Conlin, Susan M (2001). The ongoing "coming out" process of lesbian parents. Master of Science Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Stout. PDF
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Cosco, Vanessa (1997). "Obviously then I’m not homosexual": Lesbian identities, discretion, and communities in Vancouver, 1945-1969. Master of Arts Dissertation, University of British Columbia. PDF
Cross, Erin G (2010). Gender (In)Query: Young Adults Leaning, Unlearning, and Relearning Gender in a Queer Majority Space. Publicly accessible Penn Dissertations. Paper 215. PhD Dissertaton, Education, University of Pennsylvania. Download Page.
Culp, Jerome M (1999). The Woody Allen Blues: “Identity Politics,” Race, and the Law. Duke Law Faculty Scholarship. Paper 283. Download Page.
DeVita, James M (2010). Gay Male Identity in the Context of College: Implications for Development, Support, and Campus Climate. PhD Dissertation, University of Tennessee. PDF Download. Download Page.
Ensor-Estes, Zaedryn (2004). The Book of Fusion: The Lesbian Identity Integration Fictional Narrative. Undergraduate Senior Thesis, Women Studies Department, University of Washington. PDF Download.
Freedman, F. Kenneth (1998). Rainbow
Bridges: Counseling with Gays and Lesbians, Paying Particular
Attention to Cultural, Spiritual, and Psychological “Otherness”. Master of Arts Dissertation, Counseling Psychology, Prescott College. Word Download.
Fruth, Bryan Ray (2007). Media reception, sexual identity, and public space. PhD. Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. PDF
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Gignac, Patrick Joseph (1996). Oppressive Relationships / Related Oppressions: Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality and the Role of Gay Identity in James Baldwin's "Another Country" and Hubert Fichte's "Versuch über die Pubertät". PhD Dissertation, Department fo German, Queen's University. PDF Download.
Halpin, Sean (2008). Psychosocial well-being and gay identity development. PhD. Dissertation, University of Newcastle. Faculty of Science and Information Technology, School of Psychology. PDF
Heckert, Jamie (2005). Resisting Orientation: On the Complexities of Desire and the Limits of Identity Politics. PhD Dissertation, The University of Edinburgh. Full
Kirsztajnm Amy (2009). Childhood Sexual Abuse and the Lesbian Coming Out Process. Master's Dissertation, Smith College School for Social Work. PDF
Dis/Integrating the Gay/Queer Binary: “Reconstructed
Identity Politics” for a Performative Pedagogy. College English, 65(1):
Download (First Page). (Abstract)
Based on a part of author's dissertation: "Teaching trouble.
Performativity and composition pedagogy: Composing connections", Purdue
University, 2002, 329 pages; AAT 3104976.
Kowal, Sarah (2010). An exploration of the impact of social institutions and interpersonal connections on the sexual expression and identity of dually attracted and bisexual women. PhD. Dissertation, The Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University. PDF Download.
Loppie, Samantha Terri (2011). Splitting the Difference: Exploring the Experiences of Identity and Community Among Biracial and Bisexual People in Nova Scotia. Master's Dissertation, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. PDF Download.
Mandel, Susannah (2003). Mask and closet ; or, "Under the Hood" : metaphors and representations of homosexuality in American superhero comics after 1985. Master's Dissertation, Dept. of Comparative Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. PDF Download.
Miceli, Mark J (2009). Coming-out at Catholic and non-Catholic colleges and universities. PhD. Dissertation, Education, Johnson & Wales University. PDF
Moody, Lin (1999). Speaking up and speaking out: factors that facilitate the disclosure of sexual orientation. Master of Arts Dissertation, Counselling Psychology. University of British Columbia. PDF Download. Download Page.
Morano, Laurie Ann (2007). A personal construct psychology perspective on sexual identity. Master's Dissertation, Psychology Department, University of New York at New Paltz. PDF Download. Download Page.
Nutter, Kathryn L (2008). Bi Labor: Toward a Model of Bisexual Identity Management in Workplace Environments. Master's Dissertation, Sociology, Ohio University. PDF
Peters, Wendy (2001). Queer Identities: Rupturing Identity Categories and negotiating Meanings of Queer. Master's Dissertation, University of Toronto. PDF
Robertson, Veronica L (2011). Homosexuality: the disclosure process during adolescence. Master's Dissertation, Educational Psychology, Stellenbosch University. PDF Download. Download Page.
Sar, Michael S (2009). Out of the Killing Fields, out of the closet: A personal narrative on finding identity as a gay Cambodian-American. Master's Dissertation, California State University, Long Beach. PDF
Sewell, Shaun Erwin (2005). Public Sexuality: A Contemporary History of Gay Images and Identity. PhD. Dissertation, The Department of Theater, Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. PDF
Syme, Gemma (2009). AC/DC : a study in art, gender and popular culture. Master's Dissertation, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. PDF Download. Download Page.
Thing, James (2009). Entre maricones machos, y gays: Globalization and the construction of sexual identities among queer Mexicanos. PhD. Dissertation, University of Southern California. PDF
Thompson, Beverly Yuen (1999). The Politics of Bisexual/Biracial Identity: A study of Bisexual and Mixed Race Women of Asian/Pacific Islander Descent. PhD. Dissertation, San Diego State University. Abstract. PDF Download.
Toft, Alex (2011). Bisexual Christian identity: a sociological exploration of the life stories of female and male bisexual Christians. PhD. Dissertation, University of Nottingham. PDF Download.Van der Wal, Ernst (2009). The floating city: carnival, Cape Town and the queering of space. Master of Atrs Dissertation, Stellenbosch University. PDF Download. Download Page.
Abstract by author: This study develops a new psychoanalytic theory of psychosexual development, founded in Object Relations theory. Sexual identity, gender identity and sexual object choice are presented as three separate psychic structures, resulting from oedipal resolution and adolescent development. The concepts of the Oedipus complex and primal scene phantasy are examined for their cultural biases and functions. Their purpose in psychosexual development is described. More recent ideas of female sexuality, definitions of masculinity/femininity, revisionist psychoanalytic theories as well as the psychoanalytic gender deconstructionist theories are examined and integrated into the alternative theory. Assumptions of health and pathology are not assigned solely on the basis of sexual object choice.
This is in contrast to the mainstream psychoanalytic theories of psychosexual development in which there are many inconsistencies and omissions. A critique is made of current theory in terms of its theoretical accuracy and coherence, its impact on clinical practice and its influence on the cultural milieu. Freudian theory presents a contradictory line of development in terms of libidinal cathexis and identification. Assumptions of health and pathology are assigned to the heterosexual and homosexual object choice respectively, and simultaneously the assumptions are challenged. Consensus on female sexuality, gender differences in object relations, the definition of gender and gender identity development does not exist. Psychoanalytic theory has not succeeded in integrating clinical, empirical and divergent theoretical data into a cohesive, inclusive whole.
The theoretical, clinical, and socio-cultural implications of this new theory are explored. The need for a broader, inclusive theory that continues to be responsive to new empirical, clinical and theoretical data is identified. It is suggested that the alternative theory presented be thoroughly investigated to substantiate its on-going validity and reliability in the light of new data and theoretical perspectives. It is also suggested that assumptions of adolescent development be further examined, and that the paradigms of healthy and pathological object choice be tested through repeated clinical investigation. The implications of this theory for influencing the cultural milieu are described. The theory is seen as contributing to a cultural atmosphere that is more tolerant and acceptant of gender and sexuality variations.
