Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy

Advisor

Christine A. Beliard

Committee Member

Anne H. Rambo

Committee Member

Christopher F. Burnett

Abstract

Queer people of color are more at risk for bias and brutality than other sexual or racial minority groups (Follins, Walker, & Lewis, 2014). Homophobic violence is embedded in Afro-Caribbean culture and even substantiated by some of those countries’ laws (Calixte, 2005). While more research is being increasingly done on LGBTQ+ black lived experiences, studies have focused more on discriminatory trauma than everyday triumph. Movements like Black Girls Rock (Bond, 2018) and intersectional black feminism (Nash, 2018) celebrate women of color surviving and thriving the compound effects of racism and sexism. In addition to misogynoir, this research gave consideration to the intersection of homophobia and/or transphobia, and xenophobia to the West Indian female LGBTQ+ diaspora in North America. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) in this study, four participants were interviewed to explore the lived experiences of queer women of Afro-Caribbean descent and the ways in which their cumulative identities contribute to resilience in their daily lives. Results of this study included the emergence of ten super-ordinate themes: “journey to identity formation and acceptance,” “importance of being out,” “selecting supportive environments,” “advocating for yourself and community,” “complexity of faith,” “complexity of ethnicity and race,” “family strain and rejection,” “self-care and sustainability,” “importance of intersectional identities,” and “hopes of freedom.” The study findings helped narrow the gap in the existing research on resilience and intersecting identities in queer women of Afro-Caribbean descent.

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