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Lesbian transformations in dealing with heterosexism Abrams, Eve 1995

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LESBIAN TRANSFORMATIONS IN DEALING WITH HETEROSEXISM by Eve Abrams M.A.,  U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia,  1986  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of C o u n s e l l i n g  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as  Psychology)  conforming  to the r e q u i r e d standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December  1995  EVE JOHANNA ABRAMS,  1995  In  presenting this  degree at the  thesis  University  in partial of  fulfilment  British Columbia,  of  the  requirements  I agree that the  freely available for reference and study. I further agree that  for  an  advanced  Library shall make it  permission for extensive  copying of  this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my  department  or  by  his  or  her  representatives.  It  is  understood  that  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without permission.  Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  copying  or  my written  11  Abstract  Using a grounded theory approach (Strauss explored the s t r a t e g i e s that e i g h t l e s b i a n s heterosexism,  or the b e l i e f  between the ages o f 25 and 40, of t h e i r sexual  orientation  is  and had reached a comfortable  identity.  have become more e f f e c t i v e over time.  In a l l c a s e s ,  the women's appear to  C o l l a b o r a t i o n with  three models of  from the preceding one.  the  "lesbian  t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s i n d e a l i n g with heterosexism," b u i l d s on f e a t u r e s  I  P a r t i c i p a n t s were  ways of responding to and c o u n t e r a c t i n g heterosexism  women enabled me to present  1990),  used i n d e a l i n g with  that a h e t e r o s e x u a l  s u p e r i o r to a homosexual or b i s e x u a l one.  acceptance  & Corbin,  each of which  In a d d i t i o n ,  the  i n f o r m a t i o n o f f e r e d by p a r t i c i p a n t s has i l l u m i n a t e d the nature of heterosexism, factors  its  impact on l e s b i a n s '  that make the experience  different  lives,  and some of  of h e t e r o s e x i s t  for individual lesbians.  Finally,  the  oppression interview  m a t e r i a l helped me to draw i m p l i c a t i o n s with regard to counselling lesbians  and t r a i n i n g  counsellors.  the  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract Table of Contents L i s t of F i g u r e s L i s t of Tables Acknowledgements . .  ii iii vi vii viii  .  CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION  1  Research Questions  3  Important Concepts i n my Research Heterosexism I n t e r n a l i z e d Homophobia Coming Out  4 4 6 6  D e a l i n g with Heterosexism:  Experience of the Researcher  ...  6  CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW  10  Heterosexism: An Overview H i s t o r y of Heterosexism Common Misconceptions about Homosexuality Therapist Attitudes Who Holds the Most H e t e r o s e x i s t Views? Consequences o f Heterosexism F a c t o r s A f f e c t i n g Reaction to Heterosexism Coping with Heterosexism L e s b i a n s ' Ways of Coping  10 12 13 14 15 16 18 19 22  Toward a F e m i n i s t Theory of Coping  23  My Own Research  25  CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY  27  The P a r t i c i p a n t s  27  The Procedure C o n f i d e n t i a l i t y and Consent Time, Space, and Equipment  29 31 32  About the Grounded Theory Method  33  T r u s t w o r t h i n e s s of the Method  34  Data A n a l y s i s  36  Assumptions  39  L i m i t a t i o n s of the Study  42  iv  CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS  43  P a r t I : The E x p e r i e n c e o f Heterosexism  44  D e f i n i t i o n of "Heterosexism"  44  The  Phenomenon of Heterosexism  ••••  46  Heterosexual A t t i t u d e s and Responses Condescension and M i n i m i z a t i o n Overemphasis on Sex Denial Fear  46 47 47 48 48  The  Impact of Heterosexism on R e l a t i o n s h i p s Parental Attitudes L e s b i a n Motherhood Lesbian Relationships R e l a t i o n s h i p s with Men The L e s b i a n Community C u l t u r e Gaps  48 49 49 50 51 52 53  The  Impact of Heterosexism i n the Work World Career Choice . The Work Environment  53 53 54  P s y c h o l o g i c a l Impact o f Heterosexism I n t e r n a l i z e d Homophobia The Energy D r a i n P o s i t i v e E f f e c t s of D e a l i n g with Heterosexism  ••••  55 55 57 58  Causal and P e r p e t u a t i n g C o n d i t i o n s  59  Intervening Conditions  62  P a r t I I : D e a l i n g w i t h Heterosexism  65  Toward a Grounded Theory: Two P r e l i m i n a r y Models Development of Model 1 Development of Model 2  65 66 71  Model 3 and Statement of Grounded Theory  76  Summary o f the Theory S t r a t e g i e s Used i n D e a l i n g with Heterosexism  81 82  Hiding  82  P r e p a r i n g to Come Out  85  V  C o n t i n u i n g Processes Coming Out Seeking Support R e l e a s i n g Emotions I d e n t i f y i n g and Working Through I n t e r n a l i z e d Homophobia  89 89 93 96 99  P r o t e c t i v e Stance Choosing to Ignore P r o t e c t i n g S e l f and/or C h i l d r e n  100 100 102  A c t i v e Stance F i g h t i n g Back "No Room i n my L i f e "  106 106 109  P r o a c t i v e Stance "Take Me or Leave Me" Confronting Educating  112 112 115 119  P a r t I I I : C r e a t i n g a Nonheterosexist  :i Society  B e t t e r E d u c a t i o n of C h i l d r e n Equal Treatment i n the Media F u l l L e g a l Rights P u b l i c Role Models New Family S t r u c t u r e s E x p l o r a t i o n of S e x u a l i t y Greater Numbers of Out L e s b i a n and Gay People "Acceptance Rather than Tolerance" CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION  127 ..  127 128 129 129 129 130 130 131 133  S i g n i f i c a n c e of the Study Theoretical Significance Implications for Counselling  133 133 136  Recommendations  142  f o r Future Research  Summary  144  REFERENCES  146  APPENDICES  151  Appendix A: O r i e n t i n g Statement Interview Guide 1 Interview Guide 2  151 152 153  Appendix B: Recruitment Notice  154  Appendix C: Consent Form  155  vi  L i s t of F i g u r e s  F i g u r e 1.  " H i d i n g " and " P r e p a r i n g t o Come Out"  67  F i g u r e 2 . Model 1: L e s b i a n Transformations i n D e a l i n g with Heterosexism  68  F i g u r e 3 . Model 2: L e s b i a n Transformations i n D e a l i n g with Heterosexism  73  F i g u r e 4.  Model 3: L e s b i a n Transformations i n D e a l i n g with Heterosexism  77  L i s t of T a b l  T a b l e 1. Components of Model 3  Vlll  Acknowledgements  I wish to extend my s i n c e r e collaborators reflections,  thanks to a l l e i g h t p a r t i c i p a n t -  f o r s h a r i n g t h e i r s t o r i e s and g i v i n g t h e i r  time,  and ideas to t h i s study.  Because of them,  this  r e s e a r c h i s a l i v e and heterosexism i s  seen f o r what i t  is:  a  " r e a l world" concern r a t h e r than an i v o r y tower one. I would a l s o l i k e to thank my a d v i s o r , making d e t a i l e d , and r e l i a b l e . committee, and  R i c h a r d Young,  for  h e l p f u l suggestions and f o r being so a c c e s s i b l e  Thanks a l s o to the other members of my a d v i s o r y  Betty C a r t e r and John A l l a n ,  f o r t h e i r time,  input,  encouragement. Finally,  I warmly acknowledge  me i n t h i s p r o j e c t , Colterjohn,  the many people who supported  i n c l u d i n g L i n Moody, C a t h e r i n e Racine, David  Karen C o l t e r J o h n , and Penny L u s z t i g . A l s o ,  thanks to Duncan McLean f o r h i s h e l p with my computer, the P r e s a r i o .  special Priscilla  1  CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION As I near the end of my graduate s t u d i e s , job search with two types of resume,  I prepare f o r my  an " i n " resume and an  "out" resume. The former represents my c l o s e t e d "respectable" work experience counselling;  with such  as ESL t e a c h i n g and c r i s i s  the l a t t e r presents  work h i s t o r y ,  self,  line  an uncensored v e r s i o n of my  i n c l u d i n g two years as a v o l u n t e e r c o u n s e l l o r  at  the Vancouver Gay and L e s b i a n C e n t r e . The  reason I need two resumes i s the same as that which  motivated me to w r i t e t h i s t h e s i s : because heterosexism, belief  that h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y  orientations,  i s s u p e r i o r to other  or the  sexual  i s s t i l l a powerful f o r c e i n s o c i e t y ,  despite  r e c e n t gains i n the area of l e s b i a n and gay r i g h t s . L e s b i a n and gay teens t e l l me i t  i s s t i l l extremely r i s k y — i n  fact,  dangerous—to come out as homosexual i n high s c h o o l . And i n the " a d u l t , " working world,  I know my l i b e r a l ,  academic,  white,  m i d d l e - c l a s s background w i l l not p r o t e c t me from being b a r r e d from jobs i f I i n d i c a t e that I am a l e s b i a n . Because l e s b i a n and gay people are s t i l l punished by society  f o r being who they a r e , almost twice as many go to  therapists  as do heterosexuals  the internalization  of negative  (Hall,  1985).  attitudes  work on "unlearning" these a t t i t u d e s  with  toward them, and must  i n order to  themselves as they a r e . The task e n t a i l s perception,  Many s t r u g g l e  accept  a major s h i f t  in  to the extent where h e t e r o s e x i s t people are seen as  2 having misconceptions, shameful,  but i s  and the s e l f  i s no longer viewed as  i n s t e a d viewed with p r i d e (Cass,  Even when such a s h i f t  1979).  i n perception i s achieved,  a l e s b i a n or gay p e r s o n ' s s t r u g g l e s the c l o s e t has a c o s t a t t a c h e d ,  however,  c o n t i n u e . J u s t as being i n  including fear,  i s o l a t i o n , and  a sense of shame (Browning, 1 9 8 7 ; Kus, 1 9 9 0 ; M a r t i n & H e t r i c k , 1988),  coming out and being v i s i b l e have c o s t s as w e l l :  i d e n t i f y i n g with a group that i s  openly  t y p i c a l l y derogated by  society  means having to f i n d ways to l i v e with i n t e g r i t y i n the face of treatment that ranges from s u b t l e shunning to e x c l u s i o n by law, from v e r b a l "digs" to p h y s i c a l a t t a c k . In  order to help l e s b i a n and gay c l i e n t s ,  themselves  c o u n s e l l o r s must  be thoroughly f a m i l i a r with i s s u e s that a f f e c t  p o p u l a t i o n . At the same time,  this  each p e r s o n ' s s t r u g g l e must be  seen as unique. Sue and Zane ( 1 9 8 5 ) c a u t i o n c o u n s e l l o r s  against  assuming that c l i e n t s w i t h i n the same m i n o r i t y group h o l d the same values and viewpoints as one another, or that they have had  the same e x p e r i e n c e s .  Therapy that takes p l a c e under such  assumptions i s u n l i k e l y to be e f f e c t i v e .  T h e r a p i s t s may  overlook both environmental circumstances and p e r s o n a l i t y differences,  seeing c l i e n t s  as stereotypes  r a t h e r than as an  individuals.  The same dynamic a l s o sometimes happens  between  r e s e a r c h e r s and m i n o r i t y p a r t i c i p a n t s (Herek, Kimmel, Amaro, & Melton, In  1991). r e s e a r c h i n g how l e s b i a n s d e a l t with heterosexism,  expected that the l e s b i a n s  I  I i n t e r v i e w e d would come up with a  3 d i v e r s i t y of approaches and s t r a t e g i e s that r e f l e c t e d  their  unique s e l v e s . However, I a l s o b e l i e v e d there would be aspects of the experience of d e a l i n g with s o c i e t a l be common to most, Therefore,  i f not a l l , the l e s b i a n s  by u s i n g Strauss and C o r b i n ' s  p r e j u d i c e that would i n my sample.  (1990) grounded theory-  method, I undertook to c o n s t r u c t a model of how l e s b i a n s with heterosexism  deal  that would be i n c l u s i v e of many d i f f e r e n t  s t r a t e g i e s and approaches,  yet r e f l e c t  some common themes.  Research Questions The g o a l of my r e s e a r c h was to a r r i v e at a theory, grounded i n p a r t i c i p a n t s ' experiences, with heterosexism.  of how l e s b i a n s  deal  T h i s theory would be presented by means of a  model r e f l e c t i n g the s t r a t e g i e s and approaches the women described.  I t would be enhanced by s e t t i n g  d e r i v e d from d a t a , under which heterosexism The f o l l o w i n g r e s e a r c h questions  forth conditions, is  experienced.  guided my i n v e s t i g a t i o n :  1. What meaning does the term "heterosexism" h o l d f o r lesbians  the  i n my study?  2. What are some shared aspects of the experience  of  heterosexism? 3. What c o n t e x t u a l v a r i a b l e s make the experience heterosexism d i f f e r e n t  for individual  of  lesbians?  4. What s t r a t e g i e s or approaches have p a r t i c i p a n t s used to d e a l with  heterosexism?  5. Do these s t r a t e g i e s or approaches change over time? I f  4 so,  how?  By a s k i n g p a r t i c i p a n t s about i n s t a n c e s they had experienced,  o f heterosexism  and i n c o r p o r a t i n g questions  s i m i l a r t o 1,  4, and 5 above (see Appendix A ) , I b e l i e v e d a p i c t u r e would emerge r e g a r d i n g both the impact o f heterosexism on l e s b i a n s ' lives,  and how they d e a l with t h i s  form o f p r e j u d i c e . T h i s  i n f o r m a t i o n would be r e l e v a n t t o c o u n s e l l i n g i n s e v e r a l ways. First, is,  i t would help c o u n s e l l o r s understand what  heterosexism  and t o r e c o g n i z e both o v e r t and s u b t l e ways i t manifests  itself.  Second, i t would i n c l u d e e f f e c t i v e  strategies for  d e a l i n g with heterosexism that c o u n s e l l o r s c o u l d keep i n mind when working with l e s b i a n c l i e n t s .  And f i n a l l y ,  I hoped the  i n f o r m a t i o n gained from t h i s r e s e a r c h would a s s i s t themselves  t o counter heterosexism,  counsellors  both i n t h e i r surroundings  and i n t h e i r own i n t e r n a l i z e d a t t i t u d e s  toward homosexuals.  Important Concepts i n my Research Heterosexism. Over the past 15 y e a r s ,  the word  "homophobia" has most o f t e n been used t o denote p r e j u d i c e h e l d by heterosexuals  toward homosexuals o r b i s e x u a l s .  The word was  p o p u l a r i z e d by Weinberg (1972), who used i t t o a l l u d e t o both the f e a r f e l t  by heterosexuals  around people they b e l i e v e d t o  be homosexual and the s e l f - h a t r e d f e l t r e s u l t o f the negative a t t i t u d e s Ricketts  by homosexuals as a  toward them. Hudson and  (1980) p o i n t out that t o emphasize mainly the "fear"  aspect o f t h i s phenomenon i s t o overlook the c o g n i t i v e  5  r e a c t i o n s people may have as a r e s u l t of c u l t u r a l , l e g a l views. for  While I f i n d t h i s  attitudes Fyfe's  since  it  responses.  term more a c c u r a t e ,  i t may s t i l l be  l i m i t s the focus to negative  too  attitudes  1984) without t a k i n g i n t o account the o r i g i n of  (Herek,  or  They p r e f e r the term "homonegativity" to account  both c o g n i t i v e and a f f e c t i v e  restrictive,  moral,  these  or t h e i r wide-ranging i m p l i c a t i o n s . S i m i l a r l y with  (1983) term "homosexual b i a s , " the emphasis i s on the  r e c i p i e n t of the p r e j u d i c e r a t h e r than on those who h o l d the prejudice  (Neisen,  So f a r ,  1990).  I have found the term that best d e s c r i b e s  phenomenon i n q u e s t i o n to be "heterosexism." p a r t of the word i d e n t i f i e s  the  The "heterosex-"  the source of the p r e j u d i c e ;  the  "-ism" p a r t a l i g n s heterosexism with other types of i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , such as racism and sexism. A c c o r d i n g to the Oxford denotes a system,  English  Dictionary,  the s u f f i x  e i t h e r of theory or of p r a c t i c e ,  d o c t r i n e or p r i n c i p l e . As such,  "heterosexism"  as w e l l as a  implies a  d o c t r i n e or p r i n c i p l e — a l o n g with r e s u l t a n t a t t i t u d e s b e h a v i o u r — t h a t holds h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y homosexuality societal  (Neisen,  system,  "-ism"  and  to be s u p e r i o r to  1990). T h i s p r i n c i p l e i s embedded i n our  and manifests  itself  i n such i n s t i t u t i o n s  the law, which does not permit l e s b i a n s  and gay men to marry,  organized r e l i g i o n , which seldom allows l e s b i a n s become r e l i g i o u s l e a d e r s ,  as  and gay men to  and sometimes bars them from the  r e l i g i o u s community, and the media, which often  ignores  their  6 e x i s t e n c e or p o r t r a y s only  stereotypes.  I n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia. T h i s term r e f e r s to introjection,  the  by l e s b i a n s and gay men, of s o c i e t y ' s  negative  a t t i t u d e s and assumptions about homosexuality. I do not use  the  term " i n t e r n a l i z e d heterosexism," because I agree with Neisen (1990) that "heterosexism" s i g n i f i e s  power h e l d by one group  over another, and those with no access to t h i s power cannot internalize i t .  Instead,  homosexuals i n t e r n a l i z e shame or  self-  hatred due to heterosexism. Coming o u t .  "Coming out" r e f e r s to a p e r s o n ' s emerging  awareness of same-sex a t t r a c t i o n , and the eventual r e c o g n i t i o n of a l e s b i a n or gay i d e n t i t y . There are commonly thought to be two " l e v e l s " of t h i s p r o c e s s : coming out to o n e s e l f , out to o t h e r s . The f o l l o w i n g i s Cohen and S t e i n ' s  and coming  (1986)  d e s c r i p t i o n of the coming out p r o c e s s : Coming out i n v o l v e s stepping out of the m e t a p h o r i c a l c l o s e t where one's homosexuality has been hidden from others and p o s s i b l y from o n e s e l f . A p a r a l l e l process i s not p o s s i b l e f o r a person who i s h e t e r o s e x u a l simply because there i s not a need to hide h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y i n t h i s s o c i e t y . Thus, i n coming out, the gay man or l e s b i a n o f t e n must disown or r e c l a i m disowned or devalued p a r t s of the s e l f . (p. 32)  D e a l i n g with Heterosexism: Experience of the Researcher I am s t i l l  i n the p r o c e s s ,  myself,  ways of d e a l i n g with heterosexism.  of experimenting with  Although I f e e l proud that I  have had the courage to l i v e as a l e s b i a n , t h i s courage has not always t r a n s l a t e d i t s e l f  i n t o a c t i v e or c r e a t i v e ways of  d e a l i n g with d i s c r i m i n a t i o n .  The " d o n ' t - r o c k - t h e - b o a t " r o l e I  7 have always h e l d i n my f a m i l y has probably prevented me from meeting t h i s  challenge  proactively;  i n a d d i t i o n , s i n c e much of  my young adulthood was spent coping with i l l n e s s  and s u r g e r i e s ,  I mistakenly b e l i e v e d my l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y was not a very important concern. I realize  in retrospect  that I d i d s u f f e r  from the  effects  of i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia, and d i d use what would r i g h t l y be termed "coping s t r a t e g i e s . " The f i r s t k i n d of coping behaviour I engaged i n was s i l e n c e . as an outcast  T h i s prevented me from being  i n high s c h o o l ,  but at the cost of not  a major p a r t of my i d e n t i t y even to my c l o s e f r i e n d s . was twenty,  I wrote a l e t t e r  revealing When I  to a male f r i e n d — t h e only other  person I knew was homosexual—asking meet other l e s b i a n s  treated  f o r advice about how to  without my f a m i l y f i n d i n g o u t .  Perhaps at  h i s prompting, I sought out a l e s b i a n "rap group," which met i n a dark,  shabby room behind a women's bookstore and had a  downtrodden f e e l i n g of a l i e n a t i o n .  to i t that only served to amplify my sense  I t was not u n t i l nine years l a t e r that I j o i n e d  a l e s b i a n community and came to understand the value of developing bonds with other In more recent y e a r s ,  lesbians. I have d i s c o v e r e d many ways of  c o n t r i b u t i n g to r a i s i n g awareness of heterosexism people to overcome i t s volunteers  effects.  and h e l p i n g  I have spoken to c r i s i s  about being a l e s b i a n ,  and have given  line  presentations  on l e s b i a n and gay i s s u e s i n my c o u n s e l l i n g c l a s s e s .  I have  j o i n e d the Gay and L e s b i a n Educators of B . C . , a group t h a t  8  attempts  to educate teachers and c o u n s e l l o r s about gay and  lesbian issues;  I have attended PFLAG (Parents and F r i e n d s of  Lesbians and Gays) meetings,  j o i n e d gay p r i d e parades, and  v o l u n t e e r e d on a gay and l e s b i a n phone l i n e .  I have run coming  out groups and c o u n s e l l e d at the Gay and L e s b i a n C e n t r e ,  where  I o f t e n worked with l e s b i a n s and gay men who were beginning to overcome t h e i r f e a r s — o f t e n while d i s c o v e r i n g t h e i r anger—and assert  t h e i r sexual  Yet,  identity.  I was s t i l l anxious about a reunion of my extended  f a m i l y i n C a l i f o r n i a l a s t June. Nearly a l l my a c t i v i t i e s  i n the  year l e a d i n g up to i t had been l i n k e d to l e s b i a n and gay i s s u e s : my p r a c t i c u m , my coming out groups, my p r o p o s a l f o r this thesis.  For t h i s reason,  was f i r s t meeting someone,  i n a t y p i c a l c o n v e r s a t i o n where I  I was out of the c l o s e t w i t h i n about  three minutes. How would people r e a c t when I t o l d them about the a c t i v i t i e s  I was engaged i n ? Which of them a l r e a d y knew I  was a l e s b i a n ? Would any of them be shocked? H o s t i l e ? Condescending? I was sure I would not want to hide key f a c t s life  f o r the sake of other p e o p l e ' s  about my  comfort. T h e r e f o r e , my  primary concern was the amount of energy I would have to put i n t o d e a l i n g with my own emotions i f I got negative  reactions.  I was s e c o n d a r i l y concerned about " l o s i n g i t " and " b l a s t i n g " someone—possibly  as the r e s u l t of a l i f e t i m e of h o l d i n g i n  rage—and the e f f e c t  t h i s response would have on my  r e l a t i o n s h i p s with my c l o s e r r e l a t i v e s .  In the end, I took a  9 "take me or leave me" stance,  keeping i n mind the  t h a t I might need to confront people about t h e i r In t h i s p a r t i c u l a r case, The p o i n t i s , strategizing  however,  c o n f r o n t a t i o n was  that l e s b i a n s  i n such s i t u a t i o n s  possibility attitudes.  unnecessary.  often spend energy  (as do gay men). A woman i n a  l e s b i a n r e l a t i o n s h i p would probably f i n d t h i s  situation  even  more p r o b l e m a t i c : Should I b r i n g my p a r t n e r ? W i l l she want to attend? I f she does come with me, how should I i n t r o d u c e her? She i s n ' t  j u s t my " f r i e n d " ! What i f people are rude to her?  The more open we are about who we are and what we do, more we w i l l have to contend with questions My own a b i l i t y to d e a l with heterosexism on who I am d e a l i n g w i t h . Someday,  l i k e those above.  i s uneven,  depending  I may f i n d the courage  address a c l a s s of high school students on the t o p i c of and gay i s s u e s if  (and t h e r e f o r e heterosexism),  the  to  lesbian  yet I do not know  I w i l l ever be able to r e p l y calmly and e d i f y i n g l y to a  h u r t f u l remark made by a r e l a t i v e .  For other women, the  might be t r u e . P r e c i s e l y because l e s b i a n s have strengths  i n t h i s regard, I think i t  reverse  different  important f o r us to  share  our experiences, and c o n t r i b u t e the wisdom we have gained to ongoing  struggle.  the  1 0  CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW In t h i s c h a p t e r ,  I w i l l p r o v i d e some background to  problem of heterosexism,  i n c l u d i n g a h i s t o r i c a l overview,  common myths and misunderstandings about therapist attitudes,  homosexuality,  and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of those l i k e l y  h o l d h e t e r o s e x i s t views. the consequences  the  I will  then review the l i t e r a t u r e on  of heterosexism,  homosexual p e r s o n ' s response  to  and the f a c t o r s that a f f e c t  to i t .  Next,  I will  look at  the  l i t e r a t u r e on coping with a s t i g m a t i z e d sexual i d e n t i t y ,  and  the suggestions f o r t h e r a p i s t s  that have been made to  Following t h i s ,  f e m i n i s t ways of  I w i l l discuss  a  date.  conceiving  "coping," and i n t r o d u c e my choice of study design and methodology.  Finally,  I w i l l e x p l a i n the nature of  the  c o n t r i b u t i o n I i n t e n d t h i s study to make.  Heterosexism: An Overview Despite some important s i g n s of improvement i n g e n e r a l attitudes  toward homosexuals  welcoming of l e s b i a n s communities, universities,  i n recent years—such as  and gay men i n t o some r e l i g i o u s  the o f f e r i n g of gay and l e s b i a n s t u d i e s at some and the g r a n t i n g of s u r v i v o r pension f o r p a r t n e r s  i n a few landmark cases—heterosexism  is s t i l l ,  a potent and widespread f o r c e i n s o c i e t y . Dillon,  the  and Haverkamp ( 1 9 9 2 )  unfortunately,  Beran,  Claybaker,  found, i n a study of  toward s i x oppressed groups i n which 3 2 4 p r i m a r i l y  attitudes white,  11 middle c l a s s Americans were randomly s e l e c t e d and p o l l e d , the respondents  that  gave the h i g h e s t l e v e l of support to women,  followed by Jews,  then b l a c k s ,  then a l c o h o l i c s .  R e s u l t s of  this  study showed that support f o r gay people was higher only than support f o r communists—except civil  rights,  communists,  i n o p i n i o n s about access  where 70% approved of p a r e n t a l custody  but only 40%, f o r  for  homosexuals.  Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , s i m i l a r h e t e r o s e x i s t a t t i t u d e s  can be  found among the high school p o p u l a t i o n . In a survey of American secondary school students,  402  64% s a i d they would be  upset or a f r a i d i f people thought they were gay, bisexual.  