Nelson RD (1994). A self-schema analysis of gay male identity. PhD. Thesis, California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego, DAI, Vol. 55-06B, p. 2408, 231 pages.
Abstract by Author: The social-cognitive construct of self-schema was extended to gay male identity and was expanded to allow for structural or cognitive variation around a single aspect of self-identity. Ninety-one gay and twenty-one non-gay subjects completed the experiment on gay identity. All of the subjects were blocked into one of four schema types: centrally-gay, separated-gay, integrated-gay, and non-gay. The gay subjects were blocked by a gay self-schema measure which was developed and validated by the author during a pilot study. The subjects were randomly assigned into one of three experimental cue conditions: gay cue, neutral cue, and objective self-awareness (OSA) cue. Five diverse cognitive tasks (e.g. ease of memory access, organization of responses, importance of gay label in a list of self-identities, extremity of gay-related opinions) were used as dependent measures of schema activation. The five measures produced a single self-schema factor score which also was used as a dependent variable in an ANOVA.
Analysis of variance yielded differences between the gay and non-gay groups on the factor score and on 3 of the 5 schema tasks, supporting the hypothesis of a gay self-schema (all F’s > 15.99, all p’s < .0001). Within the gay groups, the highest scores were typically for the centrally-gay group followed by the integrated and separated groups. Separated-gay subjects most often scored similarly to non-gay subjects. The cue conditions were included to provide circumstances which would activate the gay schema, if present. Therefore, non-gay subjects, who do not have a gay self-schema, and centrally-gay subjects who have a chronically activated gay self-schema, would be unaffected by conditions, while integrated and separated would respond to conditions that turned attention to self (OSA cue) or to gay issues (gay cue). Differences between schema groups appeared at the neutral cue (Factor Score F (3,96) = 10.09, p < .0001) and the OSA cue (F (3,96) = 10.39, p < .001). For integrated-gay and separated-gay subjects, although schema scores were higher in the OSA condition than in the neutral condition for 4 of 5 dependent variables and for the factor score, the difference was not significant on any measure.
The results were discussed in the context of theories of self-schemata and the development of gay identity. Future research may improve on advances of methodology presented here and may integrate the study of gay subjects with other potentially stigmatized self-identities.
Nicholas SK (1995). Identity formation in gay and lesbian adolescents. PhD. Thesis, The Fielding Institute, DAI, Vol. 56-07B, p. 4035, 244 pages.
Abstract by author: This qualitative study examines the positive identity formation process of gay and lesbian adolescents. The participants in the study were 16 self-identified gay and lesbian high school students who were from 15 to 18 years of age. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted with all participants. During the interviews the participants told the stories of their journeys to their gay and lesbian identities and also talked about the factors that they perceived as having been helpful to them in the acquisition of their positive feelings about this identity.
The results of the data analysis revealed a model of normative identity formation for gay and lesbian adolescents. The process of identity described by the adolescents in the study began with a separation from self, progressed to an acceptance and integration of self and then expanded to challenging others to accept that full self. The model contains the following specific stages: (1) feeling different, (2) defining difference, (3) identity acknowledgement, (4) embracing identity, and (5) advocating.
This model emerged from the stories that participants told about their process of struggling to embrace their real gay or lesbian selves in the context of a world that describes that real self as deviant. While both males and females in the study progressed through the same stages, most male participants described a harder struggle with the identity formation process than was described by the female participants.
All of the participants expressed pride and fulfillment in their gay or lesbian identities and cited the following reasons for the development of this positive identity: (1) strength of self, (2) supportive friends, (3) supportive family, and (4) role models. This study illustrated gay and lesbian identity formation as a normative process for adolescents.
Nielsen TM (1994). Shifting identities: the concept of lesbian community. M.A. Thesis, Queen’s University at Kingston, MAI, Vol. 33-02, p. 427, 140 pages.
Abstract by author: This thesis explores the concept of “community” through an investigation of “lesbian communities”. It begins with an examination of the concepts of community and identity, tracing the sociological history of these terms and showing their interconnection. I argue that there are multiple meanings of community and these have to be acknowledged in discourses about community. Next, I look specifically at the concept of “lesbian identity”.
The history of lesbian identities is explicated in the context of “heterosexual hegemony” in order to show how lesbian networks and subcultures have been created. I then explore the concept of “lesbian community” arguing that there are actually three uses of community employed by lesbians. These uses are then elucidated and areas for further research are suggested.
Finally, contemporary critiques of
community are addressed. These include the critiques that have come out
of poststructuralist and postmodernist social theories and from lesbians
in the everyday world. In concluding, I offer a different conception of
community and show how, for lesbians, community will remain a vital concept
and social arrangement.
Parker WE (1994). A study of life transitions, family relationships and special issues of gay men. (Volumes I and II). PhD. Thesis, The University of Chicago, DAI, Vol. 55-08A, p. 2573, 449 pages.
Abstract by author: This ethnographic investigation during the period 1984- 1990 describes the historical context and current status of the Chicago gay community and examines in depth the lives of fifteen white men living within the area. The research questions were: (1) At what ages and in what ways do gay men manage transitional points in their lives such as disclosure of sexual orientation to self, family, and friends and the wider community as well as the establishment and maintainance of intimate personal relationships? What special problems are encountered and how are they resolved? (2) In what ways is the gay community supportive of its individual members? To what extent are the supportive devices institutionalized and formal? What are the informal supports? How are the supports used to establish and maintain their sense of personal identity and overall life satisfaction? (3) What are the supports in the wider community for the use of gay men, and what use do these men make of them?
Findings of the study indicated that awareness and disclosure of sexual orientation occurs in the following sequence of six stages often, but not always, sequential: (1) awareness of difference, (2) feelings of being gay, (3) first gay experience, (4) self identification as gay, (5) disclosure to family, friends, employment, and (6) gay community inVolvement. Sixty percent of the subjects were aware of their sexual orientation in childhood and forty percent became aware in adolescence. Three-quarters identified themselves as gay in their college years. Nearly half of the men had not disclosed to their family but all disclosed to friends. Disclosure at work is described from a systems point of view. An analysis of family structure and relationships is provided.
Special issues of importance for gay men were found to be discriminatory experiences, intimate relationships, health, organizational memberships, and religion and spirituality. Implications of the findings for social work practice, research and policy are discussed with commentary on what appear to be the most productive theories for understanding and intervention of this population.
Pearlman SF (1991). Mothers’ acceptance of daughters’ lesbianism: a parallel process to identity formation. PSY.D. Thesis, Antioch University, New England Graduate School, DAI, Vol. 52-03B, p. 1733, 287 pages.
Abstract by author: This study explored through a narrative interview technique, the process through which ten mothers came to accept their daughters’ lesbianism. Although there was a wide variability in level of acceptance, all of the mothers interviewed had engaged in some social or political activity supportive of parental acceptance and/or the gay civil rights movement. Thus, these mothers were a unique group of women who had consciously worked to overcome societal prejudice, to cope with their own feelings and adjust to a daughter’s lesbianism, and to remain committed to their relationship with their daughters.
Findings from the study showed that acceptance of a daughter’s lesbianism is a complex phenomenon. Overall, most of the mothers demonstrated a nonlinear progression or sequence of reactions which included denial, feelings of devastation, loss and self blame, struggle to tolerate, increasing acceptance, and engagement in political or social activities despite residual ambivalence. Thus, these mothers’ process of acceptance was found in many ways to parallel Cass’s stage-based model which described lesbian and homosexual identity formation.
