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Lift EVERY Voice and Sing: An Intersectional Qualitative Study Examining the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Faculty and Administrators at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Abstract

While there is minimal literature that address the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans* identified students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the experiences of Black, queer faculty and administrators at HBCUs has not been studied. This intersectional qualitative research study focused on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer identified faculty and administrators who work at HBCUs. By investigating the intersections of religion, race, gender, and sexuality within a predominantly Black institution, this study aims to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at HBCUs by sharing the experiences of the LGBQ faculty and administrators that previously or currently work at an HBCU as a full-time employee. The research questions that guided this study were 1) How have LGBQ faculty and staff negotiated/navigated their careers at HBCUs? and 2) How do LGBQ faculty and staff at HBCUs influence cultural (relating to LGBQ inclusion) change at the organizational level? The main theoretical framework used was intersectionality and it shaped the chosen methodology and methods. The Politics of Respectability was the second theoretical framework used to describe the intra-racial tensions within the Black/African American community. The study included 60-120 minute interviews with 12 participants. Using intersectionality as a guide, the data were coded and utilized for thematic analysis. Then, an ethnodramatic performance engages readers. The goals of this study were to encourage policy changes, promote inclusivity for LGBQ employees at HBCUs, and provide an expansion to the body of literature in the field pertaining to the experiences of LGBQ faculty and administrators in higher education

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This paper was published in ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University.

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