to  lesbian,  or  Seventeen percent were not sure how they would r e a c t ,  while only 19% s a i d they would not mind. When asked,  "How o f t e n  do you hear a n t i - g a y or a n t i - l e s b i a n remarks made at your high school?" 43% r e p l i e d "often," and 51%, "sometimes," with only 6% r e p l y i n g "never." Although some students expressed o p i n i o n that d i s c r i m i n a t i o n a g a i n s t homosexuals  the  was wrong,  others o f f e r e d such comments as "I hate them" and " . . . keep them out of my s i g h t  and away from me" (Governor's  Commission on Gay and L e s b i a n Youth,  1993,  p.  196).  T h i s i s not to imply that American a t t i t u d e s necessarily  just  less progressive  are  than Canadian ones. The f e d e r a l  government has yet to add a "sexual o r i e n t a t i o n clause"  to  the  Canadian Human Rights A c t . L e s b i a n and gay people are f a r from a t t a i n i n g the r i g h t to l e g a l l y marry i n Canada, and many l a r g e , n a t i o n a l companies s t i l l do not o f f e r  same-sex  benefits.  12  Repeated bomb t h r e a t s made to a Vancouver gay and l e s b i a n bookstore,  i n combination with a r b i t r a r y s e i z u r e by Canada  Customs o f f i c i a l s of m a t e r i a l s being shipped to t h i s same store,  p r o v i d e examples of how homosexuals have been h a r a s s e d .  Melton (1989) d e s c r i b e s the s e l f - p e r p e t u a t i n g nature of heterosexism.  He g i v e s as an example a r u l e that has o n l y very  r e c e n t l y been a b o l i s h e d i n the U . S . and Canada: that of denying gay people the r i g h t to serve i n the m i l i t a r y on the grounds t h a t they would, i n the words of an American Army r e g u l a t i o n , undermine "the a b i l i t y of the armed f o r c e s to m a i n t a i n discipline,  good o r d e r ,  and morale" (p.  939):  . . . because they are barred from s e r v i c e i n the N a t i o n ' s m i l i t a r y , homosexuals become s t i g m a t i z e d as " d e v i a n t s , " and are viewed i n terms of u n d e s i r a b l e s t e r e o t y p e s . T h i s process r e s u l t s i n and r e i n f o r c e s p r e j u d i c e . . . a g a i n s t homosexuals by many h e t e r o s e x u a l people, (p. 935) Thus the c y c l e c o n t i n u e s ,  p a r t i c u l a r l y when i t can be seen t h a t  "even the a u t h o r i t i e s " condone such views. H i s t o r y of Heterosexism These modern a t t i t u d e s have a long h i s t o r y . In s i x t h century Western s o c i e t y ,  homosexuals were thought to be  r e s p o n s i b l e f o r plagues,  famines,  and other n a t u r a l  disasters,  and were hunted down and k i l l e d d u r i n g times of c r i s i s . medieval p e r i o d , witchcraft  In the  same-sex attachments were a s s o c i a t e d with  (Fassinger,  1991).  In C h r i s t i a n i t y ,  gay and l e s b i a n  sexual behaviour has t r a d i t i o n a l l y been seen as a s i n a g a i n s t nature.  In most other r e l i g i o n s , homosexuality i s  proscribed.  also  In p s y c h i a t r y , i t was long seen as a mental  13 illness;  not u n t i l  1973 d i d the American P s y c h i a t r i c  A s s o c i a t i o n remove homosexuality from i t s c a t e g o r i e s o f pathology. An important p r e c u r s o r to t h i s d e c i s i o n was the r e s e a r c h done by Hooker (1957, i n Melton,  1989) that determined that gay  and h e t e r o s e x u a l men c o u l d not be d i s t i n g u i s h e d from each other on the b a s i s o f t h e i r r e s u l t s  on standard p s y c h o l o g i c a l  tests,  and that there was no g r e a t e r degree o f pathology among the gay group than among the heterosexual  group. A l s o i n f l u e n t i a l were  the p u b l i s h e d r e s u l t s o f the Kinsey study i n which same-sex behaviour, thoughts,  people's  and f e e l i n g s were found to be  l o c a t e d anywhere along a heterosexual-to-homosexual  continuum—  r e g a r d l e s s o f whether they claimed to be homosexual, heterosexual,  or bisexual  (McWhirter,  Sanders, & R e i n i s c h ,  1990). Common Misconceptions about Homosexuality Numerous harmful myths about homosexuality s t i l l the p u b l i c arena as w e l l : must be "effeminate" the b e l i e f  for instance,  and l e s b i a n s ,  that homosexuality  pervade  the n o t i o n that gay men  "masculine" (Kus, 1990), o r  i s "unnatural" because  not i n v o l v e r e p r o d u c t i o n . There a l s o e x i s t s a harmful  i t does belief  t h a t gay men w i l l molest c h i l d r e n , as w e l l as a mistaken i d e a that homosexual parents w i l l make t h e i r c h i l d r e n homosexual. In addition,  many s t i l l c o n s i d e r those with a gay or l e s b i a n  o r i e n t a t i o n to be s i n f u l o r mentally d i s t u r b e d (Melton, 1989). Other d e s t r u c t i v e misconceptions  are that l e s b i a n s  and gay  14 men are promiscuous by nature and t h e r e f o r e relationships, (Melton,  that they wish to r e c r u i t and convert  stable  others  1989), that a n e u r o t i c family environment causes  homosexuality, (Goggin,  i n c a p a b l e of  t h a t homosexuality  1993),  can be r e v e r s e d at w i l l  that gay men and l e s b i a n s  o r i e n t a t i o n as a refuge  choose t h e i r  from the opposite  sex,  that they make  poor p a r e n t s ,  and that they are l o n e l y people with nothing  offer  (Griffin,  society  Wirth,  & Wirth,  to  1986).  Perhaps the most damning myth of a l l , however,  is  that  which i s conveyed to homosexual a d o l e s c e n t s : that l e s b i a n and gay teenagers do not e x i s t . When young people show an i n c l i n a t i o n toward a gay or l e s b i a n o r i e n t a t i o n ,  they are  t y p i c a l l y t o l d by a d u l t s that they are simply "going through a phase," an i d e a that the youth themselves sometimes s e i z e on (Savin-Williams, supports t h i s  1990). The t r a d i t i o n a l psychodynamic view  idea,  as when a p s y c h i a t r i s t w r i t e s of "an  a l l o w a b l e homosexuality circumstances, development"  . . . which, under favourable  i s g r a d u a l l y r e p l a c e d by  (Robinson, 1980,  heterosexual  i n S a v i n - W i l l i a m s , p. 207).  a n o t i o n only causes more anxiety  i n adolescents,  who come  t h i n k that anything other than "temporary" homosexuality be u n n a t u r a l , s i n c e  it  i s so o b v i o u s l y not  Such to  must  allowable.  Therapist Attitudes Although headway has been made i n c h a l l e n g i n g h e t e r o s e x i s t attitudes  i n the mental h e a l t h care f i e l d  (Morin & Rothblum,  1991), a American study found that more than 20% of p r a c t i s i n g  15 therapists  still  Tabachnick,  t r e a t homosexuality  & Keith-Spiegel,  recent study,  1987).  as a mental i l l n e s s In another,  even more  only 5% of a sample of 2,544 p s y c h o l o g i s t s  of whom i d e n t i f i e d as heterosexual)  (Pope,  (85%  r e p o r t e d a "gay-  a f f i r m a t i v e " approach to therapy (Garnets, Hancock, Cochran, Goodchilds,  & Peplau,  1991).  Who Holds the Most H e t e r o s e x i s t  Views?  Some r e s e a r c h has been done r e g a r d i n g which people s o c i e t y tend t o h o l d the most h e t e r o s e x i s t a t t i t u d e s .  i n our An  i n v e r s e r e l a t i o n s h i p has been found between s t r o n g l y h e t e r o s e x i s t i n d i v i d u a l s and the degree to which they knowingly i n t e r a c t e d with gay men and l e s b i a n s l i t e r a t u r e survey on a t t i t u d e s  (Staats,  toward l e s b i a n s  Herek (1984) c i t e s the f o l l o w i n g f i n d i n g s : attitudes  toward homosexuals  1978).  and gay men,  people with n e g a t i v e  are l e s s l i k e l y to have engaged  same-sex behaviour themselves (Weis & Dain,  the midwestern and southern United S t a t e s ,  prairies,  and i n s m a l l towns or r u r a l  is  prevalent  the Canadian  areas)—particularly  d u r i n g adolescence (Whitehead & Metzger, 1981), are l i k e l y be o l d e r and to have l e s s formal education  religious  (Larsen, Cate, & Reed, 1983). I n d i v i d u a l s with  h e t e r o s e x i s t viewpoints  and r e a c t i o n s  hold t r a d i t i o n a l attitudes about sex,  to  (Snyder & S p r e i t z e r ,  1976), and are more l i k e l y to embrace a c o n s e r v a t i v e ideology  in  1979), are more  l i k e l y to have l i v e d i n regions where heterosexism (e.g.,  In h i s  are a l s o more l i k e l y  about gender r o l e s ,  to  have more g u i l t  and be more a u t h o r i t a r i a n i n p e r s o n a l i t y  style.  16 Consequences of  Heterosexism  From the standpoint of l e s b i a n s lose,  and gays,  i n c l u d i n g many things that heterosexual  there i s much to people take  for  g r a n t e d . D i s c l o s i n g one's o r i e n t a t i o n can mean d i s r u p t i o n of family r e l a t i o n s h i p s , cut-offs.  ranging from temporary r i f t s  I t can a l s o mean the l o s s of such  complete  heterosexual  p r i v i l e g e s as marriage, c h i l d r e n , custody r i g h t s , kin rights.  to  and  next-of-  I t can j e o p a r d i z e a r e l a t i o n s h i p that one or both  s e t s of parents are h o s t i l e  toward, or refuse  to  acknowledge.  I t can r e s u l t i n being shunned by one's r e l i g i o u s community. can t h r e a t e n one's employment s i t u a t i o n 1989). I t can a l s o l e a d to a decrease  (Ritter & O'Neill,  in physical  Ninety-two percent of gay men and l e s b i a n s  safety.  r e p o r t having been  threatened or v e r b a l l y abused because of t h e i r  homosexuality,  while over one t h i r d have been v i c t i m s of v i o l e n c e reason ( F a s s i n g e r ,  be at l e a s t as a c u t e .  adolescence),  this  although they can  These i n c l u d e l o s s of s e l f - e s t e e m ,  r o l e models with whom to i d e n t i f y and the absence of a p u b l i c l y  r e l a t i o n s h i p (Coleman, 1982; feel  for  1991).  Other l o s s e s are perhaps not as obvious,  of p o s i t i v e  lack  (particularly in  sanctified  Lewis, 1984). Some people  also  that they have l o s t time—often many years of t h e i r  that i s ,  the time i t took them e i t h e r to recognize t h e i r  o r i e n t a t i o n or to gather the courage to d i s c l o s e l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y to  It  life; sexual  t h e i r gay o r  others.  Unlike heterosexuals,  those who are i n the process  of  17 r e a l i z i n g they are gay or l e s b i a n do not have the s e c u r i t y of knowing that t h i s  i d e n t i t y w i l l be v a l i d a t e d or accepted.  E s p e c i a l l y f o r teenagers,  the r e a l i z a t i o n can be d e v a s t a t i n g :  while the l i v e s of t h e i r f r i e n d s c e n t r e on the excitement g e t t i n g to know members of the o p p o s i t e sex, completely i s o l a t e d .  Moreover,  they  feel  l e s b i a n s and gays do not u s u a l l y  have homosexual p a r e n t s , r e l a t i v e s ,  or f r i e n d s to help them  a n t i c i p a t e the hardships they w i l l meet i n the process  of  socialization  (Kus, 1990). T h e r e f o r e , the common taunts of "dyke,"  "lezzie,"  " f a i r y , " or "faggot," when aimed at those coming of  age i n t h i s c o n t e x t ,  can be p a r t i c u l a r l y damaging. In a d d i t i o n ,  the f e a r of parents d i s c o v e r i n g one's s e c r e t  can cause profound  s e l f - d o u b t and a n x i e t y : I t i s one t h i n g to r e b e l a g a i n s t p a r e n t a l v a l u e s — t h a t i s understood and accepted to some degree i n our c u l t u r e — b u t what the young l e s b i a n a n t i c i p a t e s or f e a r s . . . i s p a r e n t a l r e j e c t i o n of her personhood and the subsequent d e s t r u c t i o n of her r e l a t i o n s h i p with them. (Browning, 1987, p . 48) Browning's statement  i l l u m i n a t e s the reason homosexuals  o f t e n r e a c t with shock or d e n i a l when they begin to d i s c o v e r t h e i r sexual o r i e n t a t i o n . The. r e a l i z a t i o n that they  risk  f o r e g o i n g the acceptance and approval of others due to attitudes  negative  toward them o f t e n leads to shame and s e l f - h a t r e d .  Neisen (1993) r e f e r s to heterosexism as  "cultural  v i c t i m i z a t i o n , " and p o i n t s out that those s u f f e r i n g from show some of the same e f f e c t s as v i c t i m s of sexual abuse: blame, shame,  s e l f - d i r e c t e d anger, and h e l p l e s s n e s s .  t h i s can l e a d to substance abuse,  depression,  it self-  For youth,  dropping out of  18 school,  and c o n f l i c t e d r e l a t i o n s h i p s with f a m i l y and f r i e n d s .  Many teenage male p r o s t i t u t e s  are gay youth who have been  e x p e l l e d from t h e i r homes ( H e t r i c k & M a r t i n , 50% of l e s b i a n and gay youth experience suicide ideation  1987). More than  severe d e p r e s s i o n with  (Gibson, 1994).  F a c t o r s A f f e c t i n g Reaction to Heterosexism The -degree to which l e s b i a n s  and gay men are a f f e c t e d  heterosexism depends on many f a c t o r s . geographic l o c a t i o n , a l l be f a c t o r s  social class,  (Shidlo,  On the s o c i e t a l  level,  and e t h n i c background may  1994). On the f a m i l i a l l e v e l ,  the  degree of heterosexism adhered to by parents and other f a m i l y members has been seen to make a d i f f e r e n c e 1983), and on the i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l , defensive  strategies affect  by  close  (Nungesser,  p a r t i c u l a r needs and  each person d i f f e r e n t l y  (Malyon,  1982). Other i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a b l e s that have been c i t e d are p e r s o n a l i t y type,  age at f i r s t awareness  of d i f f e r e n c e ,  overall  psychological health,  r e l i g i o u s u p b r i n g i n g , and negative  traumatic experiences  i n v o l v i n g sexual o r i e n t a t i o n (Hanley-  Hackenbruck, Paul negative  or  1988b).  (1984) suggests that men tend to have more i n t e n s e f e e l i n g s about being homosexual than do women, p a r t l y  because of the harsher p r o s c r i p t i o n a g a i n s t  "nonmasculine"  behaviour i n men than "nonfeminine" behaviour i n women i n western s o c i e t y ,  and p a r t l y because men tend not to have  networks of s u p p o r t i v e f r i e n d s i n the way women do. However, R i d d l e and Sang (1978) contend that  sex-role  19 s t e r e o t y p i n g has a strong negative impact on l e s b i a n s . Women have tended to d e f i n e others.  themselves i n terms of acceptance  T h i s can make growing up more p a i n f u l  feels herself  to be d i f f e r e n t  Moreover, women are often sexual  feelings in general;  f o r a g i r l who  because of a l e s b i a n  s o c i a l i z e d to f e e l  by  orientation.  guilty  about  they may t h e r e f o r e h e s i t a t e  explore an " a l t e r n a t i v e " s e x u a l i t y  f o r f e a r of being  to  labelled  promiscuous or d e l i n q u e n t . Coping with  Heterosexism  Much of the psychotherapy l i t e r a t u r e on l e s b i a n and gay themes i s about "coping with a s t i g m a t i z e d sexual though i t were the i d e n t i t y  itself  For youth, who  u s u a l l y d i s c o v e r t h e i r l e s b i a n or gay i d e n t i t y  denial,  (as  that were the problem), and  tends to focus on negative coping s t r a t e g i e s .  with no knowledge of p o s i t i v e  identity"  r o l e models,  i n i s o l a t i o n and  s t r a t e g i e s such as  withdrawal, i d e n t i f y i n g with the oppressor group, and  a t t a c k i n g members of one's own group may seem to be the only ones a v a i l a b l e what he c a l l s  (Martin & H e t r i c k ,  1988). T r o i d e n (1989)  "stigma evasion t e c h n i q u e s , "  are examples of negative coping as w e l l .  details  almost a l l of which  Among these are  " r e p a i r , " or out and out attempts to e l i m i n a t e  same-sex  f e e l i n g s and behaviour, avoidance or d e n i a l ,  and escape through  drugs and a l c o h o l . He c a l l s  (the only  one)  "acceptance."  societal  another s t r a t e g y  He does not attempt to s p e c u l a t e  or i n d i v i d u a l f a c t o r s might predispose  positive  on which  a person  to  choose which s t r a t e g i e s ; nor does he attempt to d i s t i n g u i s h  the  20  male experience  from the female one,  quite different  (de Monteflores & S c h u l t z ,  1991;  Rich,  even though these are 1978;  1980).  Cain (1991) r e p o r t s on i n t e r v i e w s  with 38 gay men  r e g a r d i n g why they do or do not d i s c l o s e Here, more p o s i t i v e  s t r a t e g i e s emerge,  t h e i r sexual  such as the  of one's gayness i n order to t r y to change the attitudes  or to make o n e s e l f  model f o r gay people who are s t i l l  identity.  revelation  heterosexist  of c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l s , to c o n t r i b u t e to  change through e d u c a t i o n ,  identity.  Fassinger,  social  a visible  role  s t r u g g l i n g with t h e i r  Nondisclosure appears i n some cases to be an a c t i v e  r a t h e r than p a s s i v e  coping s t r a t e g y ,  such as when the c o s t of  r e v e l a t i o n i s a p p r a i s e d as too g r e a t ,  or when one chooses  c l a i m the same r i g h t to p r i v a c y about sexual o r i e n t a t i o n h e t e r o s e x u a l s have.  In an a r t i c l e on gay men and the  of "passing" as h e t e r o s e x u a l , passing may be necessary  to that  practice  Berger (1992) concedes  that  f o r r e c e i v i n g even a minimal degree of  support i n an environment where h e t e r o s e x i s t a t t i t u d e s deeply  sexual  are  entrenched.  Cass (1979) d e s c r i b e s  the process  of r e a c h i n g  acceptance  of a l e s b i a n or gay i d e n t i t y as that of becoming aware of oneself  as an acceptable  human being d e s p i t e  r e j e c t i o n of homosexuality. describes  society's  Hanley-Hackenbruck (1988b)  this c r u c i a l perception  switch:  G r a d u a l l y , one r e a l i z e s that the myths, s t e r e o t y p e s , and negative a t t i t u d e s toward homosexuality are what do not make sense r a t h e r than the f e e l i n g s , experiences, and the s e x u a l i t y i t s e l f : "Yes, I am a good, healthy person  21 and I am a homosexual."  (p.  30)  Accompanying t h i s r e a l i z a t i o n are the tasks of d e f i n i n g new values  and standards c o n t r a r y to one's u p b r i n g i n g and  developing a new s o c i a l as w e l l as sexual Hackenbruck, Sophie  (Hanley-  1988a).  (1986) notes, however,  p o i n t . F o r example,  that not a l l women reach  this  some simply r e f r a i n from i d e n t i f y i n g  themselves as l e s b i a n s  even though they have female  The i s s u e of heterosexism l a b e l that could e l i c i t the l a b e l ,  identity  i s here sidestepped  partners.  by d e c l i n i n g a  d e r i s i o n . Even f o r people who accept  c o n s i d e r a b l e compromises are commonly made when much  i s at s t a k e .  Brown (1988) d i s c u s s e s ways i n which l e s b i a n s  gays sometimes d e a l with t h e i r f a m i l i e s  and  of o r i g i n , so as not  to  be cut o f f by family members. These i n c l u d e m a i n t a i n i n g geographic and emotional d i s t a n c e ,  or adhering to an unspoken  agreement not to t a l k about t h e i r p e r s o n a l l i v e s . situation,  a l e s b i a n or gay man's p a r t n e r i s  euphemistically  In the  latter  often  r e f e r r e d to as a " f r i e n d " or "roommate." In  another common s c e n a r i o ,  a gay man or l e s b i a n has come out  one parent or s i b l i n g who i s s u p p o r t i v e ,  but with  to  the  understanding that some other family member i s not to be t o l d . The l e s b i a n or gay person may then be seen as the "cause" of strife  a r i s i n g from f a m i l y s e c r e t s .  L e s b i a n s ' Ways of Coping In an a r t i c l e that d i s c u s s e s l e s b i a n s '  ways of  " i n t e g r a t i n g a s t a b l e i d e n t i t y , " Lewis (1984) d i s c u s s e s  the  22  importance of r e l a t i o n s h i p s and community to e s p e c i a l l y when they f i r s t come o u t . gay men, l e s b i a n s  lesbians,  Perhaps more o f t e n than  tend to form a l t e r n a t i v e f a m i l i e s s i n c e ,  women, a f e e l i n g of r e l a t e d n e s s  as  i s c r u c i a l — a n d i n cases where  l e s b i a n s have been r e j e c t e d f o r t h e i r s e x u a l i t y ,  these c l o s e  f r i e n d s h i p s can form a b u f f e r a g a i n s t the r e s u l t i n g p a i n and isolation.  Some women, d e f i n i n g themselves  as  separatists,  choose to l i v e i n a l l - f e m a l e communities. T h i s way, they can g a i n a sense of freedom and independence. They can a l s o strengths  develop  and s k i l l s t r a d i t i o n a l l y thought to belong to men,  and thus f e e l empowered. Sophie (1987) suggests a number of techniques that can be used by t h e r a p i s t s to help l e s b i a n s cope with f e e l i n g s  of shame  and f e a r due to i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia. Among these a r e : " c o g n i t i v e r e s t r u c t u r i n g , " c o n s i s t i n g of c h a l l e n g i n g the negative clients  stereotypes  of l e s b i a n s  that c l i e n t s may h o l d ; h e l p i n g  to f i n d p o s i t i v e r o l e models; encouraging c l i e n t s  postpone g i v i n g themselves exploration process,  a sexual l a b e l d u r i n g t h e i r  e s p e c i a l l y while the term " l e s b i a n " s t i l l  has negative connotations f o r them; g i v i n g c l i e n t s self-disclosure  to  practice in  v i a such techniques as r o l e play and "empty  c h a i r " ; suggesting images of l e s b i a n s ;  r e a d i n g m a t e r i a l s that c o n t a i n v a l i d a t i n g and encouraging c l i e n t s  v a l i d a t i o n w i t h i n the l e s b i a n community.  to seek support and  23 Toward a F e m i n i s t Theory of Coping In an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d  Can women cope?,  Banyard and Graham-  Bermann (1993) express a need f o r new ways of  conceptualizing  c o p i n g . The authors p o i n t out that the a b i l i t y to cope i s simply due to such v a r i a b l e s as the k i n d of s t r e s s o r  involved,  or how a c c u r a t e l y one appraises one's coping e f f i c a c y & Folkman,  not  (Lazarus  1984), but a l s o to a number of f a c t o r s beyond an  i n d i v i d u a l ' s c o n t r o l , such as whether one has power i n a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l c o n t e x t . According to mainstream coping theories,  c e r t a i n types of c o p i n g ,  such as "avoidance c o p i n g , "  are considered maladaptive no matter what the s i t u a t i o n , others,  such as c o l l e c t i v e  are not d i s c u s s e d  coping to g a i n group empowerment,  at a l l .  Smith (1990) r e f l e c t s become d i v o r c e d from i t s to d a t a .  on how theory i n g e n e r a l tends  S o - c a l l e d " o b j e c t i v i t y " a c t s as a mask that  However,  context shaped by s o c i a l forces and sexual o r i e n t a t i o n "  variables  "coping occurs i n a  based on gender,  race,  (Banyard & Graham-Bermann,  and measuring the impact of these f o r c e s  i s beyond the power of any  obscures  as long as c e r t a i n of i t s  are measured q u a n t i t a t i v e l y .  311),  rise  Hence a term l i k e "coping" may come  to seem l i k e a known e n t i t y  p.  to  o r i g i n : the r e a l events that g i v e  what a c t u a l l y takes p l a c e .  age,  while  class, 1993,  on a person  scale.  F e m i n i s t theory dispenses with the n o t i o n of  objective  t r u t h a r r i v e d at through o b s e r v a t i o n or i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , and i n s t e a d places  emphasis on e m p i r i c a l knowledge  ( A l l e n & Baber,  24 1992;  Landrine,  Stewart,  1986;  K l o n o f f , & B r o w n - C o l l i n s , 1992;  Oakley, 1981). What t h i s means i n p r a c t i c a l  terms f o r r e s e a r c h i s subjective Reinharz,  Lykes &  that much weight i s given to  r e a l i t y of the p a r t i c i p a n t s  the  (Hunnisett,  1986;  1992), o f t e n by e l i c i t i n g t h e i r s t o r i e s and i n c l u d i n g  verbatim segments of these i n the f i n a l t e x t of the study. effect,  In  the m a t e r i a l d e r i v e d from the p a r t i c i p a n t s is the d a t a ,  and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n by the r e s e a r c h e r i s minimal. Moreover, the p a r t i c i p a n t s are i n c l u d e d i n the p r o j e c t as c o l l a b o r a t o r s ; are c o n s u l t e d about any p a t t e r n s ,  schemas,  or  a r r i v e d a t by the i n i t i a t o r o f the r e s e a r c h .  they  conclusions In i n s t a n c e s where  the r e s e a r c h e r has paraphrased or i n t e r p r e t e d t h e i r  speech,  they are asked f o r v e r i f i c a t i o n . One study that r e f l e c t s  this  approach was  recently  conducted by Morrow and Smith (1995), who interviewed 11 s u r v i v o r s of c h i l d h o o d sexual abuse. in-depth interviews, checking,  The study was comprised of  a 10-week focus group, subsequent  and c o l l a b o r a t i v e a n a l y s i s ,  member  along with the use of  documentation d e r i v e d from the l i t e r a t u r e i n the a r e a . The s t a r t i n g p o i n t f o r the i n v e s t i g a t i o n definitions  was the p a r t i c i p a n t s ' own  of s u r v i v a l and c o p i n g . Then,  open-ended questions  i n answering j u s t  ( " T e l l me, as much as you f e e l  two  comfortable  s h a r i n g with me r i g h t now, what happened to you when you were sexually  abused," and "What are the primary ways i n which you  survived?"), stories,  the women r e l a t e d t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s .  From the  a t h e o r e t i c a l model of coping with c h i l d h o o d sexual  25 abuse was developed, grounded  based on Strauss and C o r b i n ' s (1990)  theory, framework. Included i n the model were  f o r m u l a t i o n s of c o n t e x t ,  intervening conditions  choice of coping s t r a t e g y ,  that  affected  the s t r a t e g i e s themselves,  and the  consequences of employing them.  