In addition, similar to their lesbian daughters, mother learned similar coping skills, reported significant marker events as part of their acceptance process, and demonstrated that the most stable bases for self-acceptance as the parent of a lesbian were social support, affiliation, self-disclosure, positive philosophy on homosexuality, reward, and activism. Therefore, these mothers shared similar experiences, tasks, and behaviors as their lesbian daughters, thus demonstrating that like their daughters, they had assimilated the behaviors of a stigmatized group.
Other findings from the study suggest that while a mother may be able to accept the fact of a daughter’s lesbianism, it is another step or level to accept a partnered daughter, a daughter who is assertive regarding her lesbianism, a daughter whose appearance and behaviors do not conform to the traditional female gender role, or a daughter who is openly affectionate with her partner and who is clearly in a sexual relationship with another woman.
The study concludes with a discussion on the factors which appear to influence acceptance. Implications for psychotherapy with both mothers of lesbians and lesbian clients are also discussed.
Pett AJ (1995). Changing from heterosexual to lesbian identity: a theory of fluid sexuality. PhD. Thesis, City University of New York, DAI, Vol. 56-10A, p. 4170, 353 pages.
Abstract by author: This is both an empirical and a theoretical study. It is an empirical study of heterosexual women who reconstructed themselves as lesbian in adulthood. The empirical study shows that to do this the women I interviewed had to see beyond the culturally imposed binary of masculine/feminine to understand that a "feminine" "woman" such as themselves could love and desire another "feminine" "woman" and make a life with her. They had to reconstruct both "lesbian" and "woman," so that lesbian could also be a "feminine" woman not just a masculine one, and so that a "woman" could also be a lesbian, that is, a female who loves and desires other women. They also had to reconstruct their sexual desire so that it included desire for women, and to reconstruct some of their feelings for women so that they "were" desire.
The theoretical study argues that individuals are not inherently gendered and either hetero-, homo-, or bi- sexual, but rather are omniform and omnisexual, having the potential to be and have and do everything. But in daily practices that involve a complex interplay of individual psyche and patriarchal society, the omniform individual both constructs itself and is constructed as having one unified and unchanging gender and one unified and unchanging sexual orientation. This reduction of gender and sexual omneity to the masculine/feminine binary is the way patriarchal society constructs and reproduces unified gender and sexuality to support, enforce, and reproduce patriarchy. Through these daily practices of social/psychic construction and reconstruction, patriarchal society disguises the social and political nature of gender and sexuality as personal, private, and "natural." In this way, women's gender and sexuality support the patriarchal ruling order, in which men are dominant and women subordinate.
Retter YG (1987). Identity development of lifelong vs. catalysed Latina lesbians. M.S.W. Thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, MAI, Vol. 30-03, p. 885, 167 pages.
Abstract by author: The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify differences in the identity development paths of lifelong lesbians and of catalyzed lesbians (females who knew themselves as lesbian later in life). The sample population was restricted to Latina lesbians.
Hypotheses concerned early and persistent attractions to females, a minimal history of heterosexual activity and a history of cross gender identification. An 81 question survey was used. The survey included a set of open-ended, culture-specific questions.
Significant results suggest that lifelong lesbians had a lack of involvement with males rather than a history of involvement with females.
Rhoads RA (1993). Institutional culture and student subculture: student identity and socialization. PhD. Thesis, The Pennsylvania State University, DAI, Vol. 54-12A, p. 4371, 350 pages.
Abstract by author: Building upon the techniques of ethnography, the author examines the collegiate experiences of students with same-sex attractions as they struggle to develop a sense of gay identity. Theoretically, this work is grounded in critical postmodern views of social life where issues of language, culture, and power are central. The focus is on how a group of gay students who identify as "queer" form the core of the gay student community at a large research university. This core group of students constitutes a contraculture in that they exist in opposition to fundamental aspects of both the culture of the institution and of the larger society. The author makes three key points: First, the collegiate experiences of gay students have been largely neglected. Hence, one goal of this text is to shed light on a group of students who have rarely been studied. In relation to this first point, the author focuses upon three aspects of students' experiences in college: the closet, coming out, and becoming political engaged as cultural workers. A second point of this work is to highlight how the queer contraculture acts as the principal source of socialization for gay students. As an agent of socialization, the queer contraculture thus contributes to the formation of gay identities. And finally, a third point of this work is to develop a view of gay identity that is inclusive and yet provides for a sense of solidarity needed to organize around oppression. Previous sexual identity theory has focused on either essentialist or social constructivist views. The author argues that the essentialist/constructivist dualism is conceptually inadequate for explaining the range of gay identities. An alternative view is presented in terms of a gay ethnic model where sexual identity reflects both ascribed and acquired qualities.
Riemer BA (1995). Lesbian identity formation and the softball environment. PhD. Thesis, Michigan State University, DAI, Vol. 56-07A, p. 2607, 139 pages.
Abstract by author: Softball is America’s most popular team sport, with approximately five million women participating every year. Some of the women who participate in the softball environment are lesbians. Zipter (1988) wrote a book which declared that softball was not only present in lesbian culture, but that it was the national pastime for lesbians. The softball environment was created as an outlet for working class lesbians in the 1950s because the gay bars were not safe from police raids. Since the 1950s, participation in softball has grown, both in American society and lesbian communities. Besides creating a place for lesbians to meet, the softball environment can be a location where lesbians can come out to others. The purpose of this study was to examine the softball environment as a part of the lesbian subculture, and to examine whether or not the softball environment was a location which facilitated the formation of a lesbian identity.
Qualitative interviews were conducted with 29 women (23 lesbians, 6 nonlesbians). The women were recruited from recreational softball leagues and were either players or spectators. The interviews were taped, and the transcriptions were examined for themes. The results of this study indicated that although the women had different initial reasons for beginning to participate in softball, a main reason for their participation as adults was the social aspect of the game. Both the lesbian and nonlesbian participants mentioned that the softball environment was a location to see their friends. The lesbian participants also believed that softball was a positive way to meet lesbians. None of the lesbian participants could explain how they came to know that softball was a place to meet other lesbians. However, the softball environment was viewed positively by the lesbians as a place where they could safely interact with other lesbians.
The lesbian participants were also asked questions about their identity and how they came to realize they were lesbians. From this data, an ego-identity model of lesbian identity was proposed. Additionally, the coming out process for the lesbians was examined and a relationship between the age of a personal realization of being different and a personal coming out was discussed.
Robertson TL (1996). Gay male development: hermeneutic and self psychological perspectives. PSY D. Thesis, California School of Professional Psychology, DAI, Vol. 57-10B, p. 6589, 335 pages.
Abstract by author: This dissertation explores the developmental literature in order to unmask heterosexist bias and shift the focus from etiology to the anticipation of healthy, expectable gay development. Psychological literature is mostly silent about homosexuality in childhood and therefore cannot offer guidance to parents, teachers, physicians, or therapists. Where the literature does address homosexuality in childhood, the focus tends to be on etiology and disorders of gender. In contrast, this thesis offers an exploration of the subjective experiences of gay children, adolescents, and young adults, and of the vicissitudes of maintaining selfobject relatedness while managing difference in a homophobic, heterosexist culture. Postmodern, hermeneutic, and self psychological theories are described, then used to illuminate development and to contextualize psychological theories that are commonly referenced regarding homosexuality.
