On February 13, 2007, students, faculty, and staff learned more about the realities of being LGBT and a person of color. LGBT people of color often experience racism in the LGBT community and homophobia in their respective racial or ethnic communities creating even greater marginalization and isolation. This conundrum leads many LGBT people of color feeling like they must choose one identity over another and perceive that they do not fit in anywhere. This webinar presentation seeks to deconstruct the layers of oppression faced by LGBT people of color through presentation of student interviews, media depictions, reviews of research and campus practices, and personal experiences of presenters and session attendees.
As described by the presenters:
"While significant movement towards social tolerance and acceptance has been made since Stonewall, oppression of gay and lesbian people continues to be pervasive both external and internal to the LGBT community. Considerable literature has been generated exploring the process of identity development (Cass, 1979; Coleman, 1982; Brown, 1995; Fassinger, 1998) as well as the consequences of being a sexual minority in the areas of civil rights, suicidality and mental health, family relations, etc. in the United States (Levine & Evans, 1991; Gonsiorek, 1995; Savin-Williams, 1996). Meanwhile, a less-discussed area of oppression that crosses multiple borders of identity remains relatively unexplored, largely unsupported in the literature and in delivery of student services on college campuses.
The experiences of LGBT people of color are often clumped alongside and perceived as similar, if not almost the same, as those of their White peers (Espin, 1984; Chan, 1995; Dumas, 1998; Holmes, 2001). Consequently, individual and systemic layers of oppression create an environment where LGBT people of color are often forced to choose one identity over another (Espin, 1987; Manalansan, 1996). Individuals may experience intensified heterosexism, homophobia, and racism in personal communities they ought to be able ascribe to and receive support from, resulting in significant levels of dissonance and marginalization (Loiacano, 1989; Morales, 1990; Manalansan, 1994). Central to this quandary are two major contentions. The first relates to Cintron's (2000) contention "that homosexuality in the United States has been defined through the only possible prism, the dominant White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) culture" (p. 299). The second is exemplified by the comments of a Japanese American study participant who noted, "The gay community is just a micro community of the larger society. These [race] prejudices transcend being gay"(Wooden, Kawasaki, & Mayeda, 1983, p.241). Campus support services mirror these trends, typically leaving unexplored the interaction of race and sexual orientation, and remain largely under-developed.
This webinar presentation seeks to deconstruct the layers of oppression faced by LGBT people of color through presentation of student interviews, media depictions, reviews of research and campus practices, and personal experiences of presenters and session attendees."
Presenters: R.J. Holmes, Cornell College; Bernie Liang, Willamette University; Monica Nixon, Seattle University; Kyle Oldham, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Kevin Stensberg, Rutgers University
Last Modified: July 29, 2008