Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Research on bisexual, biracial women has been scarce; identity development in particular shows not only a gap in the research for this particular population, but shows the lack of intersectional models for approaching identity as a whole. Traditional models of queer identity have used White, gay, cisgender men as the default sample and coming out as the benchmark goal for identity integration. Biracial identity research, though more holistic, rarely includes intersectionality. Through feminist, queer theory and constructivist grounded theory, this project hopes to challenge traditional models of categorical identity development, give voice and visibility to a continually underrepresented group of people, and explore the question of “What does racial identity development and sexual identity development look like for biracial, bisexual women?” Audio recorded, semi-structured Skype interviews were used to gather data from 15 eligible participants. Through multiple layers of coding, the ongoing interaction between core factors (environment, other identities and experiences, and how others treated them) and emotional meaning-making (internalization and empowerment) emerged as the core process of identity formation, directly from the narratives of the participants. Census and survey data tell us that biracial youth are the fastest growing group in the U.S. and the largest group within the LGBTQ community identifies under the bisexual umbrella; as such, it is not only integral to include these people in conversations about race and sexuality, but that we challenge the binaries and dichotomies that not only keep bisexual and biracial people invisible, but perpetuate the constructions of race and limiting perceptions of sexuality that keep the status quo of oppression in place for all.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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