Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (lgbtq) college centers emerged in the early 1970's in response to student, faculty, and staff activism and demands for safe and protective spaces from heterosexism and homophobia. Despite 40 years of practice, however, little research has been conducted about these spaces. Recognizing the importance of lgbtq campus centers and the political and identity struggles within the movement that created them; this dissertation addressed this gap in research knowledge. Specifically, the study aimed to: (1) interrogate the power and influence of the leadership of lgbtq centers (directors and other primary leaders) via the exploration of the ways in which dominance in the form of "homonormative whiteness" is interrupted, disrupted, resisted, and (re)produced discursively and spatially through lgbtq campus-based centers; and (2) examine tensions that arised as directors and programs operationalize social transformation praxis models while maintaining their core purpose of safety and respite from heterosexism and homophobia. To explore these issues, I undertook a modified extended case study of six campus centers. The case study data included in-depth interviews with directors and center leaders, researcher observations, photographs, and hand-drawn maps produced by center leaders. The methodological approach was broadly critical and interpretive: specific analytic strategies included critical discourse analysis (spatial and dialogic). By examining the role of lgbtq center leadership discourse and center space in the (re)production and resistance of homonormative whiteness, this study contributes to several bodies of literature: (1) center development and practice; (2) intersectionality and praxis within student and community centers; and (3) social justice within higher education.
|School||UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON|
|Subjects||Social work; LGBTQ studies; Higher education|
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