While offering a general developmental perspective, this thesis deals with specific theoretical and clinical issues that I have selected as compelling, given the theoretical vacuum that confronts clinicians who treat gay men. The work of writers who have focused on gay male development is reviewed. Principal arguments of this thesis are: the experience of gender is a social construction and homosexuality and masculinity are not incompatible; the DSM IV diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder is a form of culturally imposed heterosexism designed to discover and treat homosexuality in childhood; oedipal dynamics can be used to explain many variant forms of sexuality but cannot privilege a particular outcome; homoerotic desire comprises an ontological starting place for some boys - healthy psychological development will depend more on the reactions of the surround than any unfolding of “homosexual” dynamics; adolescence is a particularly vulnerable time as the culture inculcates and celebrates heterosexuality and stigmatizes homosexuality; identity formation is ongoing and changes over time - there is no class of persons that naturally fit any definition of “homosexual.” I suggest clinical and treatment implications, with the aim of shifting the treating clinicians’ overall perspective rather than giving specific treatment advice. Finally, I ask who can competently treat gay male clients, and conclude that only clinicians willing to undergo personal transformation and enter a genuine hermeneutic dialogue with patients should attempt treatment; others should refer.
Robinson A (1993). To pass//in drag: strategies of entrance into the visible. PhD. Thesis, University of Pennsylvania, DAI, Vol. 54-12A, p. 4443, 283 pages.
Abstract by author: This dissertation constructs a vocabulary of passing by examining African American and/or Gay and Lesbian strategies of entrance into representation in the early to mid-twentieth century. Employing an interdisciplinary approach to read such texts as Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun, Joan Nestle’s A Restricted Country, the Supreme Court brief for Plessy v. Ferguson, and John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me, this projects links a study of passing to the “problem” of identity, a problem to which passing owes the very possibility of its practice. Taking as my starting point a peculiarly American tradition of posing race and sexual preference as opposite ends of a culture of “readable identity,” the project is structured as a series of interpretive frames through which to consider the relation between passing and those visual models of identity that sustain its plausibility.
Chapter One introduces the central argument of the project: by replacing the inadequate dichotomy of visibility and invisibility with an acknowledgement of multiple registers of intelligibility, identity politics can most productively be considered a skill of reading. My second chapter considers the African American narrative of passing and the customary intersection of the passing plot and the marriage plot in the context of the minstrel logic of Jim Crow. In contrast to the limited subversion of the pass articulated by Chapter Two, my third chapter explores Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” as a narrative of passing that throws the fundamental logic of social hierarchy into disarray.
This tension between the theoretical threat contained by the logic of passing and its relation to the narrative and social conventions of race and gender is addressed by my fourth chapter where I consider the white-authored passing narrative and the dangerous consequences of a disembodied politic of universality. Taking up the issue of appropriation through a detailed reading of an historical instance of passing-the 1892 Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson - my last chapter considers the problematics and possibilities of resistance in a visual culture.
Rodriguez RA (1991). A qualitative study of identity development in gay chicano males. PhD. Thesis, The University of Utah, DAI, Vol. 52-07A, p. 2474, 182 pages.
Abstract by author: During the last several years, much has been written on the psychological, social, and political processes of ethnic and gay identity development. Only recently have studies been done examining the processes of identity development for gays and lesbians of color. The purpose of the present qualitative study was to develop a grounded theory of identity development and maintenance for a sample of gay Chicano males.
Fifteen adult gay Chicano males from three Southern California counties (Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego) were interviewed by the investigator. Transcripts of the interviews were analyzed via qualitative methodology, yielding 38 discrete themes, grouped into three general headings: Chicano identity development, gay identity development, and integration of Chicano and gay aspects of identity.
A grounded theory, derived from the data from the research participants, is proposed, describing the process of identity development as well as the blocks, supports, and strategies utilized for maintenance of identity for gay Chicano males.
Rose CM (1995). Ego strength and internalized homonegativity. Psy.D. Thesis, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, DAI, Vol. 57-02B, p. 1452, 75 Pages.
Abstract by author: Past research has demonstrated that gay and lesbian identity development can have a profound effect upon psychological adjustment. Research has also demonstrated that there exists a correlation between internalized homonegativity and the subsequent psychological adjustment of gay and lesbian individuals. In light of these findings, the present study sought to examine the relationship between internalized homonegativity and a specific construct related to psychological adjustment, that of ego strength.
A sample of 33 self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual participants were administered the Barron Ego Strength Scale from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, the Nungesser Homosexual Attitudes Inventory, and a demographic questionnaire designed specifically for this study. A multiple regression analysis indicated that lower measured ego strength significantly predicted higher measured internalized homonegativity. Conversely, higher ego strength significantly predicted lower internalized homonegativity. The multiple regression analysis also revealed that males rated higher in internalized homonegativity than females.
The main finding suggests that ego strength may be an important mitigating factor in working through internalized homonegativity and thus a crucial component of gay, lesbian, and bisexual identity development.
Rybicki WN (1994). The gay identity in the age of AIDS. PhD. Thesis, University of California, San Francisco, DAI, Vol. 56-03A, p. 1134, 313 pages.
Abstract by author: This dissertation in sociology examines the processes inVolved in gay male identity formation, maintenance, and transformation. It analyzes changes and constants in these processes across the temporal boundary of the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco gay male community. The thesis argues that the major processes in the formation of the gay male identity are, in the order of their precedence: feeling different, closeting, coming out, cruising, experiencing community, and making ideology. Each of these processes is more complex, risky, and rewarding than its predecessor. A progression through the ordered sequence of these processes, or stages, leads to gay identity formation.
This staged view of gay identity formation can be circumscribed by a metaphor, "The Ladder of Risk." In this metaphor, a man in any one of the stages - or "rungs" - of his identity formation faces certain options and risks. His conceptualization of the nature of the risks and the value of the rewards at this stage is the result of socialization processes, both within and without the gay community. He chooses among the options and manages its risks by using strategies and tactics chosen to maximize the chances of successfully maintaining a process stasis. Since process stasis is impossible, since he is lured forward along a trajectory through the stages because he is attracted by the greater risks and rewards of the next stage. Risk-taking becomes an inextricable aspect of the mature gay male identity.
By researching the changes in these identity processes across the temporal boundary of the AIDS epidemic, a clear idea of the changes in gay male personal and community identity induced by the social consequences of the disease emerged. The intimate linkage between risk- taking and gay male personal and community identity formation is elucidated: the habituation to risk-taking that characterizes each stage of gay identity formation assures that casual sex and creativity will remain important dimensions of the gay identity, and that these dimensions will survive the challenge of the AIDS epidemic.
The data analyzed are principally interviews with gay male residents of San Francisco, both HIV-positive and negative. But research reports and monographs, secondary literatures, and histories were consulted for received theoretical constructs. The analytic perspective taken is symbolic interactionism. The qualitative method used is grounded theory.
Schoenberg R (1989). Lesbian/gay identity development during the college years. D.S.W. Thesis, University of Pennsylvania, DAI, Vol. 50-03A, p. 793, 142 pages.
Abstract by author: The primary purposes of the study were, first, to explore the relationship between the experiences of lesbian women and gay men at college and the process of lesbian/gay identity development and, second, to learn how lesbian and gay college students could be better served by higher education administrators and human services professionals working in higher education settings. Interviews were conducted with 35 self-identified lesbian and gay students from seven colleges and universities divided into three categories: a large, private, urban, nonsectarian university; three small, private, suburban colleges - two coeducational, one for women only; and three coeducational, Catholic institutions of varying sizes - one urban, two suburban.
