"This Is Who I Am:" The Lived Experiences of Black Gay Men With an Undergraduate Degree From a Historically Black College or University

by Ford, Obie

Abstract (Summary)
This is a phenomenological study of the lived experiences of four gay Black men with an undergraduate degree from a historically Black college or university (HBCU). The goal of the study was to learn about the individual experiences of these men through self-reflections. Data for the study was collected primarily through an autobiographical sketch that each participant completed and individual interviews that were conducted with each participant. The autobiographical sketches and interviews were transcribed and studied for emerging themes. Eight major themes emerged from this research, which included: deciding to attend an HBCU; coming out at an HBCU; witnessing harassment and homophobia during the college years; being a Black gay male in the Black community; being Black and gay in mainstream society; coping strategies; the significance of attending an HBCU; and summing up the HBCU experience. Each major theme had a series of sub-themes. Disclosing their sexual orientation subjected the research participants to witnessing harassment and homophobia during their college years. All of the participants either witnessed harassment of fraternity members, friends, college authorities, and family members. In the general Black community, the participants identified a number of issues they faced as Black gay men. “Black masculinity” was a phrase that most of the participants used when describing the expectation of Black men in the general Black community. The participants felt that mainstream White society was generally more accepting of homosexuality than the Black community. However, the participants also felt that they were victims of racism in mainstream White communities, both heterosexual and homosexual. The significance of attending an HBCU centered around finding support. All of the research participants identified their friendship circles as their main support system. Each participant also identified his religious and/or spiritual connection as being a support system. Life after an HBCU included each participant feeling that his HBCU indoctrinated him with: desire to give back to the community, passion to seek further education and gainful employment, and pride in being part of the HBCU tradition.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:colleges and universities historically black college students identity development racism homophobia heterosexism african american men males homosexuality gay undergraduate experiences


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.