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Theses Doctoral

Bible Belt LGBTQ Allies In Their Own Words: An Investigation of Cultural Context

Beveridge, Casey

Multiculturalism encourages psychologists to act as scholar-activists, who consider social justice at the heart of outreach, training, and clinical work. Promotion of social change addressing the ongoing negative effects of heterosexism benefits from unified efforts of the LGBTQ community and their allies. Scholars posit that the psychological detriments of heterosexism are more pronounced in cultures defined by conservative politics and “traditional” values. The “Bible Belt” is region of the United States where these ideals are reinforced by fundamentalist Christianity and woven into the practices of business, education, and daily community interaction. Scholars have examined the emotional and interpersonal experiences of LGBTQ people in the Bible Belt and similar cultural environments. Using consensual qualitative research (CQR), the current study highlights the psychological process of LGBTQ identity development, cognitive processes involved with advocacy work, and the behavioral interventions chosen by straight and cisgender identifying LGBTQ allies to counteract prejudice within the Bible Belt. 12 cisgender women, in various Bible Belt towns, were nominated by LGBTQ identifying individuals from the region, and participated in this study. In-person, semi-structured interviews, were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using CQR methods. The results help define current Bible Belt culture, and provide an illustration of the Bible Belt ally, their developmental process, and how they approach advocacy efforts. Results indicated cultural consistencies across the Bible Belt, including: the pervasive nature of Christianity, “traditional” and conservative values, and social norms dictated by a desire to present the façade of harmony. Within their developmental process, participants highlighted the need to engage in critical thinking. Participants reported partaking in a wide range of advocacy work, with the bulk of their efforts representing relatively subtle and commonplace everyday acts of activism. These daily interventions are presented in categories and illuminated with direct quotes. Recommendations for research, education and training are provided.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Counseling Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Gushue, George V.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 13, 2020