Respondents' sexual identity development, particularly from college entrance to the time of the interview, was explored and characterized, using a four-stage, two-dimension conceptual framework developed for the study based on a review of relevant literature. College experiences considered significant in the lesbian/gay identity development process were identified by respondents and subsequently classified and studied according to gender and school category. Suggestions for college administrators and service providers wishing to create an environment comfortable and supportive for lesbian/gay students were elicited from respondents and subsequently classified and ranked.
Results indicated that respondents entered college in all stages of lesbian/gay identity development, most in the first two of the four stages, and that important changes in the process took place during the college years. Thirteen clusters of experiences considered significant in that process were identified. The largest experience clusters were: self-disclosure of sexual orientation, off-campus activities, meeting gay/lesbian people on campus, romance/relationships, sexual activity, and harassment/homophobia. Some notable differences according to gender and school category were found. Respondents provided nearly 200 suggestions to administrators and service providers having to do with administrative policies and practices, personnel, education/programming, and attitudes and behavior.
The study's recommendations to administrators and service providers include: developing an accepting atmosphere; preventing and counteracting sexual orientation discrimination; educating students, staff, and faculty about the concerns of lesbian/gay students and employees; supporting lesbian/gay staff and faculty; facilitating opportunities for lesbian/gay students to meet and organize; communicating regularly with lesbian/gay students; including lesbian/gay-related material in curricula; and considering the stages of lesbian/gay identity development in programming and counseling.
Segal AM (1995). Schools, identity, and homosexuality. PhD. Thesis, The University of British Columbia, DAI, Vol. 57-03A, p. 1035, 179 pages. ISBN: 0-612-06063-2
Abstract by author: This work is a life-history analysis of thirteen homosexuals aged 17-22, ten of whom are male. The thesis concentrated on six themes; concepts of sexuality and their portrayal in the curriculum; school episodes or experiences; teachers’ and administrators’ role(s) in these experiences; concepts of identity; and the institutional intent of schools to influence students. To this end, the interviews probe how influential schools are, how participants interpret the “lesson(s)” of the curriculum on sexual matters, and whether they associate school experience with the development of their own sexual identities.
All the subjects detect circumstances and attitudes whose effect is to disparage homosexuality and to discourage serious discussion of it. The subjects are less unified in concluding whether schools intend to influence them and their circumstances, and whether what they remember counts as evidence of influence. Although they criticize schools for making them invisible, most of the subjects tacitly accept the ideology of the education system. They believe that the system fosters, encourages, enlightens, and enables its students. They believe in the system as an ideal, and they believe in the accuracy of their appraisal of it. They do not consider that a schooling ideology based on a binary understanding of gender that relentlessly counterpoises masculinity and femininity, male and female, and hetero/homosexual, requires the very invisibility and silence they detest. As they contend with compulsory heterosexuality, they blur the importance of identities in their lives. Thus do they constitute their own exclusion so as not to be trapped by it.
Silberkraus SL (1995). A Sapphic sojourn: evolution of a lesbian identity. PhD. Thesis, University of Southern California, DAI, Vol. 57-01A, p. 479, 555 pages.
Abstract by author: This study examined the evolution of a personal lesbian identity through the use of culturally established labels and categories. Lesbian identity formation is uniquely different from heterosexual identity formation because it must be achieved despite a heterosexist, homophobic, and patriarchal power structure which continues to control, legislate, and stigmatize sexual variance of any kind.
Through the use of extensive, in-depth, interviews with 5 lesbian women, this study explored the process which led each woman to create her own self-defined lesbian identity under the pervasive shadow of a heteropatriarchal power structure. Emphasis was placed on how the women believed their identities have changed, and may change, as they mature both as lesbians and women.
The product of this grounded research is 15 Themes organized into a developmental feedback-loop model emphasizing the life-long, recursive, unending, and fluid nature of forming, and re-forming, a lesbian identity. This model traces the women’s identity formation from foundational experiences, retrospectively associated as impacting their lesbian identities, through the women’s attempts to conform to cultural, traditional, heterosexual values, inducing the women to question and weigh identity alternatives. Cultural and interpersonal interactions are seen as events leading to the assumption of a lesbian identity, with or without, self-labeling lesbian. Finally, this model probes personal and cultural issues lesbians will confront for the remainder of their lives, while attempting to integrate a lesbian existence into a heterosexual culture.
The results of this study portray the process of forming, and re-forming, a lesbian identity as “a blessing and a curse.” Certain experiences women encounter may assist in creating transient narcissistic injuries leading to the development of a “false self.” These injuries are hypothesized to result from stigmatization and oppression by a culture which places ultimate value on compliance with heterosexual norms. Simultaneously, these women may choose to activate their ability to increase self-awareness, develop special talents, create tangential perspectives, and righteous indignation causing them to question and challenge cultural norms. These special qualities are seen to develop as a means of supporting, validating, and nurturing their identities.
Sims RL (1993). Searching for identity: lesbians and alcohol abuse. M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI, Vol. 32-02, p. 506, 90 pages.
Abstract by author: Gays and lesbians in the United States have an approximate 30% higher rate of alcohol abuse than the general population. The purpose of this study was to identify whether the lack of a positive homosexual identity is related to excessive alcohol use among lesbian women.
This study explored the relationship between lesbians and alcohol abuse by examining three potential sources for the onset of excessive alcohol consumption: lack of self-acceptance, fear of rejection by others, and lesbian lifestyle which includes functions and activities that focus on alcohol consumption.
The study found that all respondents currently assessed themselves as having positive lesbian identities and that lack of self-acceptance as a lesbian was the primary source for onset of alcohol abuse. The study also found that all of the respondents recognized that they were sexually “different” either before or at the same time that they began abusing alcohol.
Stefano K (1993). Identity development within a university gay and lesbian support group. PSY.D. Thesis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, DAI, Vol. 54-03B, p. 1697, 169 pages.
Abstract by author: This descriptive study examined the clinical utility of conceptualizing the struggles of gay young adults at a mid-sized, rural university in terms of a seven task model of psychosocial development. In addition, it examined the effectiveness of an unstructured group in aiding gay university students to successfully resolve these seven developmental tasks.
At pre-test, subjects indicated that they were interested in discussing topics predicted by the seven task model of psychosocial development. Subjects also indicated that they were experiencing difficulty in areas predicted by the model. Further, the majority of subjects were found to be below average on an Eriksonian measure of psychosocial development compared to a normative sample of same-age peers in the areas of identity development and the establishment of constructive, intimate relationships.
Post-test results showed that subjects found the group to be a positive experience. They also indicated that discussing topics related to the seven task model was relevant and helpful. Particular progress was noted in the area of Social Identification. However, subjects still indicated that they were experiencing some difficulties in the areas predicted by the seven task model. Subjects also improved on the Eriksonian measure of psychosocial development, indicating that some resolution of identity and intimacy issues had occurred over the course of the group.
This study indicates that a seven task developmental model may have value in understanding the psychosocial development of gay young adults. In addition, support groups may facilitate the positive resolution of developmental issues experienced by gay young adults.
Stenson LA (1994). From carnal acts to cultural communities. PhD. Thesis, University of Minnesota, DAI, Vol. 55-07A, p. 1959, 267 pages.
Abstract by author: This thesis, through critical inquiry and literary analysis, shows how lesbian novels form a history of lesbian identity through the interplay of lesbian subjectivities with larger cultural constructions and practices. Lesbian identity then, is not so much a fixed subject position, but rather one that shifts in relation to changing social forces. While it is difficult to find lesbian literature that is free from the pathology that has been tied to lesbianism, this thesis maps out how lesbianism has been made deviant, how this shows itself in literature, and most importantly, where subjective resistance to this pathology exists.
