort. They affect the human experience in a way that every society has its ideologies that emphasizes the elements of social structures. These social structures are the lived human experiences. Social identity theories can help to explain a particular group. The basis of this paper is to discuss the sexual identity development of gay Hispanic men. Sections discussed in the paper include the strengths and weaknesses of the model, research findings of the model, and the research gaps.

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The Sexual Identity Model of Gay Hispanic Men

Hispanics often struggle with their sexual identity because of cultural forces. Hussain, Leija, Lewis, and Sanchez (2015) examined the concept of acculturalization where they stated that Latinas go under pressure to adhere to their traditional values while adapting their culture. Also, the authors discussed machismo, where they indicated that it outlines sexual roles for Latino men (Hussain et al., 2015). Furthermore, Cerezo, Cummings, Holmes, and Williams (2019) asserted that the major themes of identity formation include (1) family and cultural expectations, (2) freedom to discover identity, (3) negotiation of insider/outsider status, and (4) identity integration as a way of resistance. Without a doubt, Latinos experience challenges in exploring their sexual identity because of the traditional cultural values.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Sexual Identity Model

The strength of sexual identity is that it is ascribed to sexual orientation. According to Morgan (2013), sexual orientation is a component of sexual identity, which allows an individual to describe themselves in categories such as heterosexual, bisexual, gay, and lesbian. Without a doubt, the model gives individuals autonomy. In the case of gay Hispanics, the sexual identity model allows them to be classified in a particular social group.

The weakness of sexual identity as a theory is that it is subjected to historical and cultural forces. Morgan (2013) mentioned that over the years, sexual identity has been altered regarding the shifts in awareness, understanding, and experiences. Furthermore, another weakness of the model is that it ignores all facets of sexuality. For example, the model forces same-sex and other-sex sexual behavior to vary with each other (Morgan, 2013). These inclinations result in the formation of labels from social categories.

Research Findings and Questions

The study by Gattamorta and Quidley-Rodriguez (2017) examined the coming out experiences among Hispanics sexual minority youth and young adults living in South Florida.


The study employed a grounded theory and qualitative methodology to comprehend the way Hispanics disclose their coming out to family members and friends. The grounded theory uses an inductive process to understand participant experiences (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). Researchers used theoretical sampling to ensure that they obtained various perspectives of the participants (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). They sought out the perspectives of lesbians and bisexuals to find out if the experiences of coming out in gay men are similar to the coming out of Hispanic lesbian and bisexuals (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). Participants of the study had to be between 18-28 years, identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and identify as Hispanic (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). 20 people participated in the study (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017).


Results of the study showed that before participating in the research, all participants had divulged their sexual identity to at least three people (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). Additionally, even though most participants had revealed their sexual orientation to their families, two of the participants had not disclosed to their families (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). Furthermore, study results showed that the average age for participants coming out was to their parents 18, with most of the coming out as early as 11 years and others coming out as late as 21 (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). According to the researchers, while the results of the participants demonstrated that members saw that most of the codes happened "frequently" or "now and then" (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). Just in one case did a member accept that a specific code identified with parental frames of mind toward their children's sexual orientation changing through the span of a couple of days does not usually happen throughout a couple of days (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). The reactions to the part check shape the legitimacy of research results (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017).


The study by Gattamorta and Quidley-Rodriguez (2017) has implications for both research and practice. Regarding research, additional studies are needed to gain a better understanding of the experiences of parents of Hispanic sexual minority youth and young adults (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). Also, quantitative research is required to understand the degrees of machismo, marianismo, familism, and the impact of religion to disclose sexual orientation to family members (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017). In clinical practice, healthcare providers who work with Hispanic sexual minority youth and young adults could help to minimize the impact of familial rejection by providing support programs to the gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as well as resources that can inform parents about sexual orientation and identity development (Gattamorta & Quidley-Rodriguez, 2017).

Research Gaps

There is limited research on the coming-out experiences of Hispanics sexual minority youth and young adults. According to Baig, Lopez, Demeester, Jia, Peek, and Vela (2015), areas that need further study include the examination of Latino LGBTQ patients' experiences with effective shared decision-making, (SDM) including the evaluation of tools to improve Latino LGBTQ SDM and the analysis of cultural competency training for practitioners. Few studies focused on Latina lesbian or bisexual women, or transgender patients (Baig et al., 2015). All LGBTQ populaces need to be exemplified in future research studies because each group has distinctive healthcare experiences and needs (Baig et al., 2015). Moreover, future studies ought to concentrate on other health conditions that affect Latino LGBTQ patients inexplicably such as obesity, domestic violence, and mental health (Baig et al., 2015). Bridging the research gaps will help in the understanding of sexual identity development among the Hispanic population.


Overall, sexual identity development differs in Hispanics because of cultural factors and sexual orientation. Research on sexual identity formation has grown. Nevertheless, recommendations to remain to discover the multiple dimensions of identity development may assist in understanding ethnic and sexual identity among Latinos.


Baig, A. A., Lopez, F. Y., Demeester, R. H., Jia, J. L., Peek, M. E., & Vela, M. B. (2016). Addressing barriers to shared decision-making among Latino LGBTQ patients and healthcare providers in clinical settings. LGBT Health (3)5. DOI: 10.1089/lgbt.2016.0014

Cerezo, A., Cummings, M., Holmes, M., & Williams, C. (2019). Identity as resistance: Identity formation at the intersection of race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Psychology of Women Quarterly.

Gattamorta, K., & Quidley-Rodriguez, N. (2017). Coming out experiences of Hispanic sexual minority young adults in South Florida. Journal of Homosexuality, pp. 1-25. doi:10.1080/00918369.2017.1364111.

Hussain, K., Leija, S. G., Lewis, F., & Sanchez, B. (2015). unveiling sexual identity in the face of marianismo. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy (27), pp. 72-92. doi: 10.1080/08952833.2015.1030353.

Morgan, E. M. (2013). Contemporary issues in sexual orientation and identity development in emerging adulthood. Emerging Adulthood, 1(1), 52-66.

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