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Moments of (in)visibility : the negotiation of disclosure and concealment for queer women in daily life
Negotiation of disclosure and concealment for queer women in daily life
Acio, Breanne C.
Rothblum, Esther D
For sexual minorities, coming-out is not a process that ends once they come out to friends and family. In fact, coming-out is not a process that ends, period. This research challenges previous conceptions of coming-out as a moment-in-time process, and extends the career perspective by offering detailed accounts of disclosure and concealment in routine social interactions. Being ‘out’ to the world is essential to sexual minorities’ mental health, well-being, and overall life-satisfaction. It is also a life-long career of communicating and managing a sexual identity; however, little attention has been given to this communication phenomenon. Because sexual identity is a concealable stigma, queer people regularly experience moments of (in)visibility, or situations in which they are forced to conceal or disclose their identities. This process of negotiation and communicating identity in daily life is a skill that develops over time, with practice. Through a qualitative research design, utilizing interviews and event-based journaling with a sample of 12 queer women, this study explores the processes by which people navigate moments of (in)visibility in their daily lives. My findings illustrate four stages which constitute a moment of (in)visibility trajectory (MIVT), including (a) symbolic awareness, (b) decision trigger, (c) information synthesis, and (d) communicating disclosure or concealment. These stages occur chronologically, and ultimately lead to the visibility or invisibility of a queer identity during social interactions. Practical implications and ideas for future research are discussed.
Professional Studies and Fine Arts
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2016.
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