The first chapter provides a literature review, discusses theories, methods, and definitions, nineteenth-century precedents, and the rise of the modern novel and its connection to women writers’ experimentation in self-definition.
Chapter Two discusses the sexologists’ work in relation to Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness and the importance of this novel to the formation not only of lesbian literary identity, but also of a tradition in the genre of lesbian literature.
Chapter Three discusses three novels from the 1930s and how two of these works begin a counter tradition in lesbian literature, one wherein private, subjective discourse that argues against social stigma begins to become more clearly visible in lesbian literature.
Chapter Four shows how “pulp” fiction both reinforces and resists dominant ideology about lesbian identity, and the continuing subjective resistance to the dominant narrative form and the full emergence of the narrative of escape.
Finally, Chapter Five discusses the second wave of the feminist movement and the Stonewall rebellion, and how lesbian identity shifts again in response to a lesbian-feminist politic.
The work is primarily in the tradition of cultural criticism and studies, with particular emphasis on the history of sexuality.
Tarkowski JTS (1994). Lesbian's perception of parental support and the disclosure of sexual orientation. ED.D. Thesis, Western Michigan University, DAI, Vol. 55-06A, p. 1477, 215 pages.
Abstract by author: The relationship between lesbian perception of parental support and disclosure of sexual orientation was examined in the study. From the 200 questionnaires prepared for distribution, a purposive sample of 180 (90%) lesbian-identified adults returned data for analysis. The participants completed a questionnaire addressing demographics and lesbian life-experiences. Three self-report inventories, the Perceived Social Support-Family Scale (PSS-Fa) (Procidano & Heller, 1983), the Silencing the Self Scale (STSS) (Jack, 1991), and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) (Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock, & Erbaugh, 1961), were also administered.
Data gathering procedures used in the study resulted in a sample which was largely white, well educated, and not economically advantaged. The sample was similar to other samples identified in previous lesbian research studies. Thus, generalizations from the results were limited to lesbian-identified adults with similar demographic characteristics.
Data were analyzed by chi square and t-test statistics with p =.05 set as the significance level. Statistically significant differences were found for participants who reported perceptions of poor parental support and who did or did not disclose their sexual orientation to parent(s). Participants who reported perceptions of mother's and father's attitude toward homosexuality as homophobic significantly reported perceptions of poor parental support.
Findings related to self-silencing included significant silencing behavior associated with negative perceptions of parental support and when mothers were perceived as homophobic. No significant differences were found between self-silencing behavior and the perception of father's attitude toward homosexuality and also decisions to disclose, or to not disclose, sexual orientation to parents. A qualitative analysis of written responses was organized into self- versus other-oriented thematic sets, and a summary was included in the results section.
These findings add to a growing body of knowledge of how perceptions of positive support and affirmative attitude toward homosexuality influence the decision to disclose sexual orientation. The findings may also provide additional insight for lesbians to mutually engage in and maintain growth producing parental relationships. Recommendations for future research on issues related to disclosure of sexual orientation and parental support were provided.
Publication No. 9429017
Thiel MJ (1995). Lesbian identity development and career experiences. Ed.D. Thesis, Western Michigan University, DAI, Vol. 56-12A, p. 4665, 176 pages.
Abstract by author: This study used a qualitative research design to explore the experiences of lesbian women with respect to identity development and career issues. Using the Stage Allocation Measure (SAM) (Cass, 1984), twenty lesbian women who were in the Synthesis Stage (Stage 6) of identity development were identified. In face-to-face, one and a half to two hour interviews, using a semi-structured interview guide developed by the researcher respondents were asked open-ended questions about their coming out process and their career development. Interviews were tape recorded and transcribed and the transcripts were analyzed using grounded theory coding techniques. Themes and patterns were identified which could contribute to knowledge about identity development and career experiences of lesbian women.
Significant findings included the following: (a) there is a complex, interconnecting relationship between the lesbian identity development process and the career development process; (b) the unique experiences of lesbian women in our culture must be specifically addressed by a career development theory that guides career counseling with this population; and (c) the experiences of the respondents support the idea that lesbian identity development is a process that occurs in stages such as those depicted in the Cass (1979) model of gay/lesbian identity development.
Therapists who provide career counseling to lesbians must first acknowledge that sexual orientation is an aspect of personal identity that must be integrated into the career counseling process. Along with this acknowledgment, therapists should provide signs and signals that they understand and affirm lesbian concerns, promote the development of a positive lesbian identity, and recognize and integrate the reality of anti-lesbian stigma.
Counselor training programs should incorporate lesbian and gay issues into all aspects of education including academic studies and practicum experiences.
Toman JA (1997). Dual identity: being Catholic and being gay. PhD. Thesis, Cleveland State University, DAI, Vol. 58-05A, p. 1942, 141 pages.
Abstract by author: The aim of this research was to utilize survey methods to investigate the relationship between two important personal identity markers, one’s religiosity and one’s sexual orientation, and to examine these variables at two points in the life span, retrospectively during youth and concurrently in adulthood. Specifically, the study involved adult males raised in the Catholic tradition and the process of their homosexual identity formation.
This research sought to determine if significant relationships exist between: (1) the strength of youthful religious conviction and difficulty experienced during the adolescent coming-out process; (2) formative religious conviction and later ability to achieve an adult gay-affirmative life style; (3) religious conviction in the formative and adult years; (4) the difficulty of coming-out and subsequent adult religious conviction; (5) the difficulty of coming-out and adult capacity to experience a gay-affirmative life style; and (6) adult religious conviction and capacity for a gay-affirmative life style.
The 70 respondents in the study were voluntary and their survey responses anonymous. They were recruited either by contact from professionals who work with individuals in the gay community or through advertisements in the gay community and in the gay-oriented media. Analysis of responses utilized quantitative procedures, but respondents also provided narrative answers which added explanatory detail and enriched and clarified the findings and conclusions.
The findings from this study suggest that: (a) a significant statistical relationship exists between adolescent religiosity and difficulties encountered in the adolescent coming-out process, and also between adolescent and adult religiosity; and (b) no statistically significant relationship exists between adolescent religiosity and difficulties experienced in achieving a affirmative adult gay life style, between adolescent and adult sexual identity processes, nor between the adolescent coming-out process and adult religiosity.
This study further suggests that the interplay of religious and sexual identity factors is a complex one. The data it offers may serve to illuminate for those who work with the gay population some of the important issues through which gay clients must navigate, and to suggest to researchers in the field of religious and sexual orientation identity formation useful directions which further research might take.
Traughber EF (1994). Feminine gender identity and sexual anxiety in adult homosexual males. M.S. Thesis, Texas Woman’s University, MAI, Vol. 33-04, p. 1341, 85 pages.
Abstract by author: This study was designed to examine the levels of sexual anxiety and feminine gender identity in two groups of adult homosexual males. The factor distinguishing between the two groups was that one group was in counseling to change their sexual orientation to heterosexual while the other group was not in this type of counseling. The research procedure consisted of administering a questionnaire packet to each member of the two groups. The packet consisted of a demographic survey, a sexual anxiety inventory, and a feminine gender identity scale.
Several statistically significant differences were found between the two groups in both the areas of sexual anxiety and feminine gender identity. In the area of sexual anxiety, the group of men in counseling showed higher levels of sexual anxiety in three areas. These areas were feelings of discomfort in social situations in which sexuality is implied, socially unacceptable forms of sexual behavior, and sexuality expressed in private. In the area of feminine gender identity the group in counseling showed higher levels of femininity in two out of three areas. These were childhood and transsexualism. The area in which there was no significant difference between the groups was that of past sexual preference.