My Own Research My study i s  somewhat s i m i l a r to the one j u s t  described,  though l i m i t s on time d i c t a t e d a s m a l l e r sample s i z e and omission of an ongoing focus group. However, a one-time group was used f o r g e t t i n g  p a r t i c i p a n t v a l i d a t i o n . L i k e Morrow  and Smith (1995), I used Strauss and C o r b i n ' s  (1990) grounded  theory approach, i n which a theory i s a r r i v e d at from the data on the phenomenon s t u d i e d .  the s u b j e c t i v e  realities  and makes them the p r i m e — i n f a c t ,  inductively  The grounded theory  method seemed p a r t i c u l a r l y s u i t e d to a f e m i n i s t that i t values  focus  framework,  in  of the p a r t i c i p a n t s ,  the only—source of  knowledge. I intended t h i s theoretical  r e s e a r c h to move beyond the k i n d of  a r t i c l e o f f e r e d by Lewis (1984) or Sophie (1987),  toward p r a c t i c a l knowledge gleaned f i r s t h a n d from those d e s i r i n g to share i t . suggestions,  While Lewis and Sophie both make u s e f u l  t h e i r focus  i s on how women can be helped  become more comfortable with themselves as l e s b i a n s . by c o n t r a s t , heterosexism,  was designed to focus on the s o c i e t a l  to  My study,  problem of  and to provide f i r s t h a n d accounts of how  lesbians  26 experience t h i s problem. Moreover, because  I planned to  i n t e r v i e w l e s b i a n s who were comfortable with t h e i r sexual orientation,  I hoped to gather e f f e c t i v e  strategies  and  approaches from women who had used them. T h i s study was intended to f i l l  a gap i n the sparse l i t e r a t u r e on the dynamics  of heterosexism and how c o u n s e l l o r s can help l e s b i a n s d e a l with t h i s s o c i e t a l problem and i t s  e f f e c t s on t h e i r  lives.  I do not i n t e n d f o r the theory developed from t h i s to i l l u m i n a t e , n e c e s s a r i l y , with heterosexism,  study  the ways i n which gay males d e a l  though there are l i k e l y some commonalities.  Rich (1980) observes  that the s i m i l a r i t i e s between l e s b i a n s and  gay men must be seen a g a i n s t the d i f f e r e n c e s ,  such as degree of  economic and c u l t u r a l p r i v i l e g e , and kinds of  relationships  cultivated.  The r e l a t i o n s h i p between gender and d e a l i n g with  heterosexism remains to be e x p l o r e d .  27 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY I interviewed eight lesbians  i n order to c o n s t r u c t an  e x p l a n a t i o n of how l e s b i a n s d e a l with h e t e r o s e x i s t and behaviours, i n c l u d i n g both s p e c i f i c situations.  i n c i d e n t s and ongoing  I used a way of i n v e s t i g a t i n g t h e i r  that I b e l i e v e d would both recognize t h e i r subjective r e a l i t i e s  attitudes  experiences  individual,  and y i e l d a theory that r e f l e c t e d some of  the shared aspects of t h e i r approaches.  The P a r t i c i p a n t s Interviews were conducted with e i g h t l e s b i a n s between the ages of 25 and 40. Because I was p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t e d  in  d i s c o v e r i n g what stances or approaches the women found most effective,  I s t i p u l a t e d i n my r e c r u i t m e n t n o t i c e  (Appendix B)  that I was seeking "lesbians who have reached a comfortable acceptance of t h e i r sexual  identity."  With such a s m a l l sample, d i v e r s i t y i n s o c i o c u l t u r a l f a c t o r s was not p a r t i c u l a r l y a g o a l . However, p a r t i c i p a n t s were,  i n the end, q u i t e v a r i e d i n terms of age  sample l i m i t s ) , experience.  ( w i t h i n the  o c c u p a t i o n , worldview, and kinds of  Two of the l e s b i a n s  life  i n t e r v i e w e d were mothers. Of  these, one l i v e d with a p a r t n e r and was a c o - p a r e n t ; the other a l s o had a p a r t n e r , but assumed most of the p a r e n t i n g responsibility herself.  Seven of the women were Caucasian and  one was apparently a n a t i v e Canadian who had been r a i s e d i n a  28  Caucasian f a m i l y . P a r t i c i p a n t s f o r the study were found by two methods: a d v e r t i s i n g and "snowballing." Advertisements were p l a c e d i n two Vancouver-based gay and l e s b i a n t a b l o i d s ,  and r e c r u i t m e n t  n o t i c e s were p l a c e d i n l e s b i a n and gay community restaurants, estimated  and bookstores  centres,  (Appendix B ) . In these n o t i c e s ,  the time commitment to be about two hours,  between two meetings.  research.  but an o p p o r t u n i t y f o r c o -  I added that i n s i g h t  p e r s o n a l development or p e r s o n a l strengths gained i n the p r o c e s s ,  divided  I a l s o made i t c l e a r that t h i s would not  be a c o u n s e l l i n g s i t u a t i o n , investigative  I  i n t o one's own  might p o s s i b l y  be  as w e l l as the reward of c o n t r i b u t i n g to  knowledge about the way l e s b i a n s  d e a l with heterosexism.  of the p a r t i c i p a n t s came forward a f t e r  seeing an  Three  advertisement.  "Snowballing" was achieved by asking l e s b i a n and gay f r i e n d s and acquaintances study's  i f they knew of l e s b i a n s  c r i t e r i a and who might be w i l l i n g to be  who f i t my  interviewed.  The women then telephoned me, o f f e r i n g to be i n t e r v i e w e d . Two of the p a r t i c i p a n t s were found i n t h i s  way.  The remaining three p a r t i c i p a n t s were found when, with them i n f o r m a l l y on separate  occasions,  chatting  they asked what my  t h e s i s was about. When I t o l d them, they v o l u n t e e r e d  to  participate. Once a woman expressed  interest  i n my study,  with her b r i e f l y the s u b j e c t of the study, conduct i t ,  and what k i n d of help I needed.  I confirmed  why I wished I f she  then  to  29 expressed a w i l l i n g n e s s  to p a r t i c i p a t e ,  I determined whether  she: (a) was 25-40 years of  age  (b) had reached a comfortable acceptance of her l e s b i a n identity  ( f o r example, was g e n e r a l l y  associated  with other l e s b i a n s ,  "out,"  and so on)  (c) was able and w i l l i n g to share with me the she used i n d e a l i n g with negative individual attitudes (d) c o u l d make the  toward  (roughly)  two separate meetings,  societal  strategies or  lesbians  2-hour time commitment,  in  that the study r e q u i r e d .  When the woman responded a f f i r m a t i v e l y to a l l of the above, and I proceeded to make arrangements f o r our f i r s t  she  meeting,  which was then h e l d at a mutually agreed upon time and p l a c e . The Procedure In order to uncover the experiences I used a s e m i - s t r u c t u r e d i n t e r v i e w guide the interviewee  had signed the consent  began the i n t e r v i e w .  of study p a r t i c i p a n t s , (Appendix A ) . A f t e r  form (Appendix C ) , I  Care was taken to repeat the same  procedure with each p a r t i c i p a n t , though n a t u r a l l y , v a r i e d depending on the content  that emerged. F i r s t  questions interviews  g e n e r a l l y l a s t e d about one hour. They were audiotape r e c o r d e d , and l a t e r t r a n s c r i b e d v e r b a t i m . F o l l o w i n g each i n t e r v i e w , took notes r e g a r d i n g p o s s i b l e m o d i f i c a t i o n s to the guide.  interview  I a l s o recorded my impressions of the i n t e r v i e w ,  made s e l f - e v a l u a t i v e  I  and  notes r e g a r d i n g my i n t e r v i e w i n g s t y l e and  30  technique. The f i r s t  i n t e r v i e w q u e s t i o n attempted to e l i c i t  the  p a r t i c i p a n t ' s understanding of the term "heterosexism."  This  q u e s t i o n was asked p a r t l y to d i s c o v e r whether my own usage of the word was congruent with the p a r t i c i p a n t ' s p e r c e p t i o n of meaning, and p a r t l y to c o n s t r u c t a d e f i n i t i o n from the responses. instances  The second q u e s t i o n  ("Could you t e l l me about any  was designed to be g e n e r a l .  ask about heterosexism  or motherhood, because  i n any p a r t i c u l a r area of l i f e ,  I felt  in  I d i d not t y p i c a l l y  r e l a t i o n s h i p s with f r i e n d s and family members,  freely  women's  of heterosexism you p e r s o n a l l y have experienced  your l i f e ? " )  job  that interviewees  such as  situations,  would t a l k more  i f given "space" w i t h i n which to f i n d t h e i r own focus  concern. Other questions were meant to e l i c i t  whether they f e l t  changed over time, o v e r a l l p i c t u r e of  their  t h e i r approaches or a t t i t u d e s  and how t h e i r stances f i t themselves.  i n t e r v i e w questions  sampling,"  had  i n with t h e i r  Normally, when u s i n g the grounded theory method,  (Strauss & C o r b i n ,  of  participants'  o p i n i o n s r e g a r d i n g the comparative e f f e c t i v e n e s s of strategies,  its  evolve with the f i r s t 1990).  several  In a process c a l l e d  the  interviews  "theoretical  themes appearing r e p e a t e d l y are i n c l u d e d v i a  a d d i t i o n a l questions,  while questions  that do not appear to  y i e l d much i n f o r m a t i o n are dropped. In my study, found i t unnecessary  to make c o n t i n u a l changes  however,  to the  I  interview  g u i d e . A f t e r modifying one q u e s t i o n s l i g h t l y and adding one  31 q u e s t i o n f o l l o w i n g the f i r s t i n t e r v i e w (see Interview Guides 1 and 2),  Appendix A,  I found the second v e r s i o n of  the  guide adequate f o r e l i c i t i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n I needed. In order to check the women's p e r c e p t i o n s of the theory I was f o r m u l a t i n g , a second i n t e r v i e w took p l a c e a f t e r a l l of first  the  i n t e r v i e w s and r e s u l t i n g analyses were completed.  P a r t i c i p a n t s were o f f e r e d a choice of j o i n i n g a focus group designed f o r t h i s purpose, or being i n t e r v i e w e d once more individually. interest  Although almost a l l of the women expressed  i n the focus group, we were not able to c o o r d i n a t e a l l  of our schedules.  T h e r e f o r e , the focus group c o n s i s t e d of  p a r t i c i p a n t s and myself, individually after).  five  and the remaining three were c o n s u l t e d  (one before the focus group, and the other two,  Due to l o g i s t i c a l d i f f i c u l t i e s ,  these s e s s i o n s were not  audiotaped. On seeing p a r t i c i p a n t s a second time,  I showed them  the model I had d e r i v e d from t h e i r data and asked f o r t h e i r opinions,  along with amendments or v a l i d a t i o n of i t s  various  parts. C o n f i d e n t i a l i t y and consent. d u p l i c a t e consent  Each p a r t i c i p a n t was g i v e n a  form s t a t i n g c l e a r l y the g e n e r a l purpose of  the study and the time commitment i n v o l v e d . P a r t i c i p a n t s were reminded that they c o u l d terminate at any p o i n t . They were informed t h a t ,  although the i n t e r v i e w would be taped, the  would be erased upon completion of my a n a l y s i s .  also tape  The women were  f u r t h e r assured that t h e i r names would not be used i n t r a n s c r i p t s unless they wished to use t h e i r r e a l f i r s t  names.  32  Some of the women chose to do so. children,  I n i t i a l s of p a r t n e r s ,  and so on have been changed. Other i d e n t i f i e r s ,  as p l a c e names or groups the p a r t i c i p a n t s belonged t o ,  such  were  changed o r removed except where p a r t i c i p a n t s gave me p e r m i s s i o n to i n c l u d e them. Time,  space,  and equipment. For i n t e r v i e w s ,  I used a s m a l l  tape r e c o r d e r with two microphones. In each case,  I asked the  p a r t i c i p a n t where she would l i k e to be i n t e r v i e w e d . Three o f f e r e d to come to my home; the remaining f i v e were  interviewed  i n t h e i r homes. The focus group s e s s i o n was conducted i n a room at the Vancouver Gay and L e s b i a n C e n t r e . Two of the  individual  c o n f i r m a t i o n s e s s i o n s were conducted i n p a r t i c i p a n t s '  homes,  and a t h i r d took p l a c e i n my home. Although the time of involvement i n the study was estimated at two hours on the r e c r u i t m e n t n o t i c e s ,  actual  involvement was c l o s e r to three or t h r e e - a n d - a - h a l f :  the  c o n f i r m a t i o n s e s s i o n s , which I had estimated at one hour, 90 minutes—even individually.  took  i n cases where I met with p a r t i c i p a n t s  Moreover, s i x of the e i g h t p a r t i c i p a n t s  also  chose to l e a r n how the i n f o r m a t i o n they had given me would appear i n the t h e s i s manuscript. These women each approximately h a l f  spent  an hour with me on the telephone while I  read the segments i n which I had r e f e r r e d to them or quoted them, and made changes where requested to do so. do the same with the remaining two people; declined.)  (I o f f e r e d  however,  they  to  33 I had thought t h a t ,  d u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w i n g p r o c e s s ,  women who were comfortable with t h e i r sexual uncover ambivalence i n t h e i r own a t t i t u d e s , r e f l e c t i n g on my q u e s t i o n s .  If a participant  c o n f u s i o n or strong emotions seemed necessary,  identity  even  might  as a r e s u l t  of  experienced  to a degree where  counselling  I had planned to p r o v i d e her with at  least  three r e f e r r a l s to experienced c o u n s e l l o r s who were knowledgeable  about s e x u a l i t y  r e f e r r a l s were not  i s s u e s . As i t  turned out,  such  necessary.  About the Grounded Theory Method In Strauss and C o r b i n ' s data i s  "discovered,  through systematic p e r t a i n i n g to then,  (1990) grounded  developed,  theory method,  and p r o v i s i o n a l l y v e r i f i e d  data c o l l e c t i o n and a n a l y s i s of data  [a given] phenomenon" (p.  23).  The emphasis,  i s p l a c e d more on generating a theory r a t h e r than on  verifying  it.  T h i s theory i s c o n s t r u c t e d from the raw data  p r o v i d e d by the p a r t i c i p a n t s , who then work with the to amend or v a l i d a t e  researcher  it.  Because grounded theory i s v a l i d a t e d by c o l l a b o r a t o r s ,  soundest when i t s  i t embodies  elements are  the f e m i n i s t p r i n c i p l e  that conceives r e s e a r c h e r and p a r t i c i p a n t as c o o p e r a t i n g "meaning-making" (Hunnisett,  1986). I t a l s o approaches  e t h i c a l i d e a l i n r e s e a r c h with m i n o r i t y p a r t i c i p a n t s , researchers  forego the h i e r a r c h i c a l s t r u c t u r e that  them from those whose experiences Bowers & P a r l o u r ,  1992).  are being s t u d i e d  in  the wherein  separates (Walsh-  34 Morrow and Smith (1995) use a grounded theory approach to o u t l i n e a coping process abuse.  i n s u r v i v o r s of c h i l d h o o d sexual  Zuk (1992) uses a s i m i l a r approach when e l i c i t i n g  l e a r n i n g and growth process of male b a t t e r e r s  the  d u r i n g a 24-week  psychoeducational programme. In another study,  the process  of  t h e s i s b l o c k i n g i s compared to that of unhindered t h e s i s w r i t i n g i n order to d i s c o v e r f a c t o r s t h e s i s completion  (Rennie & Brewer,  that c o n t r i b u t e to ease of 1987).  Trustworthiness of the method. Relevant to t h i s based,  grounded theory study are three aspects of  trustworthiness  based on Guba's model (1981,  1990). These a r e : (c)  feminist-  (a)  credibility,  in Krefting,  (b) d e p e n d a b i l i t y ,  confirmability. C r e d i b i l i t y is subject-oriented;  there i s no s i n g l e  r e a l i t y to be measured,  take care to represent  since  the r e s e a r c h e r must  the m u l t i p l e r e a l i t i e s  p a r t i c i p a n t s as f a i t h f u l l y as p o s s i b l e .  and  r e v e a l e d by  "Dependability" takes  the p l a c e of " r e p l i c a b i l i t y " i n q u a n t i t a t i v e r e s e a r c h ; that  is,  although i t would be impossible to r e p l i c a t e the v a r i a b i l i t y of experience  found i n , f o r example,  story-telling,  one should at  l e a s t be able to t r a c e the v a r i a b i l i t y to i d e n t i f i a b l e And f i n a l l y ,  " c o n f i r m a b i l i t y " of data i s achieved when  p a r t i c i p a n t s v a l i d a t e the f i n d i n g s of the As p a r t of my d e s i r e journal, questions,  sources.  research.  to ensure c r e d i b i l i t y ,  i n which I noted thoughts, and problems that arose.  feelings,  I kept a f i e l d  hunches,  In a d d i t i o n ,  capture on paper whatever b i a s e s or assumptions  I tried  to  I became aware  35  of d u r i n g the r e s e a r c h p r o c e s s .  T h i s p r a c t i s e helped me to  improve my i n t e r v i e w i n g technique to the extent where I was able to word questions come up with b e t t e r  more e f f e c t i v e l y ,  and i n p a r t i c u l a r ,  "probes." I then i n v i t e d p a r t i c i p a n t s  to  to  form a focus group f o r t h e i r input on the model I c o n s t r u c t e d , i n c l u d i n g v a l i d a t i o n and amendments.  A c c o r d i n g to Krueger  (1988),  the focus group i s an e f f i c i e n t  results  of q u a l i t a t i v e r e s e a r c h : i t puts people i n n a t u r a l ,  real-life  situations  Other advantages  than i n a one-to-one  include f l e x i b i l i t y ,  v a l i d i t y " or c r e d i b i l i t y , and time To ensure d e p e n d a b i l i t y ,  "high  face  efficiency.  or c o n s i s t e n c y ,  conducted a c a r e f u l data a n a l y s i s ,  of my f i n d i n g s ,  accurately.  In a d d i t i o n ,  d e t a i l i n g the e v o l u t i o n of codes, between c a t e g o r i e s .  I  i n which I checked and  rechecked my codes i n order to ensure t h a t they r e f l e c t e d content  the  where they may, upon h e a r i n g other  p e o p l e ' s views, be more e x p r e s s i v e situation.  way of v a l i d a t i n g  data  I r e t a i n e d a l l my memos categories,  The p r o p o s a l f o r t h i s  the two v e r s i o n s of my i n t e r v i e w guide,  and r e l a t i o n s h i p s  thesis,  along with  are a l s o a p a r t of my  "audit t r a i l . " Moreover, the many verbatim segments of data used to i l l u s t r a t e study's  themes emerging from my a n a l y s i s  enhance  the  trustworthiness.  Finally,  the s t u d y ' s  c o n s t r u c t i o n of models,  c o n f i r m a b i l i t y was ensured by the  since  they provided a means of  v e r i f y i n g what p a r t i c i p a n t s had t o l d me. Moreover, because I had c r e a t e d verbatim t r a n s c r i p t s of the i n t e r v i e w s ,  I was  able  36 to r e f e r to exact phrases or ideas when c o n s u l t i n g with participants.  As mentioned,  i n a d d i t i o n to meeting face to  with p a r t i c i p a n t s f o r v a l i d a t i o n , I engaged i n telephone  face  30-minute  c o n f i r m a t i o n s e s s i o n s with s i x of the  eight  participants. Data A n a l y s i s Data a n a l y s i s  took p l a c e c o n c u r r e n t l y with the  interviewing process. theoretical  Originally,  I had planned to f o l l o w a  approach, i n which "sampling [takes  sampling  place]  on the b a s i s of the e v o l v i n g t h e o r e t i c a l relevance of  concepts"  (Strauss & C o r b i n ,  analysis  affects  1990,  the q u e s t i o n i n g ,  p. 179).  In other words,  which i n t u r n a f f e c t s  the  Some concepts would be r e t a i n e d i n the questions appeared to be t h e o r e t i c a l l y  significant,  as w e l l — i f  mentioned above,  analysis.  because  while other  c o u l d be dropped from the theory—and t h e r e f o r e questions  the  they  concepts  from the  they were found to be i r r e l e v a n t . As  however,  I d i d not f i n d a need to change  i n t e r v i e w guide a f t e r the i n i t i a l  changes  f o l l o w i n g the  the  first  interview. In a process known as open coding, form of s i n g l e  lines,  sentences,  u n i t s of data i n the  or complete thoughts  were  summarized i n the r i g h t - h a n d margin of the t r a n s c r i p t s . Words or phrases used i n coding were o f t e n taken from the data itself, codes.  to c r e a t e what Strauss and C o r b i n (1990) c a l l For i n s t a n c e ,  standard":  "in vivo"  the f o l l o w i n g statement was coded "double  "There's a double standard that i f they t a l k about  37  their relationships, my r e l a t i o n s h i p s ,  they're  j u s t t a l k i n g , and i f I t a l k about  I'm s e a r i n g them!" D e s c r i p t i v e  categories  were then c r e a t e d by grouping s i m i l a r l y coded s e c t i o n s of d a t a . These c a t e g o r i e s a l s o adhered where p o s s i b l e participants, of  to the language  though they were o f t e n at a s l i g h t l y higher  abstraction.  "Double s t a n d a r d , " "us and them,"  m a r g i n a l i z e d , " and "treated with d i s r e s p e c t "  of  level  "economically  were a l l  later  grouped under "things being u n e q u a l , " which was f u r t h e r transformed i n t o the p a r t of the d e f i n i t i o n of (Chapter Four,  Part I)  "heterosexism"  r e f e r r i n g to "exclusionary and unequal  treatment." Next,  the data was axially  coded: that i s ,  were drawn between c a t e g o r i e s and s u b c a t e g o r i e s ,  connections and a  framework f o r "The Experience of Heterosexism" s e c t i o n Four,  Part I) was developed,  along with a model that showed how  ways of d e a l i n g with heterosexism II).  (Chapter  evolved  (Chapter Four,  Part  A x i a l coding provided me with a way to organize the  experience  of heterosexism  "heterosexism,"  i n t o a composite d e f i n i t i o n of  a d e t a i l i n g of aspects of the phenomenon,  c a u s a l and p e r p e t u a t i n g c o n d i t i o n s ,  and i n t e r v e n i n g  conditions.  A c c o r d i n g to Strauss and C o r b i n (1990), c a u s a l c o n d i t i o n s "the events or i n c i d e n t s  that l e a d to the occurrence or  development of a phenomenon" (p. "facilitate context" (p. study,  100);  intervening  conditions  or c o n s t r a i n the s t r a t e g i e s taken w i t h i n a 96).  are  specific  By i l l u m i n a t i n g the context of the area under  c a u s a l and i n t e r v e n i n g c o n d i t i o n s add "density and  38  p r e c i s i o n " to a grounded theory study  (p. 9 9 ) .  I c r e a t e d a v i s u a l schema u s i n g a very l a r g e p i e c e of cardboard, with themes,  categories,  subcategories  w r i t t e n on " p o s t - i t " n o t e s . For i n s t a n c e ,  and elements  the theme "Impact"  was f u r t h e r broken down i n t o the c a t e g o r i e s  "Impact on  r e l a t i o n s h i p s , " "Impact i n the work w o r l d , " and so on. These categories  contained s u b c a t e g o r i e s :  f o r example,  "Impact i n the  work world" i n c l u d e d "career choice" and "work environment." These subcategories discrete  were broken down s t i l l  elements from i n t e r v i e w s .  further into  Included i n the "work  environment" category were "assumption I'm h e t e r o s e x u a l , " "question of whether to come o u t , " and so on. In r e f l e c t i n g on the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between c a t e g o r i e s ,  subcategories,  and so on,  I found I needed to r e c o n c e p t u a l i z e p a r t s of the schema a number of times.  (This process  notes around to schematize  i n c l u d e d moving the  the new r e l a t i o n s h i p s . )  c o n t i n u a l l y r e t u r n i n g to the data to r e c o n s i d e r between c a t e g o r i e s ,  "post-it" In  relationships  I was able to ensure that my theory was  adequately "grounded." In o r g a n i z i n g c a t e g o r i e s strategies  and subcategories  relating  used to d e a l with or counteract the e f f e c t s  heterosexism,  I drew "key words" i n c i r c l e s ,  with  of  "spokes"  r a d i a t i n g outwards, ending i n r e l a t e d words that were encircled.  to  also  T h i s technique allowed me to add more spokes to  the  c e n t r a l words as I processed more data; i t a l s o allowed me to connect two or more key words or "hubs," thereby subsuming them  39 under a l a r g e r heading. For i n s t a n c e ,  "Drawing p a r a l l e l s " and  " C o r r e c t i n g misconceptions" were both spokes of the key word " E d u c a t i n g , " while " C a l l i n g i t " and "Complaining" were connected to the key word " C o n f r o n t i n g . " L a t e r ,  I r e a l i z e d that  " E d u c a t i n g , " " C o n f r o n t i n g , " and "Take Me or Leave Me" were a l l p a r t of the l a r g e r theme of " A c t i v i s m . " My use of  this  technique to show r e l a t i o n s h i p s between v a r i o u s l e v e l s of categories  culminated i n "Model 1: Lesbian Transformations i n  D e a l i n g with Heterosexism." T h i s model was used as a springboard f o r Model 2, which was c o n c e p t u a l i z e d by p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the confirmatory focus group. And f i n a l l y , by combining Models 1 and 2,  I d e r i v e d Model 3,  i n which I  attempted to i n c o r p o r a t e the best f e a t u r e s of the two p r e v i o u s models. Assumptions A b a s i c assumption u n d e r l y i n g t h i s r e s e a r c h i s if  not a l l , l e s b i a n s are s u b j e c t to heterosexism,  p e r c e i v e t h i s to be the case or n o t . i n t o account s o c i e t a l  In saying so,  laws and i n s t i t u t i o n s  that most,  whether  they  I am t a k i n g  that " d i s c r i m i n a t e  i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y " a g a i n s t all l e s b i a n s and gay men and t h a t , therefore, lives  c o u l d p o t e n t i a l l y be a t h r e a t or roadblock i n our  at any time; f o r i n s t a n c e ,  laws that refuse us the r i g h t  to marry, have n e x t - o f - k i n r i g h t s when a p a r t n e r d i e s ,  or  sponsor a p a r t n e r from another country to enter our own. In i n t e r v i e w i n g l e s b i a n s about how they d e a l t with heterosexism,  I was assuming that the women who presented  40 themselves  f o r the study c o n s i d e r e d themselves  experienced h e t e r o s e x i s t Moreover,  attitudes,  to have •  and p o s s i b l y ,  I h e l d the premise that these women would be  conscious of how they d e a l t with heterosexism. each woman's s t r a t e g i e s  I expected  degree of support, socioeconomic s t a t u s , personality attributes. Also, use d i f f e r e n t s t r a t e g i e s Graham-Bermann,  stressor,  e t h n i c background, and  I expected that each woman would  in different situations  1993; Lykes,  Changing a t t i t u d e s  (Banyard &  1983).  