Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Pamela L Eddy

Committee Member

Fanchon Glover

Committee Member

Margaret E Constantino


Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have historically provided a nurturing academic and social environment for African American students. Yet, a pervading homophobic climate exists on these campuses that adversely affects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or questioning (LGBTQ) students attending. The purpose of this study was to document and explore the experiences of LGBTQ students attending an HBCU. It was designed to provide institutional leaders with information on how to improve their campus environments in becoming more inclusive and responsive to their needs. Documenting student voices helps their campus and community understand the issues they face. This qualitative study included participants who were undergraduate HBCU students who identified as LGBTQ. Feminist/queer methodology provided a way to study how LGBTQ students navigate homophobia on campus as they develop their adult and professional identities. A cross-case analysis of student experience narratives, gained by in-depth interview, allowed for a deeper understanding of this group and their needs. This study produced a new map of participants' developmental journeys at the Black and queer intersection from childhood through college. Participants described campus climates as tolerant but not accepting and found it difficult to be both Black and homosexual in these contexts. This conflict hinders positive identity development, leaving them at-risk. Homophobic discrimination catalyzed internal growth, leading to resilience and reliance on the internal voice. To them, education found on these campuses gives them the knowledge that helps them heal, stand up to homophobia and help others who may be oppressed.



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