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Zelma Oyarvide Tuthill

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, The University of Houston

About Zelma

Oyarvide Tuthill's research focuses on how health inequality is reproduced across the intersections of race/ethnicity, nativity, gender identity and sexual orientation. As a previous caseworker, she has worked with historically overlooked communities to help them obtain access to health promoting resources. Dr. Oyarvide Tuthill believes that research is valuable because it can effectively guide policy. Overarching themes in her writings include qualitative, quantitative and theoretical examinations of various axis of wellbeing including health status, health behaviors and health care utilization among population groups.


"Medical Comfort at the Intersection of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity" (with Bridget Gorman). Social Currents 6, no. 5 (2019).

Draws on data from 3,050 adults included in the 2010 Social Justice Sexuality Project to examine whether sexual minorities perceive their medical provider as comfortable with their sexual identity, and how these relationships differ for cisgender men, cisgender women, and multi-gendered and transgender adults.

"Union Status and Overweight or Obesity among Sexual Minority Men and Women" (with Bridget Gorman and Navya Kumar), in Marriage and Health: Same-Sex Unions, Health and Well-Being, edited by Hui Lui, Corinne Reczek, and Lindsey Wilkinson (Rutgers University Press, 2020).

Draws on the 2010 Social Justice Sexuality Project (SJSP) to examine how union status relates to overweight status/obesity among sexual minorities. Finds more evidence that union status relates to weight among sexual minority women than men.

"A Demographic Analysis of the Health Care Status of Children from LGBT Households" in Applied Demography and Public Health in the 21st Century, edited by M.N. Hoque, B. Pecotte and M.A. McGehee (Springer, 2017), 237-249.

Analyses data from the 2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS HC) and finds minimal differences in regards to satisfaction of healthcare between LGBT and heterosexual family households.

"Sexual Orientation, Socioeconomic Status, and Healthy Aging" (with Bridget Gorman). Generations: Journal of the American Society on Aging 42, no. 2 (2018): 57-60.

Examines socioeconomic profiles of older LGB adults and find evidence of substantial financial and other health-related risks among bisexuals relative to gay and lesbian adults.

"Racial Disparities in Health and Health Behaviors among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Heterosexual Men and Women in the BRFSS-SOP" (with Justin T. Denney and Bridget Gorman). Ethnicity & Health 25, no. 2 (2017): 177-188.

Examines how race and ethnicity combine with sexual identity to shape the health and health behaviors of U.S. adults.

"Negotiating Religiosity and Sexual Identity among Hispanic Lesbian Mothers" Journal of Homosexuality 63, no. 9 (2016): 1194-1210.

Uses in-depth interviews to examine how Hispanic lesbian mothers negotiate their Catholic religious identity with aspects of their sexual identity. Finds that respondents drew on various strategies to reconcile or navigate perceived conflict between their roles as a Catholic and as a lesbian.