toward l e s b i a n s and gay men have been  r e f l e c t e d i n p u b l i c p o l i c y i n the l a s t  15 years  (Morin &  1991), and t h i s f a c t accounts somewhat f o r the  decrease i n " p r i v a t e p r e j u d i c e " (Melton, reason,  that  would d i f f e r depending on such  v a r i a b l e s as f a m i l y environment, i n t e n s i t y of the  Rothblum,  actions.  1989). For t h i s  I assumed that heterosexism would a f f e c t  v a r i o u s age  groups d i f f e r e n t i a l l y , and d i d not i n t e r v i e w l e s b i a n s under 25 or  over 40. Although the women I i n t e r v i e w e d were those who f e l t  p o s i t i v e about being l e s b i a n s ,  I d i d not assume that t h e i r  p o s i t i v e l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y was necessarily coped with heterosexism; lesbians'  lives  there are many other f a c t o r s i n  (as i n the l i v e s of a l l people)  to t h e i r s e l f - c o n c e p t . friendships,  a r e s u l t of having  that c o n t r i b u t e  Among these are f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s ,  achievements and competencies,  and l i f e events,  w e l l as the degree of r e s p e c t f o r women and g i r l s i n t h e i r c u l t u r e and p l a c e of u p b r i n g i n g .  However, I do b e l i e v e  that  as  41 awareness o f heterosexism as a problem, along with the a b i l i t y to respond t o h e t e r o s e x i s t oppression  e f f e c t i v e l y , enhances a  l e s b i a n ' s sense o f h e r s e l f as a competent person. My  d e c i s i o n t o i n t e r v i e w only l e s b i a n s and not gay men  r e f l e c t s a b e l i e f that, because women are  socialized  d i f f e r e n t l y from men, t h e i r ways o f coping  are  (Banyard & Graham-Bermann, 1993;  1982;  Gilligan,  different Morrow &  Smith, 1995). A l s o , the form that heterosexism takes when d i r e c t e d toward l e s b i a n s i s sometimes d i f f e r e n t than that aimed at men. F o r example, i n some c o u n t r i e s , such as Armenia, E s t o n i a , Ghana, and Kenya, male homosexuality i s p r o h i b i t e d by law,  whereas l e s b i a n i s m  i s not even mentioned (Tielman &  Hammelburg, 1993). T h i s may be e i t h e r because i t i s  considered  negligible  ( i . e . , women i n these c o u n t r i e s a r e themselves not  considered  enough o f a t h r e a t t o be taken s e r i o u s l y ) o r because  it  i s assumed not t o e x i s t . In a d d i t i o n , the f a c t that women  are s t i l l dominated economically  by men i s r e f l e c t e d i n  l e s b i a n s ' low income l e v e l s r e l a t i v e t o gay men (Rich, 1980). For i n s t a n c e ,  l e s b i a n s have fewer means o f e s t a b l i s h i n g h i g h -  p r o f i l e l e s b i a n - o r i e n t e d businesses,  community c e n t r e s , and  h e a l t h care c l i n i c s . These f a c t o r s c o n t r i b u t e t o the i n v i s i b i l i t y o f l e s b i a n s , as does the scant coverage i n the media r e l a t i v e t o gay men. Moreover, l e s b i a n s a r e f r e q u e n t l y omitted from language: f o r i n s t a n c e , o f t e n used t o i n d i c a t e "gay that the word "he"  the phrase "gay  people" i s  men and l e s b i a n s " i n the same way  has long been used t o imply "he o r she."  42 L i m i t a t i o n s of the Study First,  i t should be noted that my sample c o n t a i n s a s e l f -  selection bias,  i n that a l l p a r t i c i p a n t s volunteered  i n t e r v i e w e d . For t h i s reason,  to be  the women may have more formal  e d u c a t i o n and be more p o l i t i c a l l y aware than would l e s b i a n s  in  a random sample. Because they were i n t e r e s t e d i n d i s c u s s i n g heterosexism with me, i t  is  l i k e l y that most of  the  p a r t i c i p a n t s had thought about the t o p i c a l o t before our conversations.  I t i s a l s o l i k e l y that the  self-motivation  apparent i n t h e i r coming forward to be i n t e r v i e w e d i s in  their daily lives,  operative  i n c l u d i n g t h e i r ways of d e a l i n g with  heterosexism. Because the sample s i z e i s reflect  s m a l l , i t does not f u l l y  the d i v e r s i t y found i n the l e s b i a n community. For  instance,  a l l but one of the women are Caucasian,  r a i s e d i n Caucasian f a m i l i e s . A l s o ,  and a l l were  although I d i d not ask  p a r t i c i p a n t s about t h e i r c l a s s backgrounds, the women do not c u r r e n t l y appear to belong to widely d i s p a r a t e s o c i a l Finally,  t h i s sample of e i g h t l e s b i a n s c o u l d not i n c l u d e  representatives instance,  classes.  of every p o l i t i c a l view or p h i l o s o p h y . For  t h i s p a r t i c u l a r sample appears not to i n c l u d e extreme  lesbian separatists p o l i t i c a l reasons, leading t h e i r l i v e s  (lesbians  who choose,  for s o c i a l or  to a s s o c i a t e mainly with other  lesbians,  apart from men and sometimes from  h e t e r o s e x u a l women). However, the viewpoints and approaches found among these e i g h t women were unquestionably d i v e r s e .  43 CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS T h i s chapter w i l l be organized i n t o three p a r t s , of  the  following:  Part I : The Experience of First,  & Corbin,  Heterosexism  because ways of d e a l i n g with heterosexism  understood i n the context 1990),  to both heterosexual lives. set  Third,  (Strauss  out some important aspects of  the  t h a t emerged from i n t e r v i e w d a t a .  w i l l begin by p r e s e n t i n g a composite definition I w i l l present  are best  i n which they become necessary  I w i l l set  experience of heterosexism  Next,  consisting  I  of  heterosexism.  the phenomenon of heterosexism,  with r e g a r d  attitudes  under causal  and impact on the p a r t i c i p a n t s '  and perpetuating  conditions,  I will  f o r t h p a r t i c i p a n t s ' o p i n i o n s r e g a r d i n g why heterosexism  arises  and why i t c o n t i n u e s .  conditions, individual  T h i s p a r t w i l l end with  intervening  or f a c t o r s that make the experience d i f f e r e n t  for  lesbians.  P a r t I I : D e a l i n g with Heterosexism Part II c o n t a i n s the core of my r e s e a r c h . I t w i l l begin with the process by which I developed a grounded theory of how l e s b i a n s d e a l with heterosexism,  and w i l l d e s c r i b e how a model  e x p r e s s i n g the theory came i n t o b e i n g . F i r s t , models w i l l be presented:  two  preliminary-  that which I i n i t i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d from  i n t e r v i e w m a t e r i a l , and a second v e r s i o n of t h i s model, r e s t r u c t u r e d by p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the focus group. I w i l l present the  third  then  model, p r i m a r i l y a s y n t h e s i s of the f i r s t  two,  44 along with the grounded  theory  the l a s t s e c t i o n of Part II chapter),  I will detail  in dealing  Part I I I :  the study p a r t i c i p a n t s '  strategies  will  Society  Part I I I w i l l c o n s i s t of the hopes and wishes f o r  change,  or goals f o r creating in interviews.  a nonheterosexist  society,  These goals seemed to p l a y  a p a r t i n shaping some of the s t r a t e g i e s and approaches and represent  lesbians'  used  these s t r a t e g i e s .  v o i c e d by p a r t i c i p a n t s  II,  In  this  Excerpts from the i n t e r v i e w s  C r e a t i n g a Nonheterosexist  Finally, societal  (the most e x t e n s i v e s e c t i o n of  with heterosexism.  be used to i l l u s t r a t e  on which t h i s model i s based.  i n Part  an i d e a l "endpoint" i n the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of  ways of d e a l i n g with  heterosexism.  P a r t I : The Experience o f Heterosexism D e f i n i t i o n of The  "Heterosexism"  d e f i n i t i o n of "heterosexism"  synthesizing  the e i g h t p a r t i c i p a n t s ' responses to the  interview question: 'heterosexism,'  slightly  I'm wondering what meaning you a t t a c h to  expanded.  Its  present  hatred  that homosexuality  in denial treatment.  i t was brought back to  f o r c o n f i r m a t i o n . At t h i s stage,  or institutionalized belief  first  "When you hear me use the word  Once a d e f i n i t i o n was generated, participants  was a r r i v e d at by  of rights  or fear of homosexuals,  and other  all  the d e f i n i t i o n  form i s now as f o l l o w s :  is wrong, sinful,  it."  forms of exclusionary  Systemic  including  or deviant,  was  the  resulting  and unequal  I w i l l b r i e f l y expand on each p a r t of t h i s  definition.  45 Systemic or i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d h a t r e d or f e a r of homosexuals  . . . P a r t i c i p a n t s g e n e r a l l y saw heterosexism  as going  beyond i n d i v i d u a l f e a r and h a t r e d ; some p o i n t e d out i t was deeply entrenched i n s o c i e t y ' s values and education system.  Denise used  the words "systemic" and " i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d " ; J u l i e s a i d ,  "It's  an ' i s m . ' " S e v e r a l p a r t i c i p a n t s drew a connection between heterosexism,  sexism,  aspects o f s o c i e t y ,  and racism as i n s i d i o u s and p e r v a s i v e  and i d e n t i f i e d as a key, common element a  sense of s u p e r i o r i t y of one group toward another, o p p r e s s i v e and e x c l u s i o n a r y ... sinful,  treatment.  i n c l u d i n g the b e l i e f or d e v i a n t  coupled with  that homosexuality  i s wrong,  . . . V i r t u a l l y a l l p a r t i c i p a n t s made r e f e r e n c e  to t h i s aspect of heterosexism,  s e v e r a l n o t i n g the  negative  s t e r e o t y p e s they had heard r e g a r d i n g l e s b i a n and gay people when growing up, or the o p i n i o n t h a t ,  as Susan s a i d ,  and e v i l . " In a number of the i n t e r v i e w s , lesbians  and gay men were c i t e d ,  q u e e r s , " and "faggot."  derogatory terms f o r  such as " l e z z i e , "  "fuckin'  Another important theme that emerged was  the tendency of heterosexuals to see  they were "pagan  to "sexualize"  lesbians;  that  is,  them only as sexual beings and to assume that they are  preoccupied with sex.  Meanwhile, i t was p o i n t e d out,  their  c a p a c i t y f o r love i s o v e r l o o k e d . ...  r e s u l t i n g i n d e n i a l of r i g h t s  . . . Among the r i g h t s  were mentioned were the r i g h t to express a f f e c t i o n without f e a r of v e r b a l or p h y s i c a l a t t a c k , work without f e a r of r e p e r c u s s i o n ,  that  in public  the r i g h t to be out  the r i g h t to r e c e i v e work-  at  46  r e l a t e d spousal b e n e f i t s , a couple,  the r i g h t to marry and be r e c o g n i z e d as  the r i g h t to keep one's c h i l d r e n a f t e r s e p a r a t i o n from  a male p a r t n e r , and the r i g h t to be r e c o g n i z e d l e g a l l y and s o c i a l l y as ...  co-parents.  and other forms of e x c l u s i o n a r y and unequal treatment.  Two p a r t i c i p a n t s used the phrase "us and them" to d e s c r i b e schism that r e s u l t s  from the view that h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y  s u p e r i o r and homosexuality,  inferior.  ranks of the " r e s p e c t a b l e , "  it  the  is  Being excluded from the  i s r i s k y for lesbians  they a r e . They are faced with the choice of e i t h e r  to be who  being  i n v i s i b l e o r being p e n a l i z e d s o c i a l l y and e c o n o m i c a l l y . As Rae put i t ,  being a n o u t  l e s b i a n means being "economically  m a r g i n a l i z e d , " s i n c e choice of jobs and access to the f i n a n c i a l benefits  allowed heterosexuals  becomes r e s t r i c t e d .  "It a l l comes  down to money, because money i s about power."  The Phenomenon of This section heterosexual  i n s u b d i v i d e d i n t o the f o l l o w i n g  attitudes  on r e l a t i o n s h i p s ,  Heterosexism  and responses,  the impact of  the impact of heterosexism  the p s y c h o l o g i c a l impact of heterosexism, e f f e c t s of d e a l i n g with  areas: heterosexism  i n the work w o r l d ,  and the  positive  heterosexism.  Heterosexual A t t i t u d e s and Responses All attitudes  the women interviewed made at l e a s t some r e f e r e n c e and misconceptions  h e l d by h e t e r o s e x u a l s .  to  Among those  mentioned were the tendency to condescend and minimize,  the  47 belief  that being a l e s b i a n i s only about being s e x u a l ,  l e s b i a n i s m i s pagan and e v i l ,  and that i t  is a disease.  P a r t i c i p a n t s a l s o commonly mentioned d e n i a l , common r e a c t i o n s of h e t e r o s e x u a l s toward  fear,  r e p o r t e d by p a r t i c i p a n t s i n c l u d e d the b e l i e f  f r i e n d s to become l e s b i a n s ; turned them i n t o l e s b i a n s ;  and shock  as  lesbians.  Condescension and m i n i m i z a t i o n . Heterosexual  l e s b i a n i s m was "just a phase";  that  that  responses their  that they had been i n f l u e n c e d by  that bad experiences  with men had  and that a l e s b i a n was simply a woman  who "can't f i n d a man." A l s o mentioned by two p a r t i c i p a n t s was a tendency  f o r heterosexual  men to f e e l  l e s b i a n sex and to regard l e s b i a n s entertainment heterosexual "more of a  and p l e a s u r e .  t i t i l l a t e d by the i d e a of  as o b j e c t s f o r  One interviewee  men enjoy pursuing l e s b i a n s ,  felt  their that some  because they f i n d  challenge."  Overemphasis on sex. assumption that l e s b i a n s heterosexuals.  S e v e r a l of the p a r t i c i p a n t s r e p o r t e d an are more concerned with sex than are  C h e r y l r e c a l l e d a neighbourhood mother who w o r r i e d  aloud how she would e x p l a i n to her son about h i s f r i e n d ' s mothers";  it  "two  she seemed to assume she would have to g i v e him f a c t s  about t h e i r sex l i f e . was r e f l e c t e d  A similar attitude,  though much more o v e r t ,  i n one p a r t i c i p a n t ' s exchange with a neighbour.  Although the argument was u n r e l a t e d to the woman being a l e s b i a n , the neighbour b l u r t e d out,  "Well,  around and suck each o t h e r ' s  a l l you guys do i s  cunts a l l day!"  lay  [sic]  48  Denial.  Denise r e l a t e d t h a t ,  when she showed a group of  teenagers a video about the problems faced by l e s b i a n and gay youth, one young man responded by i n s i s t i n g there were no homosexuals  i n h i s home c o u n t r y . Lee has experienced  people  t e l l i n g her she was not a l e s b i a n — a p p a r e n t l y because fit  t h e i r image of one—even  she d i d not  though she i n s i s t e d she was.  Susan  remembered two young men who were among her worst p e r s e c u t o r s high school,  in  both of whom she l a t e r found out were gay  themselves. F e a r . V a r i o u s types of f e a r - b a s e d r e a c t i o n s were noted, the most common of these were discomfort and nervousness.  but  Julie  spoke of her p a r t n e r ' s f a m i l y ' s r e a c t i o n s when she and her p a r t n e r show a f f e c t i o n : beasts!") o r f a l l  they e i t h e r  silent.  joke about i t  ("Oh, you  C h e r y l r e p o r t e d that she and her  p a r t n e r get s t a r e d at c o n t i n u a l l y whenever they h o l d hands i n public.  When Denise t r i e d to d i s c u s s  heterosexism with youth i n a l i f e  homosexuality and  s k i l l s program,  s e v e r a l were a f r a i d to ask questions  about i t .  she sensed t h a t  Marg remembered  how her mother was "nervous" about meeting her gay male f r i e n d s , a couple,  yet c o u l d not e x p l a i n why. Both Rae and J u l i e  mentioned the f e a r - b a s e d b e l i e f  also  h e l d by some heterosexuals  that  homosexuals w i l l make sexual advances toward them. Impact of Heterosexism on R e l a t i o n s h i p s Interview m a t e r i a l showed heterosexism  to have a profound  impact on r e l a t i o n s h i p s with family members and p a r t n e r s i n particular,  and a l s o to a f f e c t  i n t e r a c t i o n s with men, with c o -  49 workers,  and with other  lesbians.  Parental attitudes. attitudes  Among t h i s sample of l e s b i a n s ,  ranged from complete acceptance  participant related feeling difficulty  parental  to complete d e n i a l . One  "shocked" that her parents had such  a d j u s t i n g to her sexual o r i e n t a t i o n .  She  expressed  hurt and anger that they d i d not ask her about her p e r s o n a l d i d not i n v i t e her p a r t n e r to f a m i l y f u n c t i o n s — a l t h o u g h i n v i t e d her h e t e r o s e x u a l  siblings'  they  spouses—and d i d not o f f e r any  sympathy when an important r e l a t i o n s h i p ended. In s h o r t , they d i d not r e c o g n i z e  she  Another p a r t i c i p a n t a l s o expressed  p a r e n t a l r o l e i n her l i f e )  (who had had a  her hurt and anger at being "judged  and condemned," s i n c e she knew she would only r e c e i v e  further  response.  L e s b i a n motherhood. The two l e s b i a n s mothers i n the felt  that heterosexuals  tend not to regard them as  mothers." A c c o r d i n g to C h e r y l , belief  that l e s b i a n s  are  f r u s t r a t i o n and p a i n at  not being able to share with her o l d e r s i s t e r  c r i t i c i s m and blame i n  felt  "that I a c t u a l l y have a l i f e , " and t h a t  the emotions t h a t accompany events i n l e s b i a n r e l a t i o n s h i p s real.  life,  sample  "real  t h i s misconception stems from the  are always s e x u a l ,  and t h e r e f o r e are unable  to have a nonsexual r e l a t i o n s h i p with t h e i r c h i l d r e n . C h e r y l reported that, children,  because  she i s  the b i o l o g i c a l mother of  also  their  her p a r t n e r i s often not accepted as the other mother,  although they have an equal r o l e i n b r i n g i n g up the c h i l d r e n . Both women a l s o mentioned not being seen as " r e a l l e s b i a n s " by other l e s b i a n s .  They noted that t h i s  i s p a r t i c u l a r l y the case i f  50 the l e s b i a n has male c h i l d r e n , or i f the c h i l d r e n are from a h e t e r o s e x u a l marriage. Both l e s b i a n mothers r a i s e d a number of i s s u e s wherein heterosexism  a f f e c t s t h e i r c h i l d r e n . Both are concerned that  c h i l d r e n are not being given c o r r e c t i n f o r m a t i o n , or i n f a c t any information,  by a d u l t s at s c h o o l . Both f i n d i t  open about being l e s b i a n s ,  important to be  i n order to counteract  negative  impressions t h e i r c h i l d r e n p i c k up from at school or from the media. One mother expressed concern that her c h i l d r e n would t u r n a g a i n s t her and her p a r t n e r once they became teenagers and s t a r t e d wanting to " f i t  i n " with t h e i r p e e r s .  c h i l d r e n were a l r e a d y g e t t i n g  The other mother's  teased i n s c h o o l ;  for instance,  her  1 0 - y e a r - o l d daughter was being c a l l e d a "dyke." The impact on the e n t i r e f a m i l y i s profound, C h e r y l stressed.  If a lesbian's  orientation,  the r e s u l t can be a c u t - o f f between parents and  daughter; t h i s see  parents refuse to accept her sexual  i n t u r n means that her c h i l d r e n are not able  t h e i r grandparents. I f t h i s  resent  t h e i r parents f o r being  is  the case,  to  c h i l d r e n may even  lesbians.  Lesbian r e l a t i o n s h i p s . A r e c u r r i n g theme i n the  interviews  was the f a c t that l e s b i a n r e l a t i o n s h i p s tend not to be acknowledged or r e s p e c t e d . heterosexual society,  J u l i e p o i n t e d out t h a t ,  since  r e l a t i o n s h i p s are the only ones sanctioned by  she and her p a r t n e r are o f t e n  "not r e a l l y p e r c e i v e d as  being a c o u p l e . " Delyse f u r t h e r made the p o i n t t h a t , heterosexist belief  that l e s b i a n r e l a t i o n s h i p s cannot  due to a last,  51  l e s b i a n s themselves s t a r t relationships  to b e l i e v e t h i s i s  are n e g a t i v e l y  fact  In s i t u a t i o n s  relationship,  is  affected  where two women f e e l  they are a couple,  and t h e i r  affected.  A lesbian couple's relationship well.  the case,  i n other ways as  compelled to hide  they have a sense of d e v a l u i n g  or f a i l i n g to honour each o t h e r ,  the  the  as when they  find  themselves u n l o c k i n g hands as a t o u g h - l o o k i n g man approaches them, or when a l e s b i a n ' s p a r t n e r i s not i n v i t e d to a f a m i l y function. Negative  reactions—or  a n t i c i p a t e d negative  attitudes—  toward a l e s b i a n couple by one or both of t h e i r f a m i l i e s cause d i v i s i o n between a couple;  for instance,  uncomfortable around her p a r t n e r ' s family uncomfortable i n her p r e s e n c e ) ,  can a l s o  i f a lesbian  (because the f a m i l y  or i f her p a r t n e r  about how "out" they should be to f a m i l y members,  source of c o n f l i c t  disagree  friends,  or  t h i s can be an ongoing  that deeply a f f e c t s a r e l a t i o n s h i p .  R e l a t i o n s h i p s with men. Some of the women i n t e r v i e w e d they had f e l t pressure to have r e l a t i o n s h i p s  with men, or  they simply had not r e a l i z e d there was any a l t e r n a t i v e . a t t r a c t i o n to the men they got conflict  is  feels  uncomfortable around her own f a m i l y . The couple may a l s o  c o l l e a g u e s . As one p a r t i c i p a n t a t t e s t e d ,  is  in relationships,  i n v o l v e d with c o n t r i b u t e d  said that  Lack of to  which l e d i n at l e a s t one case to  breakup of a long-term marriage and the p a r t n e r  the  feeling  abandoned. Two interviewees r e c a l l e d problems with regard to males i n  52  t h e i r high s c h o o l days: one found i t d i f f i c u l t to d e a l with male classmates who l i k e d h e r , while the other f e l t  hurt that boys  avoided h e r . Another p a r t i c i p a n t remarked that i t was hard to make f r i e n d s with men, s i n c e they t y p i c a l l y b e l i e v e d  that  l e s b i a n s must be "man-haters." The l e s b i a n community. The e f f e c t s of heterosexism spread to the way l e s b i a n s t r e a t each other i n the  even  lesbian  community. S e v e r a l p a r t i c i p a n t s commented on the e x i s t e n c e of an orthodoxy of d r e s s ,  behaviour, and p o l i t i c s ,  which seemed to them  an extension of the narrow-minded, p r e s c r i p t i v e t h i n k i n g espoused by mainstream s o c i e t y .  Marg c r i t i c i z e d the way i n which l e s b i a n s  o f t e n pressure each other to be " p . c . " ( p o l i t i c a l l y c o r r e c t ) , even t o the p o i n t of d i s c r i m i n a t i n g a g a i n s t one another. She c i t e d as an example a popular women's f e s t i v a l whose l e s b i a n organizers,  i n an e f f o r t  to c r e a t e a women-only environment, do  not permit women to b r i n g i n male c h i l d r e n over the age of Similarly,  Rae r e p o r t s having f e l t  seven.  she had to be " p o l i t i c a l a l l  the t i m e . " C h e r y l laughed and agreed when I suggested that a lesbian's  c r e d i b i l i t y among other l e s b i a n s decreased as  number of c h i l d r e n she had i n c r e a s e d . Lee t a l k e d about  feeling  pressured to "look l i k e a l e s b i a n , " and noted that t h i s even a f f e c t e d  the  pressure  the choice of c l o t h e s she wore to be i n t e r v i e w e d by  me. Emphasis on a p r e s c r i b e d "look" was a l s o mentioned by J u l i e and Delyse,  who p o i n t e d out that l e s b i a n s who d i d not conform to  i t became i n v i s i b l e both to each other and to s o c i e t y Delyse observed t h a t ,  in general.  as a m a n i f e s t a t i o n of unacknowledged  53 i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia, i t was common f o r women to f i n d  fault  with the l e s b i a n community i n s t e a d of l o o k i n g inward. She a l s o expressed the o p i n i o n that the d e s i r e of l e s b i a n s themselves from heterosexuals heterosexual  to d i s t i n g u i s h  o f t e n leads to a r e j e c t i o n of  the  f a m i l y model, so that although l e s b i a n s o f t e n t r y to  r e c r e a t e f a m i l y , they do so "on a peer l e v e l ,  r a t h e r than an  i n t e r g e n e r a t i o n a l l e v e l . " One unfortunate consequence, was that the l e s b i a n community then has l i t t l e c h i l d r e n and e l d e r s ,  she noted,  connection with  and i s t h e r e f o r e unable to enjoy  the  r i c h n e s s they p r o v i d e . C u l t u r e gaps.  Some p a r t i c i p a n t s observed the d i f f i c u l t y of  b r i d g i n g the gap between h e t e r o s e x u a l and l e s b i a n c u l t u r e s . r e l a t e d the experience of b r i n g i n g a h e t e r o s e x u a l  Susan  f r i e n d to a  c o n c e r t by a l e s b i a n performer, and then to a l e s b i a n b a r . The f r i e n d ' s shock and bewilderment reminded her j u s t how "exotic" the l e s b i a n c u l t u r e can seem to a h e t e r o s e x u a l p e r s o n . Conversely,  Delyse and C h e r y l both r e p o r t e d that the  work world f e l t  heterosexual  "foreign" to them, s i n c e the values and concerns  of the heterosexuals  i n that environment were d i f f e r e n t  from  t h e i r own and those of t h e i r l e s b i a n f r i e n d s . Delyse f u r t h e r commented t h a t ,  because of c u l t u r a l d i f f e r e n c e s ,  hard to make h e t e r o s e x u a l  she found i t  friends.  Impact of Heterosexism i n the Work World. Career c h o i c e .  