*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.
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Friday, March 6 • 2:25pm - 3:25pm
'Coming out' as queer: A thematic analysis approach exploring outness as a relevant construct for queer-identified individuals.

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The notion that part of the development of the sexual identities of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people entails a time period during which an individual conceals his or her sexual identity from others has become commonplace in contemporary American society. This idea is typically encapsulated in the metaphor of the closet, as a place where one keeps his or her sexual identity closed off and secret from the rest of the world. Recent psychological research has suggested some benefits of coming out of the closet, or effectively disclosing their non-normative sexual identity to family members, peers, or coworkers. These include increased positivity in self-concept, reduced anxiety from concealing an important piece of identity from important people in their lives, and increased cohesiveness in identity politics. However, for those who identify as queer, the idea of a metaphorical space to shield one’s identity may appear as a deployment of hetero-(or even homo-)normativity. Queer theory questions the universality of the narrative of the healing coming out process, which may gloss over the, at times, catastrophic impact of this event in some peoples’ lives. Through thematic analysis of survey responses, this poster will assess the dominant themes found in the responses of queer-identified persons. We aim to address the meaningfulness and usefulness of this concept for queer individuals and if/how coming out of the closet may strengthen individual well-being.

Friday March 6, 2015 2:25pm - 3:25pm PST