Theses Doctoral

A Phenomenological Study: The Experiences of Quare Males Who Attend and/or Attended Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs)

Knight, Chico R.

This two-year phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of five Black gay (Quare) males who attended three different Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the South. This research project sought to gain an understanding of the experiences of five Quare males who attend or attended an HBCU and, contribute to the broader body of research that examines sexual minorities who intersection of identities were race, gender, and sexuality. By using a qualitative research approach to better understand human experiences, perceptions, motivations, intentions, and behaviors of Quare males, the study used Queer of Color theory with tenets from Queer theory and Black feminism to identify literature that addresses the constant shifting of gender, sexual identity, and issues of race. Data was collected through 60-minute semi-structured interviews with researcher reflections for each interview in the following areas: a biographical history, curriculum, and photo/artifact elicitation. Additionally, official school-related documents and materials pertaining to the experiences of the five Quare males, such as information from school websites, student handbooks, and general curricular maps, were used for analysis. Using intersectionality as an analytical tool, the data analyzed was open coded to arrive at deductive codes and then organized the codes to identify salient themes such as maleness, masculinity, hiding in plain sight and trauma.

Results from this study suggests that messages from family, community, and K-12 academic institutions impact the participants’ lived experiences prior to attending college and those messages are reified through formal and informal curricula while attending their HBCUs. Specifically, this study drew attention to the idea that messages about maleness and masculinity have influenced the Quare males’ ideologies around race, gender, and sexuality and, as a result, they have learned to hide in plain sight and navigate heteronormative spaces to gain access and privilege while on their perspective HBCU campuses.

This study significant contributes to the limited research on Quare males at HBCUs, explores how social and academic institutions such family, community/ church and K-12 schools experiences influence their experiences prior to and during their time at HBCUs and offers recommendations to HBCUs such as restructuring curricula and teacher education programs and Quaring Racial Literacy while also suggesting to multiple stakeholders (Families, Church, etc.) ways in which familial and community engagement could meet the needs of an continually marginalized and underserved population.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Curriculum and Teaching
Thesis Advisors
Knight-Manuel, Michelle Georgia
Marquez, Rigorberto
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
October 27, 2021