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Beyond the stereotype of Black homophobia: Exploring the potential of Black allies for lesbian, gay and bisexual students

Kyle Wendell Oldham, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Strides at the federal and state levels are being made to improve the overall climate for gay rights and relationships across the country. However, despite greater acceptance, legislative victories and visibility of gay rights and relationships, homophobia is still widespread in American society (Fone, 2000; Jenkins, Lambert, & Baker, 2009; Schroeder, 2004). No matter the environment, homophobic attitudes permeate all aspects of the US culture, leading to prejudicial attitudes and inequalities that affect everyone in society. Unfortunately, some of these prejudicial attitudes lead to instituting laws that are inherently homophobic (HRC, n.d.). Trends illustrate that more people are coming out at a younger age in society, creating a larger number of 'out' students on college campuses. However, the increase in 'out' students has also led to an increase of prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation more visible on college campuses (Cannick, 2007; D'Augelli & Rose, 1990; Jenkins et al., 2009). ^ Current research indicates Black college students are more likely than other college students to hold negative attitudes toward LGB students. The purpose of this research was to explore and describe perceptions and feelings of Black college students toward LGB students. A qualitative online survey using open and close-ended questions was sent out nationally to a number of college campuses to solicit responses. Major findings include the following: (1) participants have the potential to be allies for and hold positive perceptions of LGB identified students, (2) contact with LGB individuals affects the participants' ability to have more positive perceptions, and (3) participants are receptive to engage in conversations about LGB related issues. ^ Implications of this study suggest collaboration among multicultural offices and other campus constituents for social and academic related programming. In addition, there is a need to provide a space for potential student allies to feel supported and engage in their own self-reflection and learning on how to create community among individuals that hold multiple social identities. ^

Subject Area

African American studies|Black studies|LGBTQ studies|Gender studies|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Oldham, Kyle Wendell, "Beyond the stereotype of Black homophobia: Exploring the potential of Black allies for lesbian, gay and bisexual students" (2012). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3518267.