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Pride Parade

Sexual Minority Health

Much of my current work addresses sexual minority health disparities. Sexual minorities have worse physical and mental health outcomes compared to heterosexual individuals. My research expands this area of study by focusing on sexual minorities within rural locations, known for limited healthcare facilities and conservative politics. This focus, and my contribution, includes findings that support more inclusive training for healthcare providers (e.g., gay-friendly practices including nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants). In addition, my work highlights why sexual minorities, as a stigmatized group, delay or refuse medical treatment due to lack of privacy within their rural location and limited options due to distance to another provider. This delay is due in part to physical isolation but also, as my work suggests, is due to how rural medical service providers stigmatize or otherwise provide inferior care to sexual minorities because of their sexual identity.

  • Woodell, Brandi. 2018. “Understanding Sexual Minority Health Disparities in Rural Areas.” Sociology Compass 12(2):e12553.


Another line of my research focuses on the disparities between heterosexuals and sexual minorities with respect to religiosity. Religion is a strongly associated factor related to attitudes toward sexual minorities. For example, Americans who are more religious are more likely to oppose LGBT rights. However, many sexual minorities do participate in various aspects of religion and consider it an important part of their identity. I have previous work that highlights the role of religious institutions and spirituality in the lives of sexual minorities.

  • Woodell, Brandi and Philip Schwadel. 2020. “Changes in Religiosity among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Emerging Adults.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 59(2):379-396.

  • Burke, Kelsy and Brandi Woodell. 2020. “Sexuality and Religion,” Pp. 203-223 in Companion to Sexuality Studies, edited by N. Naples. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Schmitz, Rachel M. and Brandi Woodell. 2018. “Complex Processes of Religion and Spirituality among Midwestern LGBTQ Homeless Young Adults.” Sexuality & Culture 22(3):980-999.

  • Woodell, Brandi, Emily Kazyak, and D’Lane Compton. 2015. “Reconciling LGB and Christian Identities in the Rural South.” Social Sciences 4:859-878 (Special Issue on LGBTQ Lives in Context: The Role of Place).

  • Woodell, Brandi. 2014. “Negotiating Gay Male Christian Identities in Rural Places.” Pp. 29-42 in Illuminating How Identities, Stereotypes and Inequalities Matter through Gender Studies, edited by D. N. Farris, M. Davis, and D. R. Compton. New York, NY: Springer Press.

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