Heterosexism a f f e c t s c a r e e r c h o i c e , and  t h e r e f o r e the economic s t a t u s of l e s b i a n s ,  Rae emphasized. For  one t h i n g , l e s b i a n s who want to work i n an environment that  54  reflects  e g a l i t a r i a n , n o n - c a p i t a l i s t p r i n c i p l e s o f t e n end up  working i n o r g a n i z a t i o n s with l i t t l e sacrifice  t h e i r values,  unless  they  they are excluded from power. Regarding  her own p l a c e of work, Rae s t a t e d , m a r g i n a l i z e d people,  money; thus,  "We [the s t a f f ] work with  and we are m a r g i n a l i z e d o u r s e l v e s . "  As s e v e r a l p a r t i c i p a n t s i n d i c a t e d , l e s b i a n s economic disadvantage compared to heterosexuals  are a l s o at a when the  workplace l a c k s a s t r o n g union or employment b e n e f i t s sex p a r t n e r s , as i s o f t e n the case.  f o r same-  In a d d i t i o n , l e s b i a n and gay  people may l o s e or be avoided by c l i e n t s  who l e a r n of  their  sexual o r i e n t a t i o n . A woman J u l i e worked with announced that  she  had stopped going to her massage t h e r a p i s t upon d i s c o v e r i n g she was a l e s b i a n . The work environment. One i s s u e that came up both i n the interviews  and i n the confirmatory s e s s i o n s was the  decision  about whether to come out at work, and the consequences r e v e a l i n g one's sexual o r i e n t a t i o n . Denise noted t h a t , she has r e c e n t l y gained the confidence interviews,  of although  to come out i n job  she s t i l l f e e l s apprehensive about how her d i s c l o s u r e  w i l l be r e c e i v e d by employers. Being out i n a work environment can l e a d to f e e l i n g shunned or excluded by co-workers, as C h e r y l attested.  She added that government jobs i n p a r t i c u l a r tend to be  u n f r i e n d l y environments f o r l e s b i a n s .  J u l i e , who worked u n t i l  r e c e n t l y i n a f a i r l y c o n s e r v a t i v e company, f e l t out at work, she was p r o t e c t i n g h e r s e l f oppressive  environment."  t h a t by not b e i n g  from "a p o t e n t i a l l y more  55  On the other hand, being c l o s e t e d c o s t , J u l i e n o t e d . A l e s b i a n can f e e l about h e r s e l f  and her l i f e ,  at work a l s o has a h i g h compelled to suppress  while the h e t e r o s e x u a l  people around  her are t a l k i n g about themselves and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . if  she does not f i t  heterosexual. Julie:  a stereotype,  she i s  Whether to attend a s t a f f  talk  Also,  i n v a r i a b l y thought to be p a r t y was a dilemma f o r  she d i d not wish to go without her p a r t n e r . However,  attend with her p a r t n e r would mean coming out,  to  while not to do so  would mean e x c l u d i n g her p a r t n e r . Rae r e l a t e d being i n the f r u s t r a t i n g and p a i n f u l s i t u a t i o n of watching two gay men i n her work environment being oppressed,  and yet f e e l i n g powerless  to  defend them, s i n c e doing so might j e o p a r d i z e her j o b . P s y c h o l o g i c a l Impact of  Heterosexism  For the sake of convenience, heterosexism  the p s y c h o l o g i c a l impact of  i s presented as a d i s c r e t e  section;  f a c t o r s presented below pervade numerous areas, life,  career a s p i r a t i o n s ,  family l i f e ,  however,  the  i n c l u d i n g work  and r e l a t i o n s h i p s  with  partners. I n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia. C e n t r a l to the experience heterosexism situations well.  i s the emotional "wear and tear" r e s u l t i n g from such  as those d e s c r i b e d above,  For example,  repeatedly  of  and from many others  sadness and l o s s were themes that o c c u r r e d  i n the i n t e r v i e w s :  l o s s of important r e l a t i o n s h i p s  when f a m i l y members o r f r i e n d s d i d not understand; o r i f complete l o s s ,  as  not  d i s t a n c e between the l e s b i a n and the people  was formerly c l o s e t o ;  l o s s of job o p p o r t u n i t i e s ;  l o s s of  she time,  56 when some l e s b i a n s in l i f e ,  d i s c o v e r e d t h e i r true sexual o r i e n t a t i o n  not having r e a l i z e d that l i v i n g as a l e s b i a n was an  o p t i o n ; l o n e l i n e s s and i s o l a t i o n , or when she found h e r s e l f social  later  before a woman found s u p p o r t ,  to be the only l e s b i a n i n a work or  situation.  Fear was another theme: of p e o p l e ' s negative r e a c t i o n s , when the l e s b i a n was determined to remain t r u e to h e r s e l f hide her sexual  identity;  embarrassed, harassed, children,  or f r i e n d s ;  of being o s t r a c i z e d ,  even  and not  publicly  or p h y s i c a l l y a t t a c k e d ; of l o s i n g  family,  and of p o l i t i c a l backlash that might  i n the removal of the hard-won r i g h t s l e s b i a n s  result  and gay men have  thus f a r managed to r e c l a i m . The p a r t i c i p a n t s o f t e n d e s c r i b e d how f e e l i n g s of shame and i n s e c u r i t y r e s u l t e d from being t r e a t e d l i k e "Satan's Rae put i t .  Interviewees r e p o r t having f e l t  and misunderstood—even  spawn," as  invisible,  by t h e i r own p a r e n t s ,  who i n some cases  avoided t a l k i n g with them about t h e i r p e r s o n a l l i v e s , their relationships. themselves,  As a consequence,  especially  heterosexism.  the women tended to blame  Susan d e s c r i b e d how she had d i r e c t e d and s e l f - l o a t h i n g  She remembers f e e l i n g  lesbians,  hostility  inward toward  she was "a l o s e r " i n h i g h s c h o o l ,  because males d i d not show i n t e r e s t counselled  and ignored  i n the e a r l i e r phases of d e a l i n g with  outward toward the world, herself.  excluded,  i n h e r . Delyse,  who has  observed that some are apt to blame  themselves f o r v a r i o u s t r o u b l e s i n t h e i r l i v e s , r e l a t i o n s h i p s or i n mothering,  such as i n  t h i n k i n g the " f a i l u r e " i s due  to  57  t h e i r being l e s b i a n s . getting  Susan b e l i e v e d her former p a t t e r n of  i n t o abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p s was p a r t l y a r e s u l t of  t h a t because she was a l e s b i a n , with  she d i d not deserve  treated  respect. Hurt was another common emotion.  of  to be  feeling  Lee r e c a l l e d her  feelings  shock and b e t r a y a l at being abandoned by people she had  thought were good f r i e n d s .  Rae r e l a t e d her experience  to j o i n some female co-workers' c o n v e r s a t i o n about relationships,  it's  l i k e c o n t i n u a l r e j e c t i o n of y o u . " Susan  the p a i n of i s o l a t i o n she had f e l t  "Absolutely  their  and being t r e a t e d as i f she were c r a z y : " . . .  r e j e c t i o n of you, i t ' s expressed  of t r y i n g  i n high s c h o o l :  nobody wants me, heaven f o r b i d anybody would a c t u a l l y  wanna touch me . . . . " The  energy d r a i n . V i r t u a l l y a l l the women interviewed  r e f e r r e d . t o the energy i t took to d e a l with heterosexism. used the word "dailyness"  to d e s c r i b e the s t r u g g l e ,  to r e f a c e and r e f a c e and r e f a c e is  f u c k i n g wearing/"  "the having  that same s i t u a t i o n over,  She a l s o p o i n t e d out that l e s b i a n s  awarenesses"; that i s , and  protecting oneself,  are  having to jump i n t o someone e l s e ' s shoes heterosexual  and weigh one's words a c c o r d i n g l y . Along with much energy goes i n t o p r o t e c t i n g other  because of t h e i r own p r e j u d i c e , The  to  "multiple  back i n t o one's own, i n order to second-guess  people's reactions  which  need  be "more sure than everybody e l s e , " i n order to prove they j u s t as good. She spoke of the need to develop  Rae  people  she added.  energy spent d e c i d i n g what r i s k s to take was brought up  58 by almost a l l of the p a r t i c i p a n t s . When J u l i e and her p a r t n e r decided not to come out to some c o n s e r v a t i v e acquaintances but pretend they were f r i e n d s i n s t e a d , l o t of energy [the  took "a l o t of p l a n n i n g . A  Lee s a i d she took the t r o u b l e to "set  f a c t that she i s a l e s b i a n ]  friendship,  it  to  out  at the beginning" of a new  although she resented having to do so.  Denise  too,  when speaking of her d e s i r e to t e s t the l e v e l of comfort i n a work environment by coming out d u r i n g a job i n t e r v i e w , a similar feeling:  "It bugs me that I f e e l  expressed  l i k e I have to  say  it." P a r t i c i p a n t s f r e q u e n t l y expressed people's  f r u s t r a t i o n and anger at  ignorance or o p p r e s s i v e a t t i t u d e s .  anger simply at r e a l i z i n g , as Rae put i t , world works." Increased awareness  i s accompanied  For J u l i e , becoming p a r t of  i n j u s t i c e even more, because  she and her p a r t n e r d i d not have the o p t i o n of g e t t i n g r e c e i v i n g same-sex b e n e f i t s  feeling  that " t h i s i s how the  of heterosexism  by f i r s t - h a n d knowledge of i n j u s t i c e . a couple u n d e r l i n e d t h i s  Some r e p o r t e d  at t h e i r j o b s ,  she knew married,  and so on: " i t  hits  home. And I t h i n k that k i n d of makes you grow up  Rae  observed t h a t ,  attitudes,  lesbians  as a r e s u l t of e x p e r i e n c i n g o p p r e s s i v e  tend to develop "hyperawareness," or i n s i g h t i n t o  the  m u l t i p l e sources of o p p r e s s i o n that a l l m a r g i n a l i z e d i n d i v i d u a l s face. P o s i t i v e E f f e c t s of D e a l i n g with Heterosexism Although i t  i s p a i n f u l to r e a l i z e "how the world works," Rae  acknowledged that being a l e s b i a n has given her a "tougher  skin."  59 Also,  she commented that l e s b i a n s tend to become aware of ways i n  which they sometimes oppress o t h e r s ;  that i s ,  they can i d e n t i f y  o p p r e s s i v e behaviour because they have o f t e n been on the r e c e i v i n g end of  it.  Both l e s b i a n mothers commented on the atmosphere of  honesty  and r e s p e c t that pervades t h e i r households. Both have r e s o l v e d to teach t h e i r c h i l d r e n to be proud of who they are and who t h e i r parents a r e , and both recognize that openness and f l e x i b i l i t y i n g e n e r a l are important to developing a c c e p t i n g , attitudes.  Marg spoke of her e f f o r t s  non-oppressive  not to " c o n t r o l " her  c h i l d r e n j u s t f o r the sake of f e e l i n g powerful, w h i l e C h e r y l emphasized the importance of g i v i n g her c h i l d r e n " l o t s of c h o i c e s . " Both mothers a l s o expressed a w i l l i n g n e s s to v i r t u a l l y any t o p i c that i n t e r e s t e d t h e i r c h i l d r e n ,  discuss  from  s e x u a l i t y t o v i o l e n c e to AIDS. In my c o n f i r m a t i o n s e s s i o n with Rae, I showed her my c h a r t with dozens of " p o s t - i t " notes d e t a i l i n g the negative heterosexism,  impact of  and only a few i n d i c a t i n g p o s i t i v e impact. She took  a p o s t - i t of her own and added: "freedom; l e s s r e s t r i c t e d i n choices/behaviour  ( i f y o u ' r e a l r e a d y out on a l i m b ) . "  Causal and P e r p e t u a t i n g C o n d i t i o n s Although the e f f e c t s of heterosexism were e x p l o r e d more deeply i n t h i s r e s e a r c h than the causes, r e g a r d i n g p o s s i b l e causes:  two themes emerged  f e a r of d i f f e r e n c e ,  dominant, p r i v i l e g e d group f o r c o n t r o l .  and d e s i r e of a  The former was expressed  60  by the remark "I t h i n k being d i f f e r e n t  . . . somehow  scares  p e o p l e . " The l a t t e r was expressed v a r i o u s l y as "white male dominance," " p o l i t i c i a n s who . . . impose t h e i r p e r s o n a l ...  beliefs  on thousands and thousands of p e o p l e , " and power over  lesbians'  money ( i n the work world) and over t h e i r bodies  that they are sometimes  (in  i n danger of p h y s i c a l a t t a c k ) .  Regarding f a c t o r s that perpetuate heterosexism,  one  mentioned by n e a r l y a l l the p a r t i c i p a n t s (when asked what meaning the word "heterosexism" had f o r them) was the assumption t h a t everyone i s h e t e r o s e x u a l . d e v a l u i n g of a l t e r n a t i v e s ,  Accompanying t h i s assumption i s some p a r t i c i p a n t s observed. The  problem was seen not simply as one of negative name-calling,  the  stereotypes  but a l s o of i g n o r i n g the e x i s t e n c e of  by f a i l i n g to p r o v i d e i n f o r m a t i o n about i t .  homosexuality  Examples g i v e n were  the absence of r o l e models f o r l e s b i a n and gay youth, the of books about homosexuality i n s c h o o l l i b r a r i e s , such books f o r youth i n the f i r s t p l a c e ,  and  absence  the s c a r c i t y of  the omission of  and gays from t e l e v i s i o n shows and commercials, and the  lesbians exclusion  of the t o p i c of homosexuality i n classroom d i s c u s s i o n . S e v e r a l p a r t i c i p a n t s s t a t e d that they had had no awareness, when growing up, that a c h o i c e  existed:  . . . I grew up b e l i e v i n g I was s t r a i g h t and that there was no other way to be . . . . I guess that i s heterosexism . . . . A l l I ever heard was, "Damn f e m i n i s t l e s b i a n b i t c h ! " T h a t ' s what I grew up with from, from my dad . . . . You c o u l d be bombarded d a i l y with . . . heterosexuals k i s s i n g and e v e r y t h i n g but you never, ever saw (pause) . . . two women.  61 I never thought of l e s b i a n s , r e a l l y . I t was never mentioned i n our home, there was nobody that I knew that were lesbians . . .  . . . i t ' s always assumed t h a t y o u ' l l f o l l o w the t r a d i t i o n a l p a t t e r n . . . of f a m i l y as d e f i n e d by s o c i e t y , that you w i l l get m a r r i e d ' o r l i v e with somebody of the o p p o s i t e sex and, you know, perhaps have c h i l d r e n and j u s t do what everybody e l s e does, what's c o n v e n t i o n a l , what's accepted, and take the route t h a t ' s b a s i c a l l y covered by law . . . Thus the p o s s i b i l i t y of being a l e s b i a n was v i r t u a l l y  erased,  w h i l e h e t e r o s e x u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s and f a m i l y models were h e l d up as the o n l y l e g i t i m a t e ones. Some p a r t i c i p a n t s mentioned b e i n g pressured to have a b o y f r i e n d ,  or to marry and have c h i l d r e n .  Another damaging, unconscious assumption was c i t e d by J u l i e : that homosexuality i s a sexual o r i e n t a t i o n (with emphasis on "sexual")  while h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y  i s n o t . As a r e s u l t ,  lesbians  stand out as "other," and the aspects of sexual a t t r a c t i o n and sexual a c t i v i t y are overemphasized. T h i s d i s t o r t i o n i n t u r n r e s u l t s i n the harmful b e l i e f s  t h a t homosexuals are c h i l d  molesters or that there must be a sexual component to r e l a t i o n s h i p s between l e s b i a n and gay parents and t h e i r c h i l d r e n . These f e a r s and mistaken b e l i e f s  were seen to pervade a l l  major s o c i e t a l i n s t i t u t i o n s . Most f r e q u e n t l y mentioned by p a r t i c i p a n t s were the education system, structure,  the work world,  law, p o l i t i c s , medicine.  the t r a d i t i o n a l f a m i l y  and the media. A l s o noted were the  r e l i g i o n , the economic system,  In the f o l l o w - u p s e s s i o n s ,  and s c i e n c e and  the women confirmed the i d e a  t h a t these i n s t i t u t i o n s served both to shape and to perpetuate  62 heterosexism. The e f f e c t s of heterosexism then feed i n t o i t s For i n s t a n c e ,  continuance.  C h e r y l commented that because s o c i e t y  l e s b i a n mothers by l e g a l s a n c t i o n s ,  negative  punishes  stereotypes,  and  l a c k of support, many l e s b i a n s choose not to have a f a m i l y even if  they want one. The net e f f e c t  is s t i l l a relative rarity,  is  that the l e s b i a n - b a s e d f a m i l y  and the popular view of l e s b i a n s  not being f a m i l y - o r i e n t e d i s maintained. More g e n e r a l l y , as l e s b i a n s  feel  as long  compelled to l i e about t h e i r sexual o r i e n t a t i o n  f o r the sake of s o c i a l , invisibility  as  economic, or p h y s i c a l s a f e t y ,  i s perpetuated and h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y  their  continues to be  seen as the only v a l i d way of b e i n g .  Intervening Conditions During the course of the i n t e r v i e w s , t h a t served to answer the q u e s t i o n ,  i n f o r m a t i o n emerged  "What f a c t o r s make the  experience of heterosexism d i f f e r e n t f o r i n d i v i d u a l  lesbians?"  Although t h i s m a t e r i a l was not explored i n depth, i t seems important to present i t ,  since i t  further illuminates  the  s o c i o p o l i t i c a l context of the problem. Many women, f o r  instance,  spoke of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of s o c i a l support i n c o n f r o n t i n g heterosexist  attitudes  or i n c i d e n t s . For some,  c o n s i s t e d of " a l l i e s " i n t h e i r f a m i l i e s ;  t h i s support  f o r some,  h e t e r o s e x u a l and l e s b i a n f r i e n d s ; f o r some,  both  a p a r t n e r as w e l l ;  and f o r many, a network of f r i e n d s w i t h i n the l e s b i a n community. Rae emphasized the d i f f e r e n c e that race and s o c i a l  class  63  make, and the corresponding degree of p r i v i l e g e i n v o l v e d . gave as an example the s e l e c t i o n environment, resources  of a nonheterosexist  She  work  an o p t i o n normally open only to those with f i n a n c i a l  and a reasonably high l e v e l of e d u c a t i o n .  Susan c i t e d  her s t r i c t r e l i g i o u s u p b r i n g i n g , which i n c l u d e d the p o r t r a y a l o f homosexuals  as e v i l ,  as c o n t r i b u t i n g to her s e l f - h a t r e d .  Lee  p o i n t e d out that geographic l o c a t i o n makes a d i f f e r e n c e ; c i t i e s tend to have p o s i t i v e issues,  media coverage of l e s b i a n and gay  thus i n c r e a s i n g p u b l i c  Regarding the work world, reference  awareness. s e v e r a l p a r t i c i p a n t s made  to the o v e r a l l a t t i t u d e s  other s t a f f  larger  of management,  t h e i r boss, and  members, as w e l l as to the number of openly gay  staff  members and the type of j o b . A t t i t u d e s i n the workplace ranged from those of an o r g a n i z a t i o n Denise worked f o r whose mandate was to move toward s o c i a l change, sexuality  i n c l u d i n g addressing such i s s u e s  and r a c i s m , to those of a s o c i a l s e r v i c e s o u t f i t  Rae went f o r an i n t e r v i e w :  she l a t e r found out the  had f i r e d s e v e r a l l e s b i a n s  because they were seen as  makers." (She found t h i s expected  staff  fact especially  as  where  organization "trouble-  disturbing since  she had  at a human s e r v i c e s o r g a n i z a t i o n to uphold—at  least nominally—nondiscriminatory p o l i c i e s . )  Places with a  s t r o n g union and same-sex b e n e f i t s were seen as l e s s h e t e r o s e x i s t environments, initiatives  as were places with p r o g r e s s i v e  such as p r o f e s s i o n a l development  educational workshops.  A number of f a c t o r s were brought up i n r e l a t i o n to attributes  of the heterosexual  the  people with whom a l e s b i a n  64  interacts,  and the nature of her r e l a t i o n s h i p with them. Often  mentioned was the degree of d e n i a l or openness i n her f a m i l y , with some f a m i l y members t y p i c a l l y being more a c c e p t i n g of l e s b i a n f a m i l y member than o t h e r s . believes that, children,  regarding a lesbian's  gender i s a f a c t o r .  heterosexual  Cheryl,  the  a l e s b i a n mother,  r e l a t i o n s h i p s with her  She gave the o p i n i o n that male  c h i l d r e n i n p a r t i c u l a r were l i k e l y to become  less  a c c e p t i n g of l e s b i a n parents when they reach t h e i r teens. Other f a c t o r s b e a r i n g on a l e s b i a n ' s heterosexuals accordingly,  relationships  with  i n c l u d e how much contact she has with them (and how much openness may or may not be n e c e s s a r y ) ,  how  c l o s e a r e l a t i o n s h i p she has with them, and how h i g h l y she regards them. According to p a r t i c i p a n t s , whether  heterosexuals  a r e — o r can become—accepting depends p a r t l y on m a t u r i t y l e v e l and degree of l i f e to be c h a l l e n g e d , and  experience,  p a r t l y on w i l l i n g n e s s  and p a r t l y on a person's  l e v e l of  to l e a r n and self-esteem  flexibility. Another set  lesbian herself: attributes.  of " i n t e r v e n i n g c o n d i t i o n s " r e l a t e s her s i t u a t i o n ,  For i n s t a n c e ,  her e x p e r i e n c e s ,  to  and her p e r s o n a l  Denise e x p l a i n e d that because  i n a p o s i t i o n of a u t h o r i t y at work, and was t h e r e f o r e having power,  the  she was  seen as  she was not d i r e c t l y confronted with h e t e r o s e x i s t  comments or a t t i t u d e s  when she came o u t .  Moreover, she  believed  the degree of r e s p e c t her co-workers had f o r her before she came out helped to smooth her way. C h e r y l observed that a l e s b i a n ' s  experience of  heterosexism  65  differs  depending on whether she has c h i l d r e n .  For i n s t a n c e ,  she  conveyed a s t r o n g sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to pass on nonoppressive  attitudes  view of l e s b i a n s I interviewed,  to her c h i l d r e n .  She a l s o c i t e d the popular  as poor mothers. Marg,  often  the other l e s b i a n mother  f e l t the need to help her c h i l d r e n d e a l with  h e t e r o s e x i s t comments and behaviours of o t h e r s , school  especially  peers.  During the confirmatory s e s s i o n s ,  p a r t i c i p a n t s commented on  the d i f f i c u l t y of p i n p o i n t i n g p e r s o n a l a t t r i b u t e s different identify  experience  since  it  is  to what degree any a t t r i b u t e contributes  heterosexism, however,  f o r each l e s b i a n ,  and to what degree i t  is  that c r e a t e a impossible  to  to d e a l i n g with  shaped by i t .  In g e n e r a l ,  r e f e r e n c e was made to how "out" a l e s b i a n i s when  confronted with any given h e t e r o s e x i s t i n c i d e n t or circumstance; what cumulative experiences  of oppression or other forms of  a d v e r s i t y she may have had and how she d e a l t with such i n the p a s t ; others  how much n u r t u r i n g she r e c e i v e d from her f a m i l y or  i n her environment; and how s t a b l e and p o s i t i v e  i d e n t i t y she has, life  situations  b e s i d e s her  a sense of  as d e r i v e d from other important aspects of her sexuality.  P a r t I I : D e a l i n g with  Heterosexism  Toward a Grounded Theory: Two P r e l i m i n a r y Models Originally, expected  I intended to c r e a t e a s i n g l e  model, which I  to show to p a r t i c i p a n t s f o r v a l i d a t i o n , change a c c o r d i n g  to t h e i r s u g g e s t i o n s ,  and present as the c e n t r a l p a r t of  this  66  thesis.  However, d u r i n g the l i v e l y focus group s e s s i o n ,  the model  I began with underwent a major change i n s t r u c t u r e , r e s u l t i n g i n a second model. Since both models are p r e c u r s o r s to a t h i r d model, which combines aspects of the f i r s t two models and p a r t l y expresses my grounded theory,  I w i l l d e s c r i b e here how each model  came about. Development of Model 1 In order to c o n s t r u c t Model 1: Lesbian Transformations i n D e a l i n g with Heterosexism,  I followed the p r a c t i c e of  c a t e g o r i z i n g the data i n t o core c a t e g o r i e s  and subcategories  as  o u t l i n e d by Strauss and C o r b i n (1990). My g o a l was to o u t l i n e a g e n e r a l evolution heterosexism,  i n the ways i n which l e s b i a n s d e a l t with  since i t  seemed c l e a r that p a r t i c i p a n t s '  and stances had changed over time. Thus,  the r e s u l t was a model  that t r a c e d a path of how women progress from p a s s i v e defensive  to a c t i v i s t  strategies  to  stances i n d e a l i n g with heterosexism  they become s t r o n g e r i n themselves.  as  In d e v e l o p i n g the model, I  attempted to keep foremost i n mind the importance of u s i n g o n l y i n f o r m a t i o n e l i c i t e d from i n t e r v i e w e e s .  Where p o s s i b l e ,  I used  t h e i r exact words; t h i s p r a c t i c e i s r e f l e c t e d i n c a t e g o r i e s  like  "Take Me or Leave Me" and "No Room i n my L i f e , " and i n such subcategories  as " P u t t i n g up and s h u t t i n g up" and " C a l l i n g  Model 1 c o n s i s t s I. II. III.  of f i v e themes:  Hiding P r e p a r i n g to Come Out A s s e r t i n g Awareness of Being a Lesbian ( o r i g i n a l l y c a l l e d " S e l f - F o c u s s e d Coping")  it."  'Figure 1  Themes i and II and their categories  89  69 IV.  Activism ( o r i g i n a l l y c a l l e d "Other-Focussed Coping")  V. A Nonheterosexist All  Society  themes except the l a s t one are comprised of the  actual  s t r a t e g i e s and approaches of the women i n t e r v i e w e d .  The f i f t h  theme,  that  "A Nonheterosexist  Society," reflects  ideals  are  valued by p a r t i c i p a n t s and that have informed t h e i r responses heterosexism.  to  I t c o n s i s t s of suggestions the p a r t i c i p a n t s had as  to how s o c i e t y i n g e n e r a l ,  i n c l u d i n g gays and l e s b i a n s ,  should  work toward d i s m a n t l i n g i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d o p p r e s s i o n of  lesbians  and gays—and by i m p l i c a t i o n , how i t  stance  should c o r r e c t i t s  toward other oppressed groups. All  themes are f u r t h e r d i v i d e d i n t o three to e i g h t  categories.  The c a t e g o r i e s of themes I I I and IV are f u r t h e r  d i v i d e d i n t o an average of f i v e  subcategories,  began the model c o n s t r u c t i o n a f t e r  or elements.  the t h i r d i n t e r v i e w ,  continued to expand the model as I completed more The process by which I e s t a b l i s h e d categories,  connections  I  and  interviews.  between themes,  and elements i n c l u d e d making changes as my way of  t h i n k i n g about the data changed,  and adding new p i e c e s of  i n f o r m a t i o n from p a r t i c i p a n t s d u r i n g v a l i d a t i o n s e s s i o n s . The path d e s c r i b e d by Model 1 i s not meant to be linear;  strictly  i t only approximates the t r a j e c t o r y of the women's  experiences,  seen c o l l e c t i v e l y .  