Disclosing Sexualities, Accessing College, and Financing Higher Education: A Phenomenological Study of Gay and Bisexual Undergraduate Men
Large bodies of literature reveal two salient experiences during adolescence and young adulthood for many men who identify as gay and bisexual: disclosing one’s sexual identity to parents and going to college. Research suggests the reaction of one’s parents to sexual identity disclosure serves as a powerful indicator of subsequent health-related and psychosocial outcomes, yet little is known regarding the relationship between parental reaction and accessing college and financial aid. This study explores the lived experiences of White gay and bisexual young men and how they navigated the college choice and financial aid processes. The study investigates three interconnected constructs with regard to one’s sexual identity disclosure to his parent: the nature of the college choice process; the navigation of financial aid and scholarships; and other experiences that work to facilitate or restrict the college choice and financial aid processes. This qualitative study employs a phenomenological lens to retrospectively gather data using semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 18 gay and bisexual-identified men, ages 18 to 24 years old, from a large U.S. metropolitan area. Participants were selected using online and phone-based social media dating applications, popular in gay and bisexual men’s communities. The findings of this study suggest that prior to disclosure, the young men expressed a perceived fear in coming out to their parents. After disclosure, most participants reported that families were supportive of their sexual identities as well as their college choice process, and all participants went to college with financial aid support from their parents. Due to the limited sample size and specific characteristics of men in this study, future research must be conducted to explore this relationship of sexual identity disclosure and college access further. This study concludes with a set of suggestions and recommendations for parents, counselors, and higher education leaders.
LGBTQ studies|Higher education
Moe, Andrew S, "Disclosing Sexualities, Accessing College, and Financing Higher Education: A Phenomenological Study of Gay and Bisexual Undergraduate Men" (2017). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI10604772.