Although there were statistically significant differences between the scores of the two groups, it is unsure what the cause of this difference is. Further research needs to be done in this area to help clarify and justify these findings.
Voisard BS (1985). Sefl-disclosure in lesbian identity development. PhD. Thesis, The University of Utah, DAI, Vol. 56-03B, p. 1723, 85 pages.
Abstract by author: Models of lesbian and gay identity development suggest that identity disclosure is an integral aspect of the development process. Lesbian self-disclosure of identity was related to a number of factors in the literature that have been linked with disclosure. Two hundred thirty-one women from two geographical regions participated in a mail-out survey. The survey measured the number of people to whom women had disclosed and whether they had disclosed to family, heterosexual friends, homosexual friends, and coworkers. The survey also included measures of internalized homophobia, perceived homophobia in family, perceived homophobia in other heterosexuals, feminism, self-esteem, current involvement in a relationship, and a series of demographic questions.
The results from multiple regression analyses on self-disclosure indicate that the factors associated with self-disclosure differ according to the target of the disclosure. Internalized homophobia was associated with the number of categories of people told and whether the woman had disclosed to coworkers and employers; it was not a factor in disclosure to friends or family. The perceived homophobia of friends, coworkers and employers, and families was associated with disclosure to these groups. Age was found to be a factor with disclosure to family and coworkers, as well as amount of disclosure, such that younger women were more likely to have disclosed their sexual orientation to more categories of people—especially family and coworkers. Feminism was the only factor strongly associated with disclosure to homosexual friends.
Cultural differences also were discovered between women from the two geographical locations. Women from Utah were younger, predominantly raised in a conservative religious faith, and less likely to have a feminist viewpoint than California women. Utah women perceived more homophobia in their families but disclosed to their families at the same rate as California women. Finally, Utah women had more recently begun disclosing their sexual orientation to heterosexual friends. The findings indicate that increasing self-disclosure may be a marker of lesbian identity development. Results also suggest that theories of the relationship of self-disclosure to identity must include an understanding of the effects of sociopolitical culture on the lesbian self-disclosure process.
Walker L (1995). Looking like what you are: race, sexual style and the construction of identity. PhD. Thesis, The Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. DAI, Vol. 57-01A, p. 223, 283 pages.
Abstract by author: This project explores the function of body politics in constructing minority identities, or how people’s physical and stylistic attributes are invested with meanings about who they are. It is interested in how race and sexual differences are defined in the confluence of discourses around visibility and invisibility.
The first two chapters set up the parameters of in/visibility with regard to sexual and racial differences in readings of two paradigmatic texts about visibility, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, which produces the lesbian as visible in the figure of the butch, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, which explores the paradoxical notion that dark-skinned African-Americans’ “high visibility” actually renders them invisible. Chapter 3 reflects on the comparison between racial and sexual paradigms of visibility enacted by the structure of Chapters 1 and 2 through a reading of Blair Niles’s 1931 novel Strange Brother.
Chapter 4 argues that the pattern of identification is central to the way I analyze structures of visibility in the first three chapters. It begins with a reading of Homi Bhabha’s theory of the stereotype as a form of fetishism, and moves into a reading of three novels, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, and Michelle Cliff’s Abeng, which are interrelated in that each of the latter two novels rewrites the text(s) which precede it.
The last chapter, “How to Recognize a Lesbian,” analyzes the status of the relationship between identity-formation and visibility within current feminist criticism. It examines how the construction of the identities “butch” and “woman of color” as visible leads to the displacement of those who do not “look like what they are” (women of color who can “pass” for white and femme lesbians who can “pass” for straight) from the communities feminism intends to represent.
Reading the theoretical/autobiographical texts of Audre Lorde, Cherrie Moraga, and Gloria Anzaldua in connection with critical responses to those texts by both white feminists and feminists of color, the chapter argues that strategies of visibility are sometimes deconstructed, but also reinscribed to underpin the construction of lesbian identity within contemporary theories of race, gender and sexuality.
Wallace R (1992). The politics of male friendships and "sexual identity." M.A. Thesis, University of Toronto, MAI, Vol. 31-04, p. 1603, 121 pages, ISBN: 0-315-78595-0.
Abstract by author: The thesis is an initial exploration of male-male friendships and practices of sexual identity. Starting with the premise that gender identity is socially constructed, gay and straight positions and practices of sexual identity are explored in terms of reinforcing or resisting hegemonic configurations of masculinity(-ies).
The thesis was guided by the three questions: (1) how do we as men organize our male friendships? (2) how do we construct sexual identity in the context of these rules and this organization of male friendship? (3) what are the possibilities for resisting these rules in ways that are less reproductive of dominant forms of masculinities and sexual identities.
Through qualitative interviews, various discursive rule-bound practices concerning talk, the body, and public space were presented. The result was an analysis that showed there to be multiple forms of men's practices (masculinities) and identities.
Walsh WM (1995). Social support factors of lesbians with a positive sexual identity. PhD. Thesis, California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, DAI, Vol. 56-05B, p. 2891, 143 pages.
Abstract by author: The present study was designed to explore the social support factors of lesbians with a positive sexual identity. The sample included two hundred and nine lesbians from Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Respondents were asked to complete a survey which included measures of five provisions of social support, self-esteem, internalized homophobia, comfort coming out, comfort with sexual identity, and sources of social support.
Analyses indicated the lesbians with a positive lesbian sexual identity as defined by high self-esteem, a high degree of comfort coming out, a high degree of comfort with sexual identity and low internalized homophobia, also had high social support. It was mainly high self-esteem and low internalized homophobia which accounted for the variance in social support for these lesbians. Analyses were not able to support the belief that different provisions of social support come from different sources. Overall, social support came from a combination of gay and nongay friends.
Results also indicated that lesbians in a relationship had greater social support especially for the attachment and guidance provisions. When lesbians in a relationship cohabiting were compared to lesbians in a relationship not cohabiting, and single lesbians, it was lesbians in a relationship cohabiting that had the greatest attachment, guidance, and reliable alliance provisions of social support. Lesbians in a relationship cohabiting also had the greatest comfort coming out, the greatest comfort with sexual identity, and the lowest internalized homophobia.
Additional analyses showed that religious affiliation, education, and income, affected social support and other lesbian identity factors. Jewish lesbians and lesbians with no religious affiliation had the greatest reassurance of worth as well as greater comfort coming out and greater comfort with their sexual identities. Lesbians with advanced degrees had the greatest social integration, reassurance of worth, and self-esteem. Lastly, higher income was related to somewhat higher self-esteem and social support.
Whisman V (1993). Lesbians, gay men, and difference: the meaning of choice. PhD. Thesis, New York University, DAI, Vol. 54-07A, p. 2752, 292 pages.
Abstract by author: This dissertation is based on interviews with 72 lesbians and gay men, and examines the meanings of choice in their identity accounts. The statements respondents make about the role of choice in their sexual preferences are analyzed for the ways that they allow lesbians and gay men to enter their own personal narratives into a larger political discourse. Respondents are grouped according to their use of one of three types of accounts: They state either that they exercised No Choice in becoming a lesbian or a gay man, that they exercised Total Choice, or that they exercised Partial Choice, meaning that they believe they did not choose their sexual orientation but did make choices about acting upon it.
