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Exploring Intersections of Identity and Service Provision Among LGBTQ Young Adults: A Participatory Action Research Approach

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This study explores the ways in which LGBTQ young adults describe the aspects of their identities, and how those identities shape their service needs and experiences. A participatory action research

This study explores the ways in which LGBTQ young adults describe the aspects of their identities, and how those identities shape their service needs and experiences. A participatory action research component was explored as a research and service approach that is sensitive to LGBTQ young people living at the intersections of multiple identities. Although it is understood that LGBTQ young people come from a variety of backgrounds, research is limited in its understanding and exploration of how aspects of identity, such as race and class, influence the lives and service needs of this population. The data was collected through an initial set of interviews with fifteen LGBTQ-identified young adults ages 18 to 24. The interviewees were recruited from an LGBTQ youth-serving organization using a purposive sampling approach to reflect racial/ethnic and gender identity diversity. Following the interviews, eight of the participants engaged as co-researchers on a participatory action research (PAR) team for sixteen weeks. The process of this team's work was assessed through a reflective analysis to identify factors that impacted the participants' lives. Analysis of the interviews identified key themes related to identity among the LGBTQ young people. The interviewees experienced a multiplicity of identities that were both socially and individually constructed. These identities were impacted by their immediate and social environments. The young people also identified ways that they used their identities to influence their environments and enhance their own resilience. The service experiences and needs of the LGBTQ young people in this study were directly influenced by their multiple identities. Implications for intersectional approaches to serving this population are explored. Analysis of the PAR process identified four areas in which the young people were most impacted through their work and interactions with one another: relationships, communication, participation, and inclusion. Implications for research and service approaches with LGBTQ young people are discussed.

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  • 2013

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Constructing the youth in commercial musical theatre: an intersectional case study

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This dissertation considers how adolescent identity is constructed and represented in commercial musical theatre for youth (e.g. Broadway and Disney Theatrical Group) by examining two commercial productions with adolescents in

This dissertation considers how adolescent identity is constructed and represented in commercial musical theatre for youth (e.g. Broadway and Disney Theatrical Group) by examining two commercial productions with adolescents in lead roles--Spring Awakening and Disney's High School Musical. My theoretical framework is intersectionality which creates a foundation for my research within the field of childhood studies, gender studies, and performance studies to illuminate current US American trends in youth oriented art and research. My framework extends into a case study methodology exploring the world of childhood and youth sexuality through a close read of the popular Broadway musical adaptation, Spring Awakening. In addition, a second investigation chronicles the world of Disney's High School Musical through my own intersectional tool, the Disney Industrial Complex. I claim that adolescence, as a constructed identity, exists as a multi-faceted intersectional category composed of multiple and conflicting intersections such as gender, race, sex, ethnicity, and so on. These intersections develop over the course of the period known as "adolescence" and "youth." The goal of this dissertation is to serve as a reference for other theatre educators and their work with young people creating art.

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  • 2012

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Schooling gender: identity construction in high school

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For many adolescents, high school is a critical period of self-awareness, peer-influence, and identity construction. During this volatile period, young people explore how to express themselves in ways that range

For many adolescents, high school is a critical period of self-awareness, peer-influence, and identity construction. During this volatile period, young people explore how to express themselves in ways that range from conformity to non-conformity and transgression. This is particularly true when it comes to young people's understanding and expression of gender identity. For some youth, their personal form(s) of gender expression align neatly with social expectations; for others, it does not. When gender expression does not align with social expectations, students may be vulnerable to bullying or harassment by peers or adults. Often, youth who are policed and regulated by their classmates through bullying (or harassment, depending upon the relevant or implemented policy) are targeted based on their perceived identity, be that racial, ethnic, citizenship, or, most frequently, gender and sexuality. This project advances the need for research done from a critical youth studies perspective (both methodologically and ethically) and provides new insight into the types of language and practices used by youth to express, perform and "do" gender. Utilizing qualitative methodology, including participant observation, focus group and individual interviews, surveys, and the collection and content analysis of school ephemera, this research investigated how high school students navigate gender identity amidst other intersecting identities. This project examined how youth both "do" and "perform" gender in their everyday lives as high school students. Their gender identity is frequently understood amidst other intersecting identities, particularly sexual orientation, religion and race. These youth also pointed to several important influences in how they understand their own gender, and the gender identity of those around them, including media and peer groups. Because this research took place at two charter art schools, the findings also provided a framework for understanding how these two schools, and charter art schools more generally, provide alternative spaces for young people to experiment and play with their identity construction. Findings indicate that youth are forced to navigate and construct their gender identity amidst many conflicting and contradictory ideologies. Schools, media, and peer groups all heavily influence the way young people understand themselves.

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Date Created
  • 2012