For t h i s reason,  I chose a  somewhat amorphously shaped layout f o r the model: some of women have used some of the s t r a t e g i e s i n some of the and the r e s u l t  i s a composite of these. N e v e r t h e l e s s ,  the  categories, there d i d  70  seem to be an e v o l u t i o n from l e s s to more e f f e c t i v e ways of coping,  as the f o l l o w i n g excerpts  illustrate:  . . . I ' v e . . . l e a r n e d to compromise a b i t ? L i k e I t h i n k when I f i r s t came out, you k i n d of go through that f i r s t coming out phase where y o u ' r e t o t a l l y , l i k e (pause, then e m p h a t i c a l l y : ) I t ' s g o t t a be this way, t h i s way, t h i s way, t h i s way! Everybody's g o t t a accept me, i t ' s gonna be g r e a t , and i f they d o n ' t accept me, screw them, b l a h b l a h b l a h . . . . But I t h i n k , through work and (pause) growing . . . a b i t o l d e r . . . j u s t a few more years of experience i n being out, and j u s t who I am, I t h i n k I ' v e l e a r n e d to n e g o t i a t e t h i n g s a b i t more? And l e a r n i n g t h a t , l i k e , I want change to happen, [but] i t might not happen r i g h t now.  . . . i t gets b e t t e r as I get o l d e r . I used to get r e a l l y angry or r e a l l y , you know, upset and j u s t say "Yeah? Well fuck you too!" . . . And now, i t ' s l i k e , w e l l god, you know, how human of them . . .  . . . maybe t h e y ' r e c u r i o u s ! R i g h t , I can s t a r t to t h i n k i n a d i f f e r e n t way. You know? L i k e , and a c t u a l l y f e e l proud t h a t t h e y ' r e l o o k i n g at me. Right? . . . . T h a t ' s been more my experience r e c e n t l y . I t ' s , "Yeah! Look at me!" You know? "I am with a woman! And t h a t ' s d i f f e r e n t , i s n ' t i t ? " You know, and i t ' s l i k e , not coming from a (pause) f e a r p l a c e ! I t ' s coming from, "Why wouldn't they l o o k ? " . . . You know, they . . . probably haven't seen many women walking down the s t r e e t h o l d i n g hands together l i k e t h i s , r i g h t ? . . . And so, it's kinda t h i n k i n g of (pause) d i f f e r e n t kinda p o s s i b i l i t i e s that are not informed by f e a r . Given the nature of the changes d e s c r i b e d here and i n o t h e r interviews,  I felt  the general t r a n s f o r m a t i o n had to do with  i n c r e a s e d a b i l i t y to i m a g i n a t i v e l y take the p a r t of the with whom one i s d e a l i n g ,  as w e l l as to take t h i n g s  p e r s o n a l l y and r e a l i z e p e o p l e ' s l i m i t a t i o n s . p a r t i c i p a n t s as l e a d i n g to more e f f e c t i v e experience,  person  less  F a c t o r s c i t e d by  s t r a t e g i e s were age,  working through i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia, and becoming  more comfortable with o n e s e l f .  Because the process  of working  71 through i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia was i m p l i e d i n much of  the  i n t e r v i e w m a t e r i a l and confirmed as important i n v a l i d a t i o n sessions,  I p l a c e d i t as a l i n k between Themes I I I and IV ( " S e l f -  Focussed Coping" and "Other-Focussed C o p i n g " ) . "A Nonheterosexist Society" represented the endpoint of t h i s model.  Development of Model 2 When I had completed Model 1, participants,  I showed i t  to a l l  three i n d i v i d u a l l y and the other f i v e  i n a focus  group. As mentioned, d u r i n g the focus group the model underwent a s i g n i f i c a n t change.  First,  i t was p o i n t e d out that  "identifying  and working through i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia" does not occur at any one p o i n t i n a l e s b i a n ' s lifetime.  life,  but takes p l a c e throughout her  I t was f u r t h e r recognized that the same c o u l d be s a i d  f o r the processes of "Seeking Support" and "Releasing Emotions," which I had designated as c a t e g o r i e s Coping" theme.  w i t h i n the  "Self-Focussed  There was a l s o d i s c u s s i o n of whether "Coming Out"  c o u l d r e a l l y be regarded as a d i s c r e t e  category,  since  several  women f e l t  they came out r e p e a t e d l y to new people and i n v a r i o u s  situations  throughout t h e i r  lives.  During the focus group, "Self-Focussed Coping" was changed to " A s s e r t i n g Awareness of Being a L e s b i a n , " s i n c e , agreed,  the group  the behaviours a s s o c i a t e d with t h i s theme were a n a t u r a l  c o n t i n u a t i o n of those connected with Themes I and I I ,  "Hiding,"  and "Preparing to Come O u t . " The most s i g n i f i c a n t  change o c c u r r e d when a d i s c u s s i o n  took  72 p l a c e about the "evolutionary"—and t h e r e f o r e s t r u c t u r e of my model. While some women f e l t  hierarchical— the path I had l a i d  out r e f l e c t e d t h e i r experience a c c u r a t e l y , others f e l t linear, That i s ,  i t was too  and h i n t e d that i t had a p r e s c r i p t i v e q u a l i t y about a c c o r d i n g to my scheme,  i t seemed that some  it.  strategies  f o r d e a l i n g with heterosexism were i n h e r e n t l y "better" than others,  and that t h e i r order of placement along the path  r e f l e c t e d a judgment. D i s c u s s i o n at times turned i n t o somewhat intense—though I b e l i e v e not h o s t i l e — a r g u m e n t . The placement of "Attacking Back" i n an e a r l i e r phase than "Confronting," for instance, felt  was q u e s t i o n e d .  Some p a r t i c i p a n t s  t h a t t h i s placement was c o r r e c t , saying that a t t a c k i n g was  an i n s e c u r e stance,  whereas c o n f r o n t i n g d e r i v e d from f e e l i n g s  s e l f - w o r t h and s e l f - e n t i t l e m e n t . strategies  Others f e l t  such as g e t t i n g angry, a r g u i n g ,  that  of  because  or i n t i m i d a t i n g an  a t t a c k e r were o f t e n necessary or a p p r o p r i a t e , they were no l e s s "evolved" than s t r a t e g i e s  i n the "Confronting" c a t e g o r y . One  p a r t i c i p a n t o b j e c t e d to the category name "Attacking Back," i n that i t automatically implied defensiveness.  For t h i s reason,  category appears i n Model 2 as " F i g h t i n g Back," which I i m p l i e d an a c t i v e stance,  the  felt  but not n e c e s s a r i l y h o s t i l e or  vindictive. A f t e r much b a c k - a n d - f o r t h r e g a r d i n g the i m p l i c a t i o n s of an e v o l u t i o n a r y s t r u c t u r e , someone suggested l a i d out i n a c i r c l e ,  that the s t r a t e g i e s  be  on "spokes" of a wheel, with "A  Nonheterosexist Society" i n the c e n t r e . T h i s way, the i m p l i c a t i o n  74 that any one s t r a t e g y was b e t t e r than another c o u l d be done away with,  along with the i d e a that a l e s b i a n t y p i c a l l y went through  a s e r i e s of phases i n a p a r t i c u l a r o r d e r . The c i r c l e emphasized the f a c t that nonheterosexist  i d e a l s c o u l d be approached from any  number o f e q u a l l y v a l i d a n g l e s . one s t r a t e g y  A l e s b i a n t y p i c a l l y moved from  to another depending on the s i t u a t i o n .  Some women  a l s o agreed that the c i r c u l a r s t r u c t u r e allowed room f o r more and d i f f e r e n t s t r a t e g i e s than the ones that emerged from my interviews;  that i s ,  the number of spokes c o u l d e a s i l y  be  expanded to accommodate an i n f i n i t e number of approaches, stemming from an i n f i n i t e number of p h i l o s o p h i e s or p e r s o n a l styles. I t was f u r t h e r proposed t h a t "Hiding" and "Preparing to Come Out" l e a d i n t o the wheel,  s i n c e the d e c i s i o n to come out  tantamount to committing o n e s e l f situations  is  to d e a l i n g with a t t i t u d e s  r e s u l t i n g from heterosexism,  or "entering the  Another woman suggested t h a t the c o n t i n u i n g p r o c e s s e s ,  and  wheel."  such as  i d e n t i f y i n g and working through i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia, be p l a c e d around the circumference of the wheel.  T h i s change would  s o l v e the problem of such processes being misrepresented e v o l u t i o n a r y phases o r segments t h e r e o f ;  instead,  shown as always r e l e v a n t to every l e s b i a n , approach to  as  they would be  r e g a r d l e s s of her  heterosexism.  In a subsequent,  one-to-one v a l i d a t i o n meeting,  a  p a r t i c i p a n t p o i n t e d out that the g o a l s i n c l u d e d i n Theme V were not simply about s t r i v i n g f o r a nonheterosexist  society,  but  75  about c r e a t i n g a more egalitarian achieve  society;  that i s ,  working to  these goals was u l t i m a t e l y a c o n t r i b u t i o n to promoting  acceptance endpoint,  of d i f f e r e n c e  T h e r e f o r e , i n Model 2 the  or centre of the c i r c l e , has been r e l a b e l l e d "A More  Egalitarian The  generally.  Society."  l a s t p a r t i c i p a n t with whom I met f o r a v a l i d a t i o n  s e s s i o n p r e f e r r e d the f i r s t model to the second,  because  she  b e l i e v e d the process of l e a r n i n g to d e a l with heterosexism evolutionary.  was  She added that she d i d not understand how such  s t r a t e g i e s as "Being v i o l e n t , "  "Being v i n d i c t i v e , " or "Choosing  not to come out" c o u l d be i n t e r p r e t e d as l e a d i n g toward a more egalitarian society; oneself  she f e l t  they had more to do with p r o t e c t i n g  than about t a k i n g s o c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t i v e a c t i o n .  we d i s c u s s e d  a l t e r n a t e models that would r e f l e c t  for  two separate  example,  however,  that t h i s  circles,  or a s p i r a l .  this  Together,  concept:  We agreed,  type of r e s t r u c t u r i n g would s t i l l  involve  making c h o i c e s about which s t r a t e g i e s were more "progressive"  or  evolved than o t h e r s . When, over the phone,. I d e s c r i b e d the problem to one of p a r t i c i p a n t s who had been at the focus belief  session,  the  she s t a t e d her  that what had happened d u r i n g the focus group was p a r t l y a  r e f l e c t i o n of " p o l i t i c a l c o r r e c t n e s s " :  that i s ,  everyone had been  attempting to be " f a i r " by not p l a c i n g one way of coping above another, of  i n accordance with a l e s b i a n f e m i n i s t  ethical principle  doing away with h i e r a r c h y . When I l a t e r spoke by phone to another p a r t i c i p a n t who had  76  attended the focus  session,  I d i s c o v e r e d that she had agreed with  my f i r s t model. She b e l i e v e d her way of d e a l i n g with had e v o l v e d ,  becoming more e f f e c t i v e over t i m e — p a r t l y because  she had become more c o n f i d e n t because she was b e t t e r  i n her s e x u a l i t y ,  need not be seen as "better" increased  In her view,  than another,  words  one stage  but simply as a s i g n  awareness.  In her view, it  and p a r t l y  equipped v e r b a l l y to f i n d e f f e c t i v e  and phrases to oppose h e t e r o s e x i s t i d e a s .  of  heterosexism  another drawback to the c i r c u l a r model was  seemed to imply an "endpoint"  (i.e.,  the m i d d l e ) , or  to go," whereas my f i r s t model, which was more l i n e a r ,  that  "nowhere seemed to  allow room f o r growth i n the form of new s t a g e s .  Model 3 and Statement o f Grounded Theory In weighing what v a r i o u s p a r t i c i p a n t s had s a i d , t h a t the two models each had unique s t r e n g t h s .  I concluded  Therefore, I  c r e a t e d a t h i r d model that I hoped would combine the best features base, of  of the f i r s t  two. Model 3 r e t a i n s  an "evolutionary"  s i n c e a l l p a r t i c i p a n t s seemed to i n d i c a t e that t h e i r ways  d e a l i n g with heterosexism  However, i t s  had become more e f f e c t i v e over  s p i r a l s t r u c t u r e may b e t t e r  nonprescriptive,  represent a  n o n l i n e a r p a t t e r n ; one that i m p l i e s  v a r i o u s approaches or stances are at times r e v i s i t e d . a l s o allows  time.  that The s p i r a l  f o r a d d i t i o n a l phases or stances to be p l a c e d  anywhere along i t ,  thus e l i m i n a t i n g the problem of "nowhere  to  77  CO rH TJ  -U  c  0 X0  0  u o  z  c  Hrj  0  Cn  4-1 r4  o  •H 0  4J  4-4  0  CD CO  0  4->  D  C cn 0 cn c c ^ C to  o c •H  CO 0 0 X  C  O  u  0  c  U  CD TJ rH -H  -H 3 X ! > 4-1 CO (0 CD CO  j-> 0 ux  as  CU  CD  o  C  CD  CD (-1 4-> 4-1 rd CO 4-4 cd rH -H rH CO CO 4-1 -H -U O  cn  •H -H CO  O O  o  CO  D 0 E  TJ  X o G D CC rd O TJ D l-i 0 C X NI  -H i H -H rH  >  4-4 0 cd -H 4-)  C 0  TJ H  c -H  c S-i 0  r4 4->  0 G 5 H  (-4 0  s  0 0 4-> 4J 4->  4-1 4-1  a o D c •H e  3 3 0 0  4-1  rd  CO H  0 Cn CnX) C C E •H -H 0 S E E 0 0 U U  0  u  4-> 3 O  4-> M O Q Q 3 CO  a  Cn C  G •H  E 0 CJ  0 0  •H  C  CO  CD •H  r4 TJ  o u o a O > X c <, CD -H e 5  cd  -H CD 4-> 4-1 -H  C U <C  X  X  o  u  >.  rd 3 cd Cn G  •H rH  rd  CO  -U  •H G 3 •H E H CO E 4-1 TJ O C O M rH 0 0 rd -H G G 3 S-i rd 4J X 4-1 -H u 0 JQ rd CO C CO O ro 0 H - H H co 0 X) 4-> CO 0 0 0 0 X! G X -H 4-> O TJ C 0  TJ >H C H 0 -H -H e u ro 44 4-4  03 Cn O 0  CO  H Cn •H TJ C TJ  CO  rd -H X 0 X  CO  x a x ; cn O C CO CJ CD G l-i C -H c o 01-H 0 -D 0 Cn O C CO Cn cn rd •H •H C fd -H CO G TJ 0 rd  4-i  •H 4-> CD  78  c o o c (d O 4-i x X 4-1 -H o 0  0 > E -H O 4-1 O (0 Cn O CD 4-1 G  c  "Z.  4-4 4-4  3 O  V4 0  E E O O H M 4-4 4-4  CO  C 0  u 0  M O 5 1 0 O  u  -H 4-1  co Cu rd (-4 0 X  4-1  E E E E 0 0 0 0 H u u u 4-4 4-4 4-f 4-1  CD Cn C cd  0 E W  D C  -H CO  rd 0  rH  0  E  U CO  3 cd Cn 0 O C E u -H 3 co CO X CO  Cn c C -H 0 -H ^  CO  >HrH  Cn cn  G -H c  H  DJ-H  t-4 rd X CO CO U En W D 3  4J  3  O  4-1 CO rH  0  g 0  4->  TJ H C r cO cd a 0 3 3 4-> X Ch G 0 3 Cn -H  tJ> C  •H  TJ  VJ  SC H  o w e  Cn 0 CnH C Cn U C 4-1 -HG0-H4-)  'O-i^^, H  -H cn O 4-> X; p C £ 3 «1  < CC  :  u 0 4->  c  •H  V4 td  Q , 0  ® u  c(iiu H H  CO r4  0  X 4-> o  0  G CO cn0 CO c  0  CO •H  0  G: o 0  4-1  O  CO 0 'H 4-1  0  w 0 C  4-1 H  rd E CO  0  c G  4->  Cn-u 3 cd G 0 0 a  -H 0 4-> •H •H  G o  CO  cd  44  i—1 0  CO  G  0 (-1 0 Cn cd S-4 E cd l-i 1—1 0 4-1 cd  •H 4-)  0 rH c l-i G (0 -H 0 4-1 0 0 3 X Cn Cn 4-1 G rdr dcC G Cnn 00 CG4 - ) C Cnn 0 CC Cn G CCn nC 0G n>s -H 0 rH •H H -H 3 c -H C -H C O -H G -U 3 -H C Cc Hrd -H W C CO G -H TJ •H rH a 4 -0 > -H > cd • — • CO > E E (0 cdc 0d O 0 0 X) X -rH lGC > > O 0 0 > -H C-HO O> E E0( O aCO rJ O O W Cn co  X  rH  s  0  O  3 ro  >i  79  0) C CD •rl ro • — 1 O C ro H O 0 0 -H D u M P T ) W : TJ 0 CD 4J i—I E ><H C (fl -H JJ ro -rl 43 0 -H J J 4T, X U JC CO --I 3 J-> d) JJ CD rO O W UH M 3 In 0 O C CO 3 X UH CD U - H M H 4 J (1) O £ 0) 3 J-> CD CJ CO -U 4J . O J J 4 3 T J 3 CO ro d) -rt C D i O h W h U Xi J J 0 - H E J J O CD C (0 E t-i co JO ; 0 0 4J CD 3 E CD S ; 1 ( J H H > i 0 3 W U  u) M rj\ h  - H aJ ro (0 J J CD E (0 M Cn 4J J-i iH O (0 U CD a CO H -H W O -U T) O J J Hi H H H rO 3 CJ 4JDMX3SaCD(OU 0 0 3 3 0 X VH <  s£  H  1  c o o 0  u crO  JJ  w  >  •rl JJ  0 (0 0  u  JJ  c o o  >  -CD  c  CD ro CD  u 0 CD 2 CD  4* (0  -  c  JJ  ra  0  c o  DJ E  0  U  0 rl 0  4J CO cn  c  •rl JJ  u  D C -H  4J c 0  u  CD  UJ  CD OS  0  -r-i  c  C  -  o  in  >. 1  CO 1H 0  0  a  40->  3 -H rO J J j J rO CO c - r l ro E C O i—13 rH 0 CL,JJ rH ro U X fO CJ 0 E •H 0 -H JJ > H 4J J J -H •H ( O H 3 rH co O 3 Cn 4J •rl O O T J CO - H C a CD rO cn C - H Cn cn > a o to c c C CnrH = rH - H - H •H C 0 Cn rO rH 4^ - H > Cn Cn 3 - H rH tO J J c c -H a CD J J - r l- H - H > E CO CO - H 0 u a CD D D O U o  >4  JJ •H  0  01 c  -H JJ rO  O  3 TJ W  4J  0  w  >i  = 0 0 J J TJ -H 3 - H 4J 0£ U CD J J 0 MJ •H J J iw (0 Cn cn O C C Cn •H •H - H C rH J J CO - H J J JJ 3 3 3 0 yj 0 a CO CD 4T. OS CO  0 •O 0 £ «j  a  •rl  2  >  CO CD  4* CJ  w 0 >  •H  JJ  u  Mn  fO  u c JJ  -0  4* o  U 0  JJ 4J tO  (0 CQ  cn c  O C  cn cnTj  -H JJ  43 D •H  rO  c c  0  > JJ 4J cn c u C 0 -H -Hi—1 T J 4J 0 3 ro -H - H -H  > >  •H •rl •H E Cn cn 3 3 -H 3 C 0 CTI4J -H -rl 43 (H C 0 0 CO < H CQ CQ  •H >  2 C  -H E 0 0 OS 0  s  rH 3 rH 4J rO -H 3 JJ 0 CO •rl 3  JJ -H -H  T J JJ rO CO  H JJ  cn 3  -H TJ •rl 0 >  <  c  0 4 J E 4J 3 3 CO 0 O •H £5 M X 0 ro -H > CO 0 3 o > 0 CD -H  u  CO a -H jz; CO 3 0 •H  CO 4J 0 tO rH r -H -H 43 X 0 TJ JJ 0 CO rH 3 SH H 0 cn Cn 0 w 3 0 0 0 CO CO 3 rH CT1J3 3 iH•r-i -H a c -H 0 JJ cn 0 TJ 0 -H 3 rl 3 3 JJ -H 0 JJ 0 0 0 •H o 0 JJ r 0> 0 > 43 3 00 CQ  JJ 4* JJ O SH 0 0 0  Ch  <  0 rH JQ "rl CO •H > Cn C -rl 0 CQ  0 TJ O E 0 rH O Ij  o c o o  CO -H  E  cn c  CO o c  JJ  C 0  CO 0  co u aTj  O 0 rH 3 (0' CO CT U 4 *  x;  to u  rH -H J3 CJ CD  c  - H CO cn a o cn o CO J J C 3 3 3 cn rl -rl CJ> -rl Cn o o 0 3 0 - H (H 3 C 3 CnjJ - H U J J CO rO C (0 - H C SH H CJ 3 0 n > 3 0 CQ o < Q OH w T J n£  u  80 To my mind, to oneself in  some s t r a t e g i e s appear to r e f l e c t  responsibility  more than r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to others—such as  some r i s k y or uncomfortable s i t u a t i o n s ,  choosing,  not to come out,  or  d e c i d i n g to ignore h e t e r o s e x i s t comments i n order to save energy. Such s t r a t e g i e s comprise the c a t e g o r i e s  "Protect S e l f  and/or  C h i l d r e n " and "Choose to Ignore." In Model 3 , these c a t e g o r i e s come under the heading " P r o t e c t i v e Stance." S t r a t e g i e s putting relationships people or p l a c e s , others  on h o l d , d e c i d i n g to a v o i d h e t e r o s e x i s t  and arguing a l l i n v o l v e making statements  as w e l l as defending o n e s e l f .  which they belong, been designated  such as  to  T h e r e f o r e , the c a t e g o r i e s  to  "No Room i n my L i f e " and "Fight Back," have  an "Active Stance." And f i n a l l y ,  I have p l a c e d  the c a t e g o r i e s "Take Me or Leave me," " C o n f r o n t , " and "Educate," under "Proactive Stance," because they seem to be employed mainly to work toward dismantling  heterosexism.  I t should be noted that while the s t r a t e g i e s p l a c e d f u r t h e r toward the centre of the s p i r a l may be more "evolved," they not necessary  more u s e f u l  than the s t r a t e g i e s of e a r l i e r personal s t y l e ,  are  stances.  Usefulness  depends on circumstances,  one's  objective,  and so f o r t h . To say that a l e s b i a n sometimes uses  the  " P r o a c t i v e Stance" s t r a t e g i e s simply means that she has widened her r e p e r t o i r e to i n c l u d e them, not that she need maintain t h a t stance. A strategy  i n the " P r o t e c t i v e Stance," such as moving  one's c h i l d r e n out of a h e t e r o s e x i s t school environment, may a l s o be p r o a c t i v e ; however, oneself  the emphasis i s on r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  or o n e ' s , c h i l d r e n ,  r a t h e r than on s o c i a l  to  activism.  Because Model 3 r e t a i n s i t can s t i l l represent  the c i r c u l a r s t r u c t u r e of Model 2,  the processes of " I d e n t i f y i n g and working  through i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia," "Seeking s u p p o r t , " and "Releasing emotions" as c o n t i n u a l ones; they appear around the circumference as b e f o r e . focus group d i s c u s s i o n , well,  However, a f t e r  I made "Coming out" appear c o n t i n u a l as  as s e v e r a l women expressed  of coming out,  Finally,  the view that there are  and that l e s b i a n s  and i n new s i t u a t i o n s ,  f u r t h e r r e f l e c t i o n on the  come out to d i f f e r e n t  throughout t h e i r  upon some r e f l e c t i o n ,  Society" back to "A Nonheterosexist  people,  lives.  I changed "An E g a l i t a r i a n Society."  In doing so,  not i m p l y i n g that the p a r t i c i p a n t s do not seek to c r e a t e e q u i t a b l e s o c i e t y f o r everyone.  Moreover, I recognize  measure of success i n r i g h t i n g i n j u s t i c e s people would l i k e l y have p o s i t i v e  "layers"  I am  a more  that any  toward l e s b i a n and gay  r e v e r b e r a t i o n s f o r other  oppressed groups. However, most of the p a r t i c u l a r goals mentioned i n interviews  had relevance  specifically.  I wish to avoid i m p l y i n g that t h e i r  would n e c e s s a r i l y  achieve  discriminated-against  f o r l e s b i a n and gay  people fulfillment  e q u a l i t y f o r other m a r g i n a l i z e d or  groups.  Summary of the Theory The data from p a r t i c i p a n t s i n d i c a t e s more e f f e c t i v e effective,"  that l e s b i a n s  i n d e a l i n g with heterosexism  over time.  become By "more  I mean both that the women seem to have become more  comfortable i n themselves, and that they d e a l with  heterosexism  82 i n more powerful ways. The o v e r a l l movement i s (Hiding),  to d e c i d i n g to a s s e r t one's l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y ( P r e p a r i n g  to Come O u t ) , to u s i n g s e l f - p r o t e c t i v e Stance),  from f e a r  to making a statement  strategies  to others  (Protective  (Active Stance),  c o n t r i b u t i n g to the i d e a l of a n o n h e t e r o s e x i s t  society  to  (Proactive  Stance). E s s e n t i a l features strategies  are the ongoing processes  identifying emotions,  effective  of working through and  i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia, coming out,  releasing  and seeking s u p p o r t . A l s o important i n a l e s b i a n ' s  transformation, decrease  i n the e v o l u t i o n of more  as evident from i n t e r v i e w m a t e r i a l , are a  i n defensiveness,  from the s e l f other p e o p l e ' s  an i n c r e a s e i n anger d i r e c t e d away  and toward "systems," standpoints,  a b e t t e r understanding of  and an acknowledgement that  need time to absorb and r e f l e c t  people  on i n f o r m a t i o n .  S t r a t e g i e s Used i n D e a l i n g with Heterosexism In  this section,  approaches and s t r a t e g i e s  heterosexism w i l l be presented, following order: Hiding, Processes,  f o r d e a l i n g with  a c c o r d i n g to Model 3 , i n the  P r e p a r i n g to Come out,  P r o t e c t i v e Stance, A c t i v e Stance,  Continuing  and P r o a c t i v e  Stance. Hiding Although not a l l the p a r t i c i p a n t s t a l k e d of e a r l y phases coping with heterosexism, did.  a p a t t e r n emerged from the ones who  Sometimes the i n f o r m a t i o n emerged spontaneously;  other  of  83 times,  i t was e l i c i t e d  i n response  to the q u e s t i o n ,  "Do you t h i n k  your way of coping with heterosexism has changed over time?" Common to a l l the women who spoke about i n i t i a l feeling  they had to hide the t r u t h about t h e i r  orientation.  For Delyse,  coping was  the  sexual  h i d i n g came from "a p l a c e of f e a r . " T h i s  may apply to the other women as w e l l ,  as i l l u s t r a t e d by the  examples of t h e i r v a r i o u s ways of h i d i n g . A v o i d i n g . For at l e a s t some i n t e r v i e w e e s , of  becoming  conscious  l e s b i a n f e e l i n g s l e d to d i f f e r e n t kinds of avoidance. Rae  avoided by doing drugs. Susan drank a l o t i n high s c h o o l , and later isolated herself  for several years,  working "eighteen  hours  a day, seven days a week." When Marg f i r s t became aware of her lesbian feelings,  she denied them:  . . . I was very f r i g h t e n e d . And when my b r o t h e r asked me i f I was queer—he goes, "Are you queer? You're not queer, are you, Marg?"—and I went, "Oh no no no not me, not me!" (Both l a u g h . ) And I proceeded t o , you know . . . there was a coupla guys that I had had i n and o u t t a my l i f e l i k e , one guy . . . I had dated when I was s i x t e e n and I t r i e d to make a go with him, 'cause i t was l i k e , "I have to do t h i s . " Hanging onto h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y . i n t e r v i e w e d made r e f e r e n c e  Three of the women  to having had h e t e r o s e x u a l  r e l a t i o n s h i p s before coming out as l e s b i a n s . p r e s s u r e to date men or get m a r r i e d ,  A l l three spoke of  and at l e a s t  two  p a r t i c i p a n t s have been m a r r i e d . The f o l l o w i n g excerpt from my c o n v e r s a t i o n with Marg shows how she f i r s t heterosexual M:  t r i e d to adhere to a  role:  . . . I know I wrote i n my d i a r y at that time t h a t i f I was ever with another woman I would never go back to being with a man again (laughs s l i g h t l y ) . And I always knew that i f we broke up I would never be with another man, l i k e —  84  E : —So you knew that even then. M: I knew that then . . . then we s t a r t e d p l a n n i n g to get married and I was very busy p l a n n i n g the marriage and then a f t e r that I was very busy between work and wanting to have c h i l d r e n . . . And then I got pregnant, and then I was busy being pregnant, and then I was busy being a mother, which, as I t o l d you, was h a r d ! (Laughs) Very f u l f i l l — v e r y " f i l l i n g , " not, I d o n ' t know i f " f u l f i l l i n g " i s the word, but very " f i l l i n g " . . . C h e r y l too r e l a t e s  that she was w e l l i n t o her marriage and  c h i l d - r e a r i n g before she r e a l i z e d she that she was a l e s b i a n and that there were a l t e r n a t i v e s to s t a y i n g i n a t r a d i t i o n a l f a m i l y : . . . I d i d n ' t even come out as a l e s b i a n u n t i l , l i k e , maybe four and a h a l f years ago . . . I was married f o r about seven y e a r s . Urn, and I t h i n k , l i k e , my l i f e was so harsh when I was a k i d . And so hard, that j u s t s u r v i v i n g i t was enough, never mind t h i n k i n g about being a dyke. Y e t , I remember, at the time, many times, f e e l i n g , urn, l o v i n g f e e l i n g s toward f r i e n d s , or sexual f e e l i n g s toward f r i e n d s . But I never thought, "Sexual f e e l i n g s , I'm a dyke" (laughs a b i t ) . I j u s t thought—I d i d n ' t — I d i d n ' t t h i n k a n y t h i n g . 'Cause you know, i t was s u r v i v i n g and g e t t i n g through. Right? But they were there. But then, you know, I needed to get m a r r i e d , r i g h t ? . . . I needed to have k i d s . . . I never thought of l e s b i a n s , r e a l l y . I t was never mentioned i n our home, there was nobody that I knew that were l e s b i a n s , urn, except now, I t h i n k , that those two women next door when we l i v e d i n that l i t t l e town were not s i s t e r s l i k e my mother t o l d us! "Putting up and s h u t t i n g up". A few women d e s c r i b e d t h i s way of coping as c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h e i r e a r l y s t r u g g l e s heterosexism.  