Julie Williams (Committee Chair)
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
LGBQ and Deaf communities have experienced parallel histories of oppression, medicalization, and discrimination that results in poor access to sexual health information and support around sexuality. Moreover, when the two identities intersect the impacts are magnified. Both populations experience vulnerabilities to sexual abuse, and inadequate sexual health information and /or sex education, compared to the majority population. Therefore, there needs to be a better understanding of their experiences with sex education and how mental health services could be helpful, particularly when these identities intersect. The aim and purpose of this study was to explore the interaction between LGBQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Queer) and Deaf community identity. Specifically, to interpret the level of integration of both identities within each perspective community (LGBQ and Deaf) and to investigate sex education related issues in both populations. Three hypotheses were formed which were: there is a lack of inclusive sex education, identification with one community will be more salient than the other, and there is more reported experiences of discrimination within this subpopulation. Sixteen questions were developed with the input of persons within the Deaf community and professionals who work within the Deaf community. A focus group was conducted with three Deaf lesbian women. Results indicated that the women experienced multiple layers of oppression from both the hearing world and heterosexuals. All women identified that deafness was their most salient identity variable. All participants reported a lack of inclusive sex education and a disengagement from the LGBTQ community. Themes reflecting internalized oppression related to sexual orientation were expressed. Further research with this subpopulation is needed to inform the needs of these individuals. Specifically, more focus groups should be conducted with varying races, sexual orientations and ages so that results can be used to develop methods of assessment and/or interventions.
Department or Program
School of Professional Psychology
Year Degree Awarded
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