Coming and Living Out: A Look at the Lives [of] Franklin and Marshall College LGBTIQ Students
Barrows, Chelsea E.
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Subjectidentity, coming out, sexuality, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual, queer/questioning, discrimination
This thesis will look at the ways my interviewees have come out of the closet and live in varying degrees of “out-ness”. Following an overview of my methodology, I will provide an introductory review of the history of sexuality and coming out, theories of sexual identity construction, and a look at the brief history of queer anthropology.--- The next part and majority of this thesis focuses on my ethnographic data. Next I will provide information on and analysis of their coming out narratives... This section has been broken down into two major categories: coming out to friends and coming out to relatives. Finally, life out will be addressed. This will cover media as community, the LGBTIQ community both at and away from Franklin and Marshall, and discrimination.--- Every one of the people in this study triumphed over self-doubt and the pressures of heteronormativity. As much as this paper may focus on challenges, discomfort, and discrimination, it also very much illuminates the victories the students in this thesis have made as they attempt to live confident out lives – that is, as they attempt to be themselves.--- Methodology... The majority of this thesis is based on ethnographic data I gathered over the course of the 2010-2011 academic year at Franklin and Marshall College. I used a mixture of participant observation and individual interviews to collect information from my informants, and I read various shorter and longer scholarly works to collect other data regarding biological construction of sexuality, the social construction of sexuality, coming out models, relationship and identity negotiations made by closeted or out individuals, and the development of queer studies in Anthropology. The fundamental theoretical texts herein draw primarily from the work of anthropologists, but also comes from selected works by historians, sociologists, and psychologists to supplement the anthropological material... --- The second part – and majority – of my ethnographic data comes from individual interviews (see appendices ). I interviewed eleven students during the Fall 2010 semester and five students in the early Spring 2011 semester. In the early Spring 2011 semester I also conducted follow-up interviews with thirteen previous participants... In the primary interview, I asked participants about their sexual identity, to whom they are out, who they are closeted from, why and how they came out, the degree of participation in the LGBTIQ community (on or off campus), and about their general comfort with their sexuality. These primary interviews lasted anywhere from 20 minutes to a little over an hour, with one interview lasting three hours. Secondary interviews revolved around the media, religion, and other topics not specifically or thoroughly addressed in the individual’s first interview. Secondary interviews that were conducted in person lasted roughly 20 minutes... ... Names have been changed for the purpose of this paper in order to assure my informants of confidentiality.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2011
- F&M Theses Collection