with  The phrase i s R a e ' s , but J u l i e a l s o s a i d she used  to t o l e r a t e o p p r e s s i v e comments and behaviour f a r more than she does now. Rae noted that she o f t e n f e l t herself—for  example,  the need t o p r o t e c t  i n a work s i t u a t i o n .  She was a l s o aware of  p r o t e c t i n g others from t h e i r own p r e j u d i c e d way of t h i n k i n g , by asking h e r s e l f ,  "What does a h e t e r o s e x u a l t h i n k of what I'm about  85  to say?" and then choosing her words c a r e f u l l y .  P r e p a r i n g to Come Out Another group of behaviours appeared to be steps between f i r s t awareness identity.  As such,  intermediate  and a s s e r t i n g one's  lesbian  they might be s a i d to c o n s t i t u t e  between t r y i n g to escape h e t e r o s e x i s t a t t i t u d e s  a "bridge"  and a c t i v e l y  d e a l i n g with them. Evaluating others'  o p i n i o n s . J u l i e r e c a l l e d t r y i n g to make  sense of the messages about homosexuality, negative,  that she heard i n high s c h o o l .  student was defending p e o p l e ' s  both p o s i t i v e and  On one o c c a s i o n ,  freedom to be gay,  a male  while J u l i e  l i s t e n e d and two other students were "just r o l l i n g t h e i r eyes a little  b i t when he was t a l k i n g " :  . . . and he l e f t and I made a comment, s a i d "Well he has some, you know, i n t e r e s t i n g things to say." And they s a i d , "Well, yeah, he was t a l k i n g about gays and you seemed to agree with every word he s a i d , ha ha!" And they both k i n d of laughed . . . And .1 s a i d to them, I s a i d , "Well, does s i l e n c e equal agreement?" And they s a i d , "Well, i t r e a l l y seemed l i k e i t , I mean, you j u s t kept nodding your head and not d i s a g r e e i n g . " Kind of l i k e t h a t . So . . . I was o s t r a c i z e d f o r not even, not even l i k e e x p l i c i t l y agreeing with t h i s person but j u s t f o r not arguing with him . . . Susan r e c a l l s  "testing  the waters" at the d i n n e r t a b l e :  E : You a c t u a l l y heard people saying that l e s b i a n s were e v i l , and s t u f f l i k e t h a t . S: Yeah. (Pause) In church, and at home. I used to p l a y with my dad and, at f a m i l y d i n n e r s , "So, what about c a p i t a l punishment?" (Both laugh s l i g h t l y . ) Oh, and about homosexuals? Oh, how . . . ? " There was l i k e , four o r f i v e r e a l , get 'im s t a r t e d , get 'im going type of t o p i c s .  86 L i s t e n i n g to o n e s e l f . above s t r a t e g y  Originally,  ("Evaluating o t h e r s '  I had named the  opinions")  " L i s t e n i n g to  o t h e r s . " When the women i n the focus group saw that I had i n c l u d e d i t as a p a r t of "Preparing to Come O u t , " they added " L i s t e n i n g to o n e s e l f , " by which they meant g e t t i n g one's t r u e f e e l i n g s ,  i n touch w i t h  as opposed to what one t h i n k s one  should  feel. G i v i n g others  "signs".  Marg r e l a t e d how she had f e l t  the  need to "warn" her husband-to-be that she had been i n t i m a t e with a woman: . . . something i n s i d e me j u s t s a i d , " T e l l ' i m . T e l l ' i m , t e l l 'im, t e l l ' i m . Don't be i n t i m a t e with him before you t e l l ' i m ! " You know, and so the n i g h t t h a t we had planned, I t o l d him! I s a i d , "I have to t e l l you t h i s , i t ' s very i m p o r t a n t , " and he got upset, and he l e f t , and . . . we t a l k e d on the phone, and I s a i d , "Well you know, d o n ' t hate me because of t h i s . You know I , I d o n ' t know what i t means . . . . " Coming out to one's male p a r t n e r . A f t e r a long i n t e r n a l struggle,  Marg got up the courage to come out to her husband. She  d e s c r i b e d the c o n f l i c t that then ensued: . . . he was very angry at f i r s t , and I d o n ' t blame him, l i k e I mean he had t h i s p e r f e c t l i f e , he got to go f i s h i n g and when he came home from h i s job . . . there was h i s wife and k i d s and a n i c e house and, you know he had t h i s family ... you know, he s a i d , "Oh, we can be f r i e n d s , " and, and, I h o n e s t l y thought that he was, l i k e , b e i n g t r u t h f u l . Urn, which turned out, you know, he wasn't . . . he s a i d , "Well you stay here, and you know, we can have sex once a month. E v e r y t h i n g w i l l be okay, r i g h t ? " And I s a i d , " T . , I'm a lesbian. I c a n ' t have sex any more Leaving one's male p a r t n e r . F o r both C h e r y l and Marg,  this  step i n t h e i r l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y development appears to have been the key to opening up other  options:  87 E : Can you p i n p o i n t . . . what i t was that changed t h i n g s f o r you so that you were allowed suddenly to t h i n k about women i n t h a t way? C: Urn, probably because I was had c h o i c e s i n f r o n t of me. up a g a i n s t t h a t w a l l t h a t I t w e n t y - s i x years of my l i f e choice . . .  (pause) f r e e of marriage and I L i k e I d i d n ' t have to be backed had been f o r the f i r s t , l i k e , . . . I saw that there was another  Marg conveyed the bewilderment such a d e c i s i o n can b r i n g at first: M: L i k e , I d o n ' t t h i n k I ever had [such] . . . a range of emotions. From being extremely happy and e x c i t e d to knowing t h i s new world had opened up to me, and, and, how q u i c k l y the o l d one was gonna be d i s a p p e a r i n g , to "Oh my god!" l i k e the o l d world i s d i s a p p e a r i n g (laughs s l i g h t l y ) , you know . . . E : W e l l , y o u ' r e l o s i n g something at the same time that y o u ' r e g a i n i n g something (yeah!), i t ' s very c o n f u s i n g . M: I t was a death and a b i r t h at the same time. Seeing o n e s e l f  as b i s e x u a l . Delyse s a i d she made the  t r a n s i t i o n from h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y  to homosexuality by s e e i n g  h e r s e l f as b i s e x u a l f o r some y e a r s : . . . w e l l I d i d n ' t come out as b i s e x u a l e i t h e r , but i t was myself that I , I k i n d of framed i t ? You know and i t f e l t , kinda more, uh, d e a l a b l e with (both laugh s l i g h t l y ) than a c t u a l l y s a y i n g I was a l e s b i a n . . .  to  She added that because she was i n v o l v e d with a man when she d i s c o v e r e d her f e e l i n g s  f o r women, b i s e x u a l i t y was a way of  e x p l a i n i n g these f e e l i n g s  to h e r s e l f .  Moreover, because  i d e n t i f i e d as a b o r n - a g a i n C h r i s t i a n at the time,  she  she f e l t  her  r e l i g i o n d i d not allow her to accept homosexuality as an o p t i o n . G i v i n g up her r e l i g i o n gave her the freedom to g r a d u a l l y do so.  88  Finding information. feelings,  When C h e r y l became aware of her l e s b i a n  she found support from a book i n the l i b r a r y  before  seeking out other l e s b i a n s : . . . I saw t h a t there was another c h o i c e . No matter what anybody s a i d , there was. You know ( e x c l a i m i n g ) : i f t h e r e ' s a book on i t i n the l i b r a r y , other people are d o i n ' i t ! (Both l a u g h . ) . . . and I knew that there were l e s b i a n s and gay men everywhere. I mean, I knew t h a t ! Though I d i d n ' t meet them. (Laughs a b i t ) Or, thought I never met them . . . Moving to a l a r g e r c i t y . Denise d i s c u s s e d the d i f f i c u l t y of coming out i n a p l a c e where everyone knew h e r . Her move to Vancouver provided her both with a chance to e s t a b l i s h her s e x u a l i d e n t i t y i n new s u r r o u n d i n g s , and to f i n d support from the l e s b i a n and gay community that she knew e x i s t e d here: . . . I moved p a r t l y to be more out? Because I grew up i n Winnipeg. And I . . . worked with young people and I worked with a l o t t a young k i d s , too . . . working at camps i n the summertime and going to s c h o o l , and then coaching i n u n i v e r s i t y and s t u f f , so I f e l t l i k e I knew a l o t of k i d s i n a f a i r l y small c i t y . Where I f e l t l i k e , I c o u l d walk down the s t r e e t a n d . . . . . who knows w h o ' l l be around the next corner ( l a u g h i n g ) , some l i t t l e k i d that saw me as Robin Hood one summer, you know, and j u s t f e l t r e a l l y , r e a l l y c l o s e t e d that way? . . . . I f e e l I have a community here, and a community t h a t ' s s u p p o r t i v e . Thus, p a r t of d e a l i n g with heterosexism can be f i n d i n g or c r e a t i n g an environment i n which a l e s b i a n f e e l s safe t o come out,  i n that she has some c o n t r o l over when to d i s c l o s e and to  whom, and knows there w i l l be others who can help to v a l i d a t e her lesbian identity.  89 C o n t i n u i n g Processes A c c o r d i n g to p a r t i c i p a n t s , lesbians  these processes are engaged  on an ongoing b a s i s throughout t h e i r l i v e s ,  i n by  regardless  of the s t r a t e g i e s or approaches they use to d e a l with heterosexism. Coming Out V i r t u a l l y a l l the women interviewed r e f e r r e d e i t h e r  to  "coming out" o r "being out" as an important p a r t o f d e a l i n g with heterosexism.  In the focus group, p a r t i c i p a n t s agreed that coming  out was something done c o n t i n u a l l y throughout a l e s b i a n ' s For t h i s reason,  they d i s a g r e e d with my c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n of  i n Model 1 as a d i s c r e t e seven other s t r a t e g y  process.  it  In Model 2,  it  is  it  i n c l u d e d with  categories i n a nonlinear pattern,  i t can be seen as a s t r a t e g y In Model 3,  life.  so  that  one can r e t u r n to again and a g a i n .  i s shown as an ongoing,  l i f e l o n g process,  along  with " I d e n t i f y i n g and working through i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia," "Seeking s u p p o r t , " and "Releasing  emotions."  Even where they met with negative r e a c t i o n s , saw coming out as a p o s i t i v e their lesbian identities. coming out  to oneself  interviewees  step that helped them to  Delyse expressed  as the f i r s t  solidify  the s i g n i f i c a n c e  of  step i n the coming out  process: D:  [coming out] was k i n d of a choice and I f e l t r e a l l y p o s i t i v e about myself . . . i n the time up to t h a t , I c o u l d say I f e l t the e f f e c t s of homophobia that were much more negative? . . . And then coming out, and I f e l t . . . r e a l l y k i n d of good, and I f e l t high f o r about a year, r i g h t , you know, i t ' s l i k e "Yes! T h i s i s who I am!"  E:  So, was that because the c o n d i t i o n s around you had changed,  90 or was that because you had changed? D: Because I ' d come to terms w i t h , uh (pause), my s e x u a l i t y . . . the working through a l o t of that [ i n t e r n a l i z e d ] homophobia was . . . i n the years a f t e r t h a t . You know, of l i k e , f e e l i n g bad about i t . . . 'cause I had a few sexual experiences before I came out, with women and, and f e e l i n g (pause) r e a l l y uncomfortable? You know . . . l i k e somebody was watching me? (Laughs) You know, that k i n d of f e e l i n g ? Urn, and j u s t c o u l d n ' t r e l a x and then when I came out i t was t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t . . . . that whole process of, of a c t u a l l y coming out to y o u r s e l f I t h i n k i s r e a l l y c r u c i a l — o r can be, i t was f o r me, I t h i n k — c r u c i a l i n a d d r e s s i n g heterosexism and homophobia i n terms of myself. L i k e Delyse, ultimately,  a l l the l e s b i a n s  in this  coming out helped i n c r e a s e  study i n d i c a t e d  t h e i r comfort  though doing so sometimes meant d e a l i n g with o t h e r s ' shock,  fear,  (presented  anger,  above),  or d e n i a l . For i n s t a n c e ,  that,  level—even reactions  of  i n Marg's case  coming out to her husband brought out  p a i n f u l t r u t h about her f e e l i n g s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r  the  relationship,  yet represented an important step i n her eventual r e a l i z a t i o n of a lesbian identity.  And although Rae was upset about not being  o f f e r e d a job f o r which she was a prime c a n d i d a t e , good about not working f o r a c l e a r l y h e t e r o s e x i s t Coming out to f r i e n d s .  she a l s o  felt  agency.  Denise made sure she had a "safety  net" i n the form of a support network when she came out: D:  . . . I t h i n k , f o r the most p a r t , i n my l i f e , I ' v e been f a i r l y s u c c e s s f u l at a v o i d i n g , l i k e , f r i e n d s s a y i n g "I'm not gonna be your f r i e n d any more," or people i n my l i f e saying "I d o n ' t wanna have anything to do with you"?  E : How have you managed to do that? D:  (Laughing) . . . I t h i n k i t ' s j u s t . . . urn, coming out the way I d i d ? I d o n ' t know. L i k e I t o l d a l l my s t r a i g h t f r i e n d s f i r s t . . . I j u s t t o l d c e r t a i n people f i r s t ? And, and made sure that I had some s t r a i g h t f r i e n d s who were s u p p o r t i v e , 'cause I d i d n ' t have a gay or l e s b i a n community to support me, when I came out?  91  Lee, on the other hand, has had the experience  of  being  abandoned by f r i e n d s once she came out to them—as have a number of women i n t h i s  sample.  She s a i d she had reached a p o i n t where  she no longer wished to d e a l with f e e l i n g s of shock and b e t r a y a l , or to put energy i n t o a r e l a t i o n s h i p that was not  viable:  . . . t h i s one woman who's become a great f r i e n d , I t h i n k three days a f t e r knowing her, I j u s t s a i d to her, "I'm gay! I f you have a problem with t h a t , l e t ' s not even bother t r y i n g to be f r i e n d s because I d o n ' t wanna bother going through a l l t h i s to have you, you know, s h i t a l l over me." . . . And she was j u s t l i k e , "Oh! Well I t h i n k I kinda knew that you were gay. I t h i n k everybody s o r t a knows y o u ' r e gay and urn, J d o n ' t see i t as a problem!" So i t was l i k e , "Oh g r e a t , then we can get along with being f r i e n d s , " you know? Coming out to f a m i l y members. Marg's r e l i e f upon coming out to her parents and c h i l d r e n seems to have been p r o p o r t i o n a t e with the degree of s t r a i n she f e l t s t a y i n g i n the c l o s e t  throughout  her n i n e - y e a r marriage: M: I t got to the p o i n t where every time I looked at [daughter] I had to t e l l h e r . But I knew that I c o u l d n ' t say i t was a s e c r e t ? I d i d n ' t wanna say, i t ' s a s e c r e t , d o n ' t t e l l anybody. 'Cause . . . i t wasn't a s e c r e t ! . . . t h a t ' s why I t o l d my mom and dad, w i t h i n a month . . . . Because . . . to me, t h i s i s something that needed to be s a i d ! E:  . . . i f you b o t t l e i t i n , then, y o u ' r e s t i l l f e e l i n g that t h e r e ' s something shameful.  l e f t with  the  M: Yeah. And I d i d n ' t wanna f e e l the shame. I t h i n k , and I s a i d that to Mom, "You know what I f e e l ashamed of, i s the f a c t that a l l these y e a r s , I d i d n ' t (pause) know I had the r i g h t to be who I wanted to be." L i k e Marg, C h e r y l found i t c r u c i a l to t e l l her c h i l d r e n she was a l e s b i a n so she c o u l d continue to have an honest,  open  r e l a t i o n s h i p with them. C h e r y l too concluded that coming out her c h i l d r e n c o u l d only be a p o s i t i v e ...  to  thing:  y o u ' r e only g i v i n g them more c h o i c e s ,  broadening t h e i r  92 h o r i z o n s . You know? Yeah, and I always had i n the back of my mind whether I was a l e s b i a n or s t r a i g h t , that there were l o t s a d i f f e r e n t people out t h e r e , l o t s a c h o i c e s , l o t s of experiences, l o t s of t h i n g s to partake of . . . So t h i s was j u s t (pause) another t h i n g . You know? So i t was no b i g d e a l 1 I t o l d the k i d s l i k e , r i g h t away. L i k e , r i g h t when I f i r s t s t a r t e d t h i n k i n g about i t , I t o l d them that I was t h i n k i n g about i t . Coming out at work. Without a c t i v e l y others  about heterosexism,  people about i t  lesbians  through a s i n g l e  i n t e n d i n g to  educate  sometimes end up "teaching"  act of coming o u t .  s t o r y about coming out i n a work s i t u a t i o n once more  Denise's illustrates  how coming out can be b e n e f i c i a l not j u s t to the l e s b i a n  herself,  but to those i n her environment. When Denise worked as a camp c o u n s e l l o r , a values  she p a r t i c i p a t e d i n  s h a r i n g e x e r c i s e with other c o u n s e l l o r s  person was to t e l l  wherein each  a p a r t n e r t h e i r answer to the q u e s t i o n ,  "What  would you do i f your son or daughter t o l d you that they were gay?" A f t e r d i s c u s s i o n  i n p a i r s , p a r t i c i p a n t s were to r e p o r t  to  the group what t h e i r p a r t n e r s had s a i d : D:  . . . So we were going around and one person s a i d . . . "I would never accept i t , yeah, I ' d throw my k i d o u t t a the house . . . they would have to change i t so they c a n ' t be gay," b l a h b l a h b l a h , l i k e a l l those t h i n g s , and l i k e , i t got to me? And my p a r t n e r s a i d , "Well, D. would be r e a l l y a c c e p t i n g (laughs s l i g h t l y ) , because she's a l e s b i a n . " And I j u s t sat there and a coupla people j u s t . . . k i n d a , l i k e went b l a n k . (Pause) . . . and then one of the guys came up to me and we had a t a l k a f t e r . I t was kinda l i k e , you know, a l i t t l e uneasy, a b i t ?  E : You mean, he f e l t bad about what h e ' d s a i d . D: I t h i n k he f e l t bad about what h e ' d s a i d . And then we had a d i s c u s s i o n about i t , and I j u s t s a i d , "You know, I understand where y o u ' r e coming from? L i k e , I d o n ' t expect you to t o t a l l y accept me, but t h i s i s who I am, and I thought i t was important f o r you to know? . . . 'cause y o u ' r e gonna be working with me t h i s summer, and, you know, i t  93 a f f e c t s how I am? And, you know, by the end of the summer . . . he s a i d "You know, I'm g l a d that we worked t o g e t h e r . L i k e I've l e a r n e d a l o t . " As Rae commented, d e c i d i n g whether or not to come out at work often  takes a great d e a l of energy,  whether the advantages  while a l e s b i a n  w i l l outweigh the disadvantages—or  some cases, whether she b e l i e v e s her job i s above example,  at s t a k e .  in  In the  Denise was already out to a number of people  the camp and f e l t secure i n her p o s i t i o n . mentioned,  calculates  found i t e a s i e r  b e l i e v e d her c o n s e r v a t i v e  at  J u l i e , as I have  not to be out at work, s i n c e  she  co-workers would be uncomfortable with  i t and t h e r e f o r e make her f e e l  uncomfortable.  Seeking Support L i k e coming out, lesbians;  hence,  seeking support i s an ongoing process  i n Models 2 and 3,  circumference of the l a r g e c i r c l e , a discrete seeking  it  i s p l a c e d around the  r a t h e r than c o n c e p t u a l i z e d  coping behaviour. P a r t i c i p a n t s o f t e n  i n connection with coming o u t .  straight friends, or t h e r a p i s t s ,  other l e s b i a n s ,  for  spoke of  Supportive people,  partners,  family,  as  supportwhether  co-workers,  play an important r o l e i n a l l of the p a r t i c i p a n t s '  lives. Seeking support from heterosexual making sure she had some heterosexual support when she f i r s t came out,  friends.  mentioned  f r i e n d s who would p r o v i d e  s i n c e she d i d not know many  other l e s b i a n or gay people at the  time.  Seeking support from l e s b i a n f r i e n d s . other l e s b i a n s  Denise  S o c i a l support from  was mentioned by p a r t i c i p a n t s more f r e q u e n t l y  than  94 any other k i n d of support.  In Susan's case,  for instance,  lesbian  f r i e n d s appear to have been c r u c i a l i n h e l p i n g her make the t r a n s i t i o n from f e e l i n g s of a l i e n a t i o n and h o s t i l i t y acceptance  of her l e s b i a n  to an  identity.  Seeking support from the l e s b i a n community. Some p a r t i c i p a n t s saw the community as having the same r o l e , as Susan's  f o r them,  f r i e n d s had f o r h e r . Since the community g i v e s  respite  from the f e e l i n g of being p a r t of a sexual m i n o r i t y , i t can h e l p g r e a t l y to b o l s t e r a p o s i t i v e can  a l s o be an o u t l e t  sense of o n e s e l f  as a l e s b i a n .  f o r anger toward a predominantly  h e t e r o s e x i s t w o r l d . Delyse e x p l a i n e d the s p e c i a l value l e s b i a n community h e l d f o r her a f t e r her l e s b i a n  It  she f i r s t began to  the assert  identity:  . . . deep down, I was not (pause) secure about, uh, my s e x u a l i t y ? You know, i t ' s l i k e on one l e v e l I f e l t good about i t , but I know that I had to keep working at i t ? You know, because I c o u l d n ' t j u s t k i n d of r e l a x and not t h i n k about i t . I t was l i k e t h i s , t h i s awareness t h a t I had to work out a l l the time, r i g h t ? So, being . . . more i n the community and connecting helped to g i v e me that s t r e n g t h to (pause) be more s e c u r e . In who I was. Rae  f e l t that shared experiences  to support each o t h e r , their personalities  form a b a s i s f o r  lesbians  even though there are wide d i f f e r e n c e s  in  and v a l u e s :  . . . I t h i n k , yeah, about g e t t i n g support, l i k e I l i v e with l e s b i a n s . . . I have a l o t of l e s b i a n s i n my l i f e ! And not even people that I'm p a r t i c u l a r l y c l o s e to—some of them I am p a r t i c u l a r l y c l o s e t o , but not a l o t of them . . . but yeah, we have had shared understanding of what i t ' s l i k e to be excluded and what i t ' s l i k e to be (pause) name-called . . . and I t h i n k that, that i s coping! And that i s r e l y i n g on that shared l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y . . . we have those . . . common experiences of l i k e , being shunned or being excluded or being hurt . . .  95  Seeking support from one's- p a r t n e r . J u l i e i m p l i e d t h a t , world t h a t f a i l s respect  to t r e a t  l e s b i a n r e l a t i o n s h i p s with the same  i t accords to heterosexual  ones,  one's p a r t n e r i s an important b u f f e r . r e l a t i o n s h i p that e l i c i t s  in a  a close alliance  with  Hence, the very  scorn i s the key source of support f o r  both women: I t ' s j u s t an automatic assumption, w e l l i f y o u ' r e two g i r l s , y o u ' r e f r i e n d s . Or you're—(whispers) lezzies! You know ( l a u g h s ) , whisper whisper . . . Or they d o n ' t take i t as s e r i o u s l y ? And t h a t ' s very p a t r o n i z i n g . Very h e t e r o s e x i s t . . . . I t . . . [ h u r t s more] as time goes by? Because when you get more i n t o a r e l a t i o n s h i p i t becomes more important and (pause) i t ' s a l a r g e r p a r t of your l i f e . I t h i n k you f e e l these t h i n g s , or at l e a s t J do, a l o t more. And . . . we t a l k about them, and we t h i n k about them, and you know, having d i s c u s s i o n s , sometimes that r a i s e s awareness as w e l l ? Or b r i n g s i t c l o s e r to home . . . . 'Cause we've d i s c u s s e d t h a t sometimes and, and, you know, we both get angry and s i t there i n the car and swear. ( F u r t i v e l y : ) "Stupid h e t e r o s e x u a l s ! " (Both l a u g h . ) I mean, sometimes we j u s t joke around, because . . . you know you have to sometimes make l i g h t of the s i t u a t i o n j u s t f o r yourselves j u s t so t h a t you d o n ' t get (pause) i n t o a r u t of n e g a t i v i t y . Clearly a lesbian's  p a r t n e r can p l a y a key r o l e i n h e l p i n g  to reduce f e e l i n g s of i s o l a t i o n and m a r g i n a l i t y . C h e r y l  too  expressed her good fortune at having found a p a r t n e r who j o i n e d her i n opposing h e t e r o s e x i s t a t t i t u d e s ,  and who shared her b e l i e f  about being out to the c h i l d r e n and to the p u b l i c . Seeking support from co-workers. Among the women I interviewed,  degree of support i n the work environment ranged  from o u t r i g h t h o s t i l i t y  to t o t a l endorsement.  At one extreme,  Lee  once had a boss who c a l l e d her a "fucking queer" and s a i d t h a t he wanted her "the h e l l out of the place"; Denise r e c e i v e d complete  at the other  extreme,  support f o r coming out i n a job  96  i n t e r v i e w when the two i n t e r v i e w e r s Among t h i s  sample,  experiences the s t a f f  more p o s i t i v e ,  were l e s b i a n and b i s e x u a l .  less heterosexist  g e n e r a l l y o c c u r r e d when a s i g n i f i c a n t  job  percentage  of  was gay or l e s b i a n .  Seeking support from therapy. Only one p a r t i c i p a n t mentioned seeking therapy, but spoke of i t as a p o s i t i v e life.  The s u b j e c t  came up i n c i d e n t a l l y ,  influence  when Susan quoted  r e a c t i o n of a f r i e n d to whom she had come out: you i n therapy?!" Her answer was,  i n her the  "Oh my god,  are  "Well yeah, how do you t h i n k I  got to where I am?" Susan s a i d that therapy had helped her evolve i n t o a more s e l f - a c c e p t i n g  person.  R e l e a s i n g Emotions P a r t i c i p a n t s i n the v a l i d a t i o n focus group agreed r e l e a s i n g emotions heterosexism,  is constantly  necessary  that  i n d e a l i n g with  no matter how long a l e s b i a n has been out f o r ,  how much her s t r a t e g i e s or approaches change. Models 2 and 3,  it  Therefore,  i s shown as an ongoing p r o c e s s .  In  or  in  fact,  n e a r l y a l l p a r t i c i p a n t s seemed to engage i n r e l e a s e at some p o i n t d u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w .  