The three groups of each gender are compared in order to determine why respondents offer one account or another. The Partial Choice account is offered by respondents with widely varying sexual histories. Respondents’ use of the Partial Choice narrative to account for varying and contradictory experiences, coupled with respondents’ beliefs that all gay men and lesbians are represented by the Partial Choice account, suggests that the Partial Choice account dominates gay and lesbian discourse about the nature of sexual preference. Respondents who offer No Choice and Total Choice accounts, however, recognize that theirs is not the dominant account. The sexual histories of Total Choice and No Choice respondents overlap considerably those who offer the Partial Choice account; although accounts offered differ distinctly, sexual histories of the three groups do not. Those who offer one of the alternative accounts have different access, motives, and opportunities for using the different types of accounts. They could use the dominant Partial Choice account but do not, generally because they have been isolated from gay and lesbian communities or have joined alternative gay and lesbian communities, notably lesbian-feminist ones. The dominant account is shown to represent gay men better than lesbians, who are portrayed as deviant by the gender-biased assumptions of that account: that homosexuality is an essential individual characteristic which is an entirely personal and sexual, as opposed to political, phenomenon.
Whitman SC (1997). Identity management and decision-making strategies of lesbian women at various stages of identity development: an ethnographic study. West Virginia University, PhD. Thesis, DAI, Vol. 58-02A, p. 393, 401 pages.
Abstract by author: This was a qualitative study designed to explore how women at various stages of lesbian identity development manage and make decisions about managing their identities. Management of identity was explored in terms of how women came out or stayed hidden and how they made decisions to both disclose and conceal. It used Cass’ (1979) Stage Allocation Measure, based on her model of homosexual identity development, as a means to categorize women at various stages of lesbian identity development. Twenty-five adult women were individually interviewed, using a semi-structured interview schedule. In addition, participants agreed to maintain a journal for one month recording their management and decision-making strategies and to an exit interview. Qualitative analyses utilizing recommendations by Hycner (1985) were employed.
The major findings indicated that women at different stages of lesbian identity development use disparate and similar identity management and decision-making strategies. Participants discussed an assortment of strategies used to conceal and disclose which varied among the stages and which extended Cass’ model in terms of depth and scope around the intrapsychic and interpersonal experiences of women at various lesbian identity development stages. Underlying and connecting lesbian identity management and development was the need to maintain self-esteem. Implications for practice, training, and future research were addressed.
Wisbey ME (1993). Women’s sexual identity, self-concept, and development. PhD. Thesis, University of Georgia, DAI, Vol. 54-06A, p. 2061, 139 pages.
Abstract by author: This study was undertaken to investigate the relationship between sexual identity formation, self-esteem, and college student development in women, ages 17-25. Homosexual identity formation as described by Cass (1979) was chosen for the present study to examine the identified variables. Traditional age (17 to 25) undergraduate women attending universities in the Southeastern region of the United States were the target population.
A questionnaire battery was administered to the sample population consisting of five assessment instruments: Student Developmental Task and Lifestyle Inventory (Winston, Miller, & Prince, 1987), Stage Allocation Measure (Cass, 1985), Homosexual Identity Questionnaire (Brady, 1983), Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1979), and Lie Scale of the Eysenck Personality Inventory (1962).
Data collection occurred during the 1992 fall academic term. Of the 306 questionnaires distributed, 147 participants responded: 92 self-identified heterosexual women (63%) and 55 self-identified lesbian women (37%). On the basis of the responses, the 147 individuals were placed in sexual identify stages as described by Cass (1979). The relationship between the stages and responses to the college student development and self-esteem instruments were examined in the analysis.
Findings revealed statistical significance in the achievement of developmental subtasks of Life Management, Per Relationships, Tolerance, and Emotional Autonomy. Task achievement of Academic Autonomy revealed statistical significance. The null hypothesis, that there will be no significant difference in self-esteem between self-identified lesbian and self-identified heterosexual college women could not be rejected. No significant differences for self-esteem and the self-report stage of sexual identity were found in the study.
Research about women college students is necessary and this study lends support to that perception. The development of sexual identity and college student development task achievement prevails as a challenge beyond the developmental tasks common to all college students. Programs and services on college campuses need to be directed toward meeting the needs of this subpopulation of students. Further research is needed which utilizes more refined instruments and larger samples of college students.
Wolfe PF (1997). The midlife transition to lesbian: cultural influences on women’s sexual preference change. PhD Thesis, The Union Institute, DAI, Vol. 58-05A, p. 1797, 231 pages.
Abstract by author: This study focused on the transition of women who changed their sexual orientation during the midlife period. These midlife women, formerly embedded in the heterosexual/patriarchal systems, by changing their sexual identity to lesbian also changed cultural systems, from heterosexual to lesbian. To make this transition the women used a number of cognitive and cultural processes that helped them. One of the processes discovered was the use of a kind of ‘cultural bitmap’ during the transition.
The map as created through various methods and included transitional markers’ (behavioral, cognitive and sociocultural themes) that frequently appeared, usually prior to the actual transition. The markers were sometimes accompanied by a shift in, or enhancement of, support networks, an increase in use of symbolic icons such as various kinds of Feminist Archetypes, a realigning or shifting of previously held religious beliefs, a decrease in stigmatization of lesbian behavior and/or an increased interest in homosexual lifestyles. This map allowed the women to not only track sources for acquiring knowledge, but it helped them to assimilate the new behavioral codes, linguistic terms, symbolic structures, find support or extend their kinship systems.
During the transition itself, some women experienced a kind of ‘culture shock’ when first exposed to the gay culture. They missed signals, misunderstood signals, and often did not understand some of the symbols or argot of the subculture. Some women found guides, including lovers, to gain knowledge of the lesbian lifestyle. Some women eventually became bicultural in both lesbian and heterosexual cultures while others more strongly identified as lesbian.
Data was collected over a two-year period from 22 women ranging in age from 47 to 63 who had ‘come out’ between the ages of 40 and 55. They lived in or near a large metropolitan area on the West Coast. Women were interviewed to collect both historical data and transitional information which was then examined to discover the women’s individual social and cognitive patterns. These patterns were then compared to the other women to see if any of the patterns appeared across the sample.
The development of these GLBT information web pages were made possible through the collaboration of Richard Ramsay (Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary) and Pierre Tremblay (independent researcher, writer, and GLBT children and youth advocate) who both recognize that often needed social changes occur as the result of knowledge availability and dissemination. Additional Information at: Warning, Acknowledgments, Authors.
These GLBTQ Info-Pages were located at the University of Southampton from 2000 to 2003, this being the result of a collaboration with Dr. Chris Bagley, Department of Social Work Studies, University of Southampton.
Graphics are compliments of Websight West. The Synergy Centre donated computer/Internet time to facilitate the construction of this GLBT information site. Both are owned by a Chris Hooymans, a friend, and former publisher of a gay & lesbian magazine in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Chris continues to offer his expertise whenever needed and he has supplied, free of charge, the hosting of the site - Youth Suicide Problems: A Gay / Bisexual Male Focus - where a smaller - GLBTQ Education Section - and the Internet Resource Page for this subject (http://www.youth-suicide.com/gay-bisexual/links2.htm) is located.
Many thanks to Wendy Stephens from The Department of Communications Media, University of Calgary. She communicated with publishers of many academic journals (an ongoing time-consuming process) for permission to reproduce abstracts from papers and studies on these GLBT information web pages.
The information made available on this web page does not represent all the relevant information available on the Internet, nor in professional journals and in other publications.
This web page was constructed to supply a spectrum of information for individuals seeking to understand one or more of the many gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender issues. Additional Information at: Warning, Acknowledgments, Authors.
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