Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Kathy Evans


The purpose of this study was to develop a foundational understanding of how women and ethnic minority men come to espouse a lesbian, gay, or bisexual identity in an effort to develop a coherent theory. While stage models of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identity currently exist, their validity with the female and ethnic minority male populations was called into question. A grounded theory approach was used with participants from the southeastern United States who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Three main patterns emerged: Recognition and Progression of Identity Endorsement; Barriers to Identity Endorsement; and Rejection of Categorical Labels.

The results of this study will add to the current body of knowledge as it relates to sexual identity development and the differential developmental trajectories that women and ethnic minority men take in forming a lesbian, gay or bisexual identity.