The types of r e l e a s e e i t h e r engaged  mentioned by p a r t i c i p a n t s were:  t a l k i n g about one's f e e l i n g s  one's p a r t n e r , to l e s b i a n or gay f r i e n d s , heterosexual  people;  expressing  i n or  or to  to  supportive  anger or rage; having "a good  c r y " ; and using humour or sarcasm. C r y i n g . C r y i n g i s one e x p r e s s i o n of outrage at an u n j u s t situation.  Rae spoke of her sadness and f r u s t r a t i o n when she knew  she d i d not get o f f e r e d a job because she was a l e s b i a n :  97  And I was sad, too, yeah, I went home and I . . . t h i n k I d i d have a good c r y about i t because (pause) i t ' s not right. I t ' s not f a i r , i t ' s not r i g h t . . . Talking.  T a l k i n g with other people to whom s i m i l a r  had happened a l s o served to v a l i d a t e Rae's e x p e r i e n c e . mentioned above,  J u l i e found an o u t l e t  things And as  f o r anger and f r u s t r a t i o n  by t a l k i n g with her p a r t n e r . E x p r e s s i n g anger. T h i s s t r a t e g y  differs  from "Showing  anger," one of the s t r a t e g i e s i n the " F i g h t i n g Back" c a t e g o r y , that i t  i s used s o l e l y  to unleash emotions  r a t h e r than to make a  p o i n t . N e a r l y a l l the p a r t i c i p a n t s expressed d u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w i t s e l f ,  in  anger a t some p o i n t  as Lee d i d i n the f o l l o w i n g  excerpt:  I'm shocked that [my parents] haven't gotten used to [my being a l e s b i a n ] ( l a u g h i n g ) . You know, and I'm shocked that they have such difficulty a d a p t i n g . And, you know, I ' v e had f r i e n d s t h a t ' v e s a i d , you know, "Well, look at the g e n e r a t i o n t h e y ' r e from," and b l a h b l a h b l a h and i t ' s l i k e , w e l l , t h a t ' s b u l l s h i t ! You know, l i k e , people (pause) are adaptable. J u l i e expressed  anger toward "the r e l i g i o u s r i g h t wing" and  p o l i t i c i a n s who attempt  to r e s t r i c t the r i g h t s of l e s b i a n and gay  people: I. f i n d that . . . of course h i g h l y o f f e n s i v e . I t makes me very angry. I t a l s o makes me s c a r e d , that t h e r e ' s always the p o t e n t i a l of a b a c k l a s h , and that . . . we won't o b t a i n these r i g h t s ? Because of p o l i t i c i a n s who, the way I look at i t , you know, how dare they impose t h e i r p e r s o n a l b e l i e f s ? On thousands and thousands of people, I mean, what g i v e s them the r i g h t . . . to impose t h e i r values on us and s t u f f ? The whole i d e a of them and us and (pause) them knowing b e t t e r . And p a t r o n i z i n g us, t r e a t i n g us l i k e we're l e s s than they are.  98  Using humour. Humour was used i n a number of d i f f e r e n t J u l i e saw i t as necessary  f o r a v o i d i n g the t r a p of  t h a t comes from constant awareness interview,  negativity  of heterosexism.  she used i t to parody h e t e r o s e x i s t  ways.  During  the  attitudes:  "Well you know, there are a l o t of l e s b i a n s on, Commercial D r i v e and—" she goes (changing tone of v o i c e ) "There's nothing wrong with them or a n y t h i n g . " Them, you know, them and us? "But ( i n hushed, c o n f i d e n t i a l t o n e : ) , l i k e , you never know!" And a g a i n , my f i r s t impulse was to say, "Don't f l a t t e r y o u r s e l f " ? But of course I contained myself because . . . t h a t ' s attacking her, b a s i c a l l y . . . Lee  used humour to express anger at the double standards of  behaviour that e x i s t f o r heterosexual  and homosexual  people:  I d o n ' t ever, I ' v e never had anybody run up to me and say (whispering) "Oh by the way, I'm h e t e r o s e x u a l ! " (Both l a u g h . ) "What?" "I'm a h e t e r o s e x u a l . " (Both l a u g h . ) "Oh my g o d ! ! ! Where d i d your mother go wrong?!" You know? (Both laugh.) Marg advised her daughter to use humour as a way of  deflecting  teasing: . . . s h e ' l l come home and s h e ' l l go, "Oh I heard t h i s : We must d r i n k homo m i l k , " r i g h t and, and I laugh and say "That's a good one! Next time they say a joke, say "Oh t h a t ' s — " i f i t ' s funny. I f i t ' s . . . rude and d i s g u s t i n g , I t h i n k . t h a t , you know, I want to know . . . " Using sarcasm. Sarcasm was used both as a way of c o u n t e r i n g heterosexist attitudes form of r e l e a s e .  and o c c a s i o n a l l y ,  during interviews,  as a  Susan r e p o r t e d that she used to use sarcasm as a  weapon when she f e l t  her i n t e g r i t y was being a t t a c k e d :  I j u s t l i k e d to hurt other people. I f I c a n ' t hurt them any other way, I ' l l (pause) beat the snot out of them. I was r e a l l y , really s a r c a s t i c and r e a l l y snide and r e a l l y , r e a l l y put them down. Although her sarcasm i s no longer used i n t h i s way, when she remembers how her e l d e s t s i s t e r  i t comes out  (who acted as mother to  99  her) t r e a t e d her when she was growing up: " L i k e , when i n doubt, judge and condemn. Always t h i n k the n e g a t i v e , always t h i n k the worst."  Marg aimed sarcasm a t judgmental h e t e r o s e x u a l s as w e l l ,  specifically  those who b e l i e v e l e s b i a n s are obsessed  with sex:  Oh yeah, we have sex everywhere, l i k e when I'm grocery shopping, o r when I'm doing laundry o r when I'm t a l k i n ' t o my k i d s about school1 (Laughs s l i g h t l y ) Sarcasm appears i n these examples t o be a way o f combining anger and humour t o c r e a t e a v e h i c l e f o r r e l e a s e . I d e n t i f y i n g and Working Through I n t e r n a l i z e d Homophobia Although  the phrase  " i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia" was used by  only one p a r t i c i p a n t , m a t e r i a l from i n t e r v i e w s shows the e f f e c t s of  i n t r o j e c t e d shame o r s e l f - h a t r e d t o be profound.  Susan  d e s c r i b e d the e f f e c t o f her s t r i c t r e l i g i o u s u p b r i n g i n g on her self-image: That was hard. I was i n t o h a t i n g myself f o r being pagan and e v i l and a l l the C h r i s t i a n t h i n g s t h a t you heard, and (pause) t h a t sex was bad, e s p e c i a l l y gay sex. Delyse spoke o f having been, a f f e c t e d by the i d e a " t h a t ... l e s b i a n s a r e fucked up," s a y i n g t h a t i t caused  her t o q u e s t i o n  whether r e l a t i o n s h i p s were going t o l a s t . Moreover, because o f the p e r v a s i v e s t e r e o t y p e o f l e s b i a n s as predominantly  sexual  beings, she had a t times begun t o doubt her l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y when she was not i n v o l v e d with anyone. Delyse a l s o made r e f e r e n c e t o working through  internalized  n e g a t i v e messages i n order t o overcome f e a r o f other  people's  judgments: ... i f I have my own [negative] judgments, l i k e i f they're i n there, then ... I'm gonna be a f f e c t e d by other people's  100  judgments because t h e y ' r e j u s t gonna (pause) connect with my own . . . . Whereas . . . i f I d e a l with my own—get r i d of them . . . and d e a l with that f e a r , t h e y ' r e not gonna a f f e c t me. During the v a l i d a t i o n s e s s i o n s ,  several participants indicated  that i d e n t i f y i n g and working through i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia was a p e r p e t u a l process and an i n t e g r a l p a r t of d e v e l o p i n g a h e a l t h y lesbian  identity.  Protective  Stance  The f o l l o w i n g s t r a t e g i e s or approaches c e n t r e on r e s p e c t i n g one's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to o n e s e l f Choosing to  or one's c h i l d r e n .  Ignore  Choosing to ignore h e t e r o s e x i s t i n c i d e n t s or remarks i s distinct  from " H i d i n g , " i n that i t  choice once a l e s b i a n ' s "Shaking i t o f f " . heterosexism  i n v o l v e s the e x e r c i s e  identity is clearly  of  established.  Marg, who f e e l s s t r o n g l y about c o n f r o n t i n g  and educating wherever she can, e x p l a i n e d that  were times when she f e l t  i t best to simply "let  there  t h i n g s go over":  . . . Things t h a t I d o n ' t care to hear, l i k e , one day a k i d was i n the school p a r k i n g l o t . He y e l l e d , "Dyke! Dyke!" and, you know, I heard i t once and I k i n d of turned around, and then he d i d n ' t say i t a g a i n , and then I heard him say i t a g a i n , and I j u s t k i n d of thought, " I t ' s not even worth i t . " L i k e sometimes i t ' s not worth my t r o u b l e . I f he'da been c l o s e r , I p r o b ' l y would've, you know, approached him. But (pause) I woulda been the bad guy . . . At times,  as i n the above example,  c h o i c e not to lower o n e s e l f behaviour,  the choice to ignore i s  the  to the l e v e l of a n o t h e r ' s immature  combined with the d e c i s i o n not to waste energy on a  s i t u a t i o n with l i t t l e  potential gain.  1 01 Saving energy.  J u l i e d e s c r i b e d an e n e r g y - s a v i n g s t r a t e g y  an e a r l i e r method of d e a l i n g with heterosexism, more a c t i v e ways of d e a l i n g as time  that evolved  as into  passed:  . . . I went through a stage where people s a i d t h i n g s and I ' d heard i t before and I j u s t ignored i t because I f i g u r e d , w e l l , I'm not r e a l l y gonna be i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n (pause) f o r a l o n g time o r , you know t h i s might be a person t h a t I'm meeting and I won't (pause) be meeting them very o f t e n , I d o n ' t wanna bother . . . I j u s t d o n ' t wanna waste the energy. By c o n t r a s t ,  Susan came to t h i s way of d e a l i n g with  a f t e r years of h o s t i l e ,  aggressive  behaviour—and only a f t e r  had l e a r n e d to accept h e r s e l f as a l e s b i a n . For h e r , represents  heterosexism she  it  a "mellowing out" that f i n a l l y brought her some peace:  I don't notice anything. g i r l f r i e n d ] , or i f we're hands or something, l i k e d o n ' t t h i n k about i t . . . was l i k e really obvious long pause) I used to be areas.  L i k e people l o o k i n g at [ h e r s e l f and walking down the s t r e e t h o l d i n g i f they l o o k , yeah whatever, I O r , a l s o I wouldn't n o t i c e u n l e s s i t . . . I t ' s not worth my time. (Very a l o t more a g g r e s s i v e . In most  The above example supports the argument f o r a model of d e a l i n g with heterosexism effective  that i s not s t r i c t l y l i n e a r . Susan's  less  coping s t r a t e g i e s appear l a t e r under "Active Stance,"  while f o r many women, more e f f e c t i v e  s t r a t e g i e s appear t h e r e .  Refusing to be "token". Rae v o i c e d the n e c e s s i t y to be s e l e c t i v e about one's b a t t l e s ,  not simply to conserve energy,  a l s o to a v o i d the t r a p of f e e l i n g one has to be a of a l l l e s b i a n s — a stance t h a t , than b e n e f i c i a l , single R:  she p o i n t e d out,  i n that i t perpetuates  but  representative i s more damaging  the i d e a that there i s a  l e s b i a n worldview:  . . . I d o n ' t d e r i v e anything from that . . . "This i s what a l e s b i a n i s , t h i s i s what a l e s b i a n b e l i e v e s , t h i s i s what a l e s b i a n does . . . t h i s i s how a l e s b i a n copes I mean i f  102  you toe the p a r t y l i n e , a l e s b i a n copes by ( s t r e s s i n g every word) being political all the time. T h a t ' s a l o a d of bunkum! T h a t ' s t i r i n g ! You c a n ' t do i t , nobody can do i t ! You know, nobody can be the token l e s b i a n i n every s i t u a t i o n . And you know, I know, 'cause I ' v e t r i e d ! When I f i r s t came out, t h a t ' s what I thought I was s ' p o s t a do! And i t ' s l i k e fuck! You know i t ' s not s a f e , and i t ' s tiring! E:  It's  j u s t another box.  R: Mm-hm. And then . . . people only see you one way. You are the token l e s b i a n , you are not Rae . . . y o u ' r e not—the ten other t h i n g s that you are i n your l i f e , you are—the hundred other t h i n g s you are i n your l i f e ! — y o u are (pause) token l e s b i a n . And then you have to speak f o r every l e s b i a n as i f you are every l e s b i a n . E:  (Laughing) T h a t ' s r i g h t !  R: L i k e , I'm not a b l a c k l e s b i a n , I'm not a d i s a b l e d l e s b i a n , I'm not a Jewish l e s b i a n , you know, I'm not! And I d o n ' t wanna speak f o r those people! Besides  the wish to a v o i d m i s r e p r e s e n t i n g other l e s b i a n s  is  the d e s i r e f o r a r e p r i e v e from always being seen as a l e s b i a n , and  therefore  f e e l i n g pressure to "behave" l i k e one.  p a r t i c i p a n t s noted, p r e s c r i b e d set and  As s e v e r a l  there does tend to be an orthodoxy o r  of "rules" to which l e s b i a n s h o l d other  lesbians,  many of the r u l e s are r e l a t e d to the concept of " p o l i t i c a l  c o r r e c t n e s s . " But as Rae observed, the community as w e l l ,  and l e s b i a n s  pressure can come from can f i n d  themselves  overlooked as i n d i v i d u a l s while they are expected expectations  of what a l e s b i a n  outside  to  fulfill  is.  P r o t e c t i n g S e l f and/or C h i l d r e n T h i s set consequences, children.  of behaviours was used to avoid i n c l u d i n g p h y s i c a l danger,  negative  for oneself  or one's  Not a l l the women agreed that a l l of these behaviours  were c o n s t r u c t i v e ,  but some f e l t  they were a p p r o p r i a t e i n c e r t a i n  103 situations. Choosing not to come o u t . Although v i r t u a l l y a l l lesbians  i n t h i s sample f e l t  possible,  some f e l t  i t was important to be out wherever  that i n some s i t u a t i o n s ,  out would be outweighed by negative mentioned,  the  the gains from b e i n g  consequences.  Rae, as  spoke of the "economic consequences" of being out i n a  work s i t u a t i o n , while J u l i e commented on the ongoing s o c i a l d i s c o m f o r t i t can cause the l e s b i a n h e r s e l f negatively;  i f co-workers r e a c t  J u l i e a l s o mentioned a t r a d e - o f f she and her p a r t n e r  made, e x p l a i n i n g t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p as t h a t of "roommates" when v i s i t i n g c o n s e r v a t i v e acquaintances,  i n order to a v o i d d e a l i n g  with s u r p r i s e d or negative r e a c t i o n s ; and both Delyse and Denise s a i d they had not come out to members of t h e i r extended f a m i l y with whom contact was minimal,  s i n c e the investment of energy d i d  not seem worthwhile. A n t i c i p a t i n g negative r e a c t i o n s .  Some p a r t i c i p a n t s r e f e r r e d  to the act of b r a c i n g themselves f o r h u r t f u l or r e j e c t i n g r e a c t i o n s from other people.  For i n s t a n c e ,  when Denise showed  teenagers i n a l i f e s k i l l s program the video "Out," which concerns the problems of l e s b i a n and gay youth, she s u r p r i s e d when some of the males r e a c t e d  wasn't  negatively:  . . . i t h u r t , but I was prepared f o r i t . L i k e I knew . . . who would r e a c t and who wouldn't, and I . . . had a f e e l i n g ? L i k e , where.things were gonna be, and what i t was gonna be like. Denise added t h a t ,  at other times,  she had to a n t i c i p a t e  the  negative r e a c t i o n s of co-workers when she decided to come o u t , and was c a r e f u l to make sure she had s u p p o r t i v e people around at  104  such times. Switching c h i l d r e n to more a c c e p t i n g s c h o o l . C h e r y l found that the s t a f f  at her c h i l d r e n ' s p u b l i c school r e p e a t e d l y  refused  to acknowledge her p a r t n e r as co-parent of t h e i r c h i l d r e n : No r e s p e c t f o r [my p a r t n e r as c o - p a r e n t ] . No! They d o n ' t wanna get i t ! . . . You know? L i k e and they d i r e c t t h i n g s to me! ... Yeah, and the k i d s are not being taught [about homosexuality] i n s c h o o l , that i t ' s okay, or anything l i k e t h a t — o r that i t ' s even a v a i l a b l e , as an o p t i o n . So . . . I'm s w i t c h i n g them from s c h o o l s , as a matter o f f a c t , because o f t h a t . 'Cause I c a n ' t manage that kinda a t t i t u d e any more. So t h e y ' r e gonna go to a community s c h o o l . The above excerpt g i v e s a glimpse i n t o how a h e t e r o s e x i s t environment can a f f e c t  school  not j u s t one f a m i l y member, but the  entire  family. A v o i d i n g h o l d i n g hands/expressing a f f e c t i o n areas.  F i v e of the e i g h t l e s b i a n s  i s s u e of p h y s i c a l s a f e t y .  i n dangerous  i n t e r v i e w e d brought up the  Of these,  four t a l k e d of the danger of  h o l d i n g hands i n p u b l i c , p a r t i c u l a r l y at n i g h t or i n the rougher areas of the c i t y .  P a r t i c i p a n t s s a i d they would e i t h e r a v o i d  h o l d i n g hands i n such a s i t u a t i o n ,  unlock hands i f people who  appeared t h r e a t e n i n g approached, or "walk away f a s t . "  Julie  o u t l i n e d the dynamics of the i s s u e c l e a r l y : Another t h i n g that we do worry about from time to time on the s t r e e t i s v i o l e n c e ? Urn, there was one time when we were walking along h o l d i n g hands, some guy rode by on h i s b i k e and goes, " F u c k i n ' l e s b i a n s . " T h e r e ' s such a h a t r e d i n h i s v o i c e . So t h a t ' s a b i t (pause) d i s c o n c e r t i n g . . . And we l i k e to h o l d hands, we d o n ' t r e a l l y want to a l t e r our b e h a v i o u r . We get a l o t of l o o k s , and we t o t a l l y ignore t h a t . T h a t ' s not a b i g d e a l , but we are c o n s t a n t l y aware of p o t e n t i a l v i o l e n c e . I mean women, i n g e n e r a l , are . . . always on the lookout, and t h a t ' s another i s s u e that bothers me . . . . So i t ' s something that we're always aware o f . And i f we see a man coming toward us, and he looks a l i t t l e b i t , you know, s u s p i c i o u s , we . . . unlock our hands and so we do have to  1 05 a l t e r our behaviour, which (pause) I f e e l L i k e , why should we? Walking away f a s t .  i s so u n j u s t .  Rae made the p o i n t t h a t ,  although some  l e s b i a n s have more s o c i a l support and p r i v i l e g e than o t h e r s ,  the  f a c t remains that a l l l e s b i a n s are e q u a l l y v u l n e r a b l e to a t t a c k : R: I t does b o i l down to the lowest common denominator. My head bashes i n j u s t the same as anyone e l s e ' s , you know? I c o u l d get beat up j u s t as e a s i l y . I ' v e been p h y s i c a l l y threatened j u s t as many times as, as any other dyke out t h e r e . E : Can you remember any p a r t i c u l a r i n s t a n c e s p h y s i c a l l y threatened?  of being  R: East Cordova. Urn, ' g a i n , w a l k i n ' arm i n arm with somebody, walking to a b a r , and there was three guys . . . coming towards us . . . . They t u r n around, "Fuckin' dykes," s t a r t w a l k i n ' the other way, s t a r t f o l l o w i n g us, we walk f a s t e r , they walk f a s t e r , we walk f a s t e r , we s t a r t g e t t i n g a l i t t l e nervous! (Laughing) You know, and then we end up going i n t o our b a r , which was okay, but . . . those are the times when I wish I was s i x f e e t t a l l because I would t u r n around and f u c k i n g fight . . . i t ' s l i k e , why should I have to f u c k i n ' r e s t r i c t my l i f e 'cause some—Rrrrrrhh! I t makes me so angry! You know, why? And—and I'm not doing any harm! E : You're not h u r t i n g anyone. R: You know? I'm e x p r e s s i n g a f f e c t i o n f o r my f r i e n d ,  you know.  E : You're showing l o v e . R: Yeah! . . . I t bugs me that I d o n ' t have those same freedoms! You know, that I can't k i s s my f r i e n d . Or t h a t , i f I k i s s my f r i e n d , I'm r i s k i n g my neck. In some areas of the c i t y . You know, l i k e , what a l o a d of bunkum! Both J u l i e and Rae expressed anger at the i n j u s t i c e of not being able to show t h e i r love i n p u b l i c as heterosexuals do;  however,  they would l i k e l y agree with D e l y s e ' s  she was not going to put her l i f e point.,  often  statement  i n danger simply to make a  that  106 A c t i v e Stance The s t r a t e g i e s  under t h i s heading are c h a r a c t e r i z e d by the  d e s i r e to make a statement  to o t h e r s ,  i n a d d i t i o n to the wish to  defend o n e s e l f .  F i g h t i n g Back There was disagreement among p a r t i c i p a n t s as to whether c o n s t e l l a t i o n of s t r a t e g i e s  this  represented a more defensive and  t h e r e f o r e l e s s u s e f u l k i n d of behaviour than that presented i n the "Confronting" category,  or whether i t designated i n s t e a d a  group of sometimes a p p r o p r i a t e or necessary b e h a v i o u r s . Showing anger. A number of p a r t i c i p a n t s commented that,  p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t h e i r e a r l i e r days of d e a l i n g with  heterosexism,  they tended to get very angry and to express  this  anger. For Lee, p a t i e n c e with others grew as she got o l d e r and c o u l d see o t h e r s ' Delyse f e l t  l a c k of understanding as human weakness.  that she no longer wanted to spend energy  angry i n the way she u s e d . t o ,  getting  but t h a t " i t was important t o  do t h a t at the t i m e . " Thus f o r some l e s b i a n s ,  showing anger  p a r t of a developmental process and does not r e t a i n i t s l e v e l s of  ... is  earlier  intensity.  Denise saw a p l a c e both f o r showing anger and f o r calmly t r y i n g to  educate:  There are times when I'm very m i l i t a n t and very l i k e , "Fuck you" s o r t of a t t i t u d e , but there are times where I'm more of an educator . . . C h e r y l d i s t i n g u i s h e d between a "helpless  anger" that causes one  107  to judge both o n e s e l f  and other people u n f a i r l y , and a h e a l t h y  anger that i s d i r e c t e d at "systems." She f e l t  that over time,  she  had moved from h e l p l e s s anger to healthy anger as she became more aware of her choices responsibilities. Julie,  in l i f e ,  along with her r i g h t s and  Her journey may perhaps be compared to t h a t of  who r e p o r t e d becoming a n g r i e r about heterosexism now t h a t  she has a c l e a r e r i d e a of what she should not have to put up with,  while at the same time becoming l e s s  defensive.  A r g u i n g . A few of the women i n t e r v i e w e d mentioned a r g u i n g as a way of t r y i n g to convince people to change t h e i r minds. In the following instance,  Denise r e c o g n i z e d that the person i n v o l v e d  was not about to move from h i s E : Nobody i n P o r t u g a l i s  position:  gay!  D: E x a c t l y , t h a t ' s what he s a i d ! And I s a i d , "Well, how do you know?!" He s a i d , "Not i n my family . . . I'm o l d country Portuguese!" (Laughs) . . . and so we j u s t got to a p o i n t where I was g o i n g , "Yes, no,"and s o r t of a r g u i n g , and i t was j u s t , i t was j u s t no p o i n t . J u l i e r e l a t e d a s i m i l a r experience of arguing with a man who b e l i e v e d homosexuality was a d i s e a s e : I argued f i e r c e l y with him. He j u s t p i s s e d me r i g h t o f f . And . . . I s a i d , "Well, y o u ' r e o b v i o u s l y not understanding a l o t of t h i n g s I was q u i t e , you know a s s e r t i v e i n the way I argued and, I mean I f e l t good about doing t h a t but I s t i l l , f e l t that I got nowhere. Because he was s t i l l completely convinced that I was wrong and he was r i g h t . And—I mean I f e l t good . . . f o r e x p r e s s i n g myself, f o r s t a n d i n g up f o r myself? For J u l i e , arguing may sometimes have value even i f the of arguing does not r e s u l t i n persuading the other person. this  instance,  stand,  In  she saw the argument as a chance to maintain a  and was g l a d that she had not backed down. She was,  in  act  1 08  D e l y s e ' s words,  "saying [her] own t r u t h , " r e g a r d l e s s of how i t  was r e c e i v e d . Intimidating attackers.  In g e n e r a l , p a r t i c i p a n t s seemed  agree that a c t i v e l y defending o n e s e l f situations. effective  was necessary  to  i n some  Rae remarked that t h i s s t r a t e g y would be more  than t r y i n g to educate or c o n f r o n t calmly i f one were  d i r e c t l y a t t a c k e d . She gave an example of such a s i t u a t i o n : . . . I remember walking down Robson S t r e e t one day, with my g i r l f r i e n d , urn, arm i n arm, and some s t u p i d guys from a c a r s t a r t e d r e v v i n ' t h e i r c a r , "Fuckin' dykes!" and we both turned around at the same time and approached them l i k e t h i s (hands on h i p s ) and they drove o f f ! (Laughing) And i t was such a moment o f triumph! I mean i t was because we kinda looked around and I f e l t l i k e nobody would l e t us get h u r t . . . . And i t happens so r a r e l y . But they were l i k e , they were young boys, too, they were s i x t e e n , or whatever. And I guess they d i d n ' t expect t h a t . T h i s s t r a t e g y was s a t i s f y i n g f o r Rae and her f r i e n d because  they  were a b l e to show the a t t a c k e r s they were not w i l l i n g to simply "put up and shut u p . " She added that i t was the " s u r p r i s e " element that made the t a c t i c so e f f e c t i v e .  (The v i a b i l i t y of  this  s t r a t e g y was contingent upon being reasonably assured of p h y s i c a l safety.) Being v i o l e n t .  Susan r e s o r t e d to v i n d i c t i v e n e s s as a way of  e x p r e s s i n g her profound anger at her peers f o r t r e a t i n g her as an outcast. violence.  In high s c h o o l ,  t h i s anger took the form of gang  Her f e l l o w gang members were a c c e p t i n g of h e r ,  though they knew she had a g i r l f r i e n d . . S u s a n i m p l i e d that too were o u t c a s t s  who banded together  a l i e n a t i o n from the r e s t of the S:  even they  i n a common f e e l i n g of  school.  . . . I used to be r e a l l y c a l c u l a t i n g , r e a l l y v i c i o u s ,  really  109  v i n d i c t i v e . Urn, we used to l i k e , b a s i c a l l y (pause), s t a l k poofers (long pause) that went to the wrong s c h o o l . The p r e t t y people, the poor l i t t l e r i c h b i t c h e s . And we'd wait and watch, and we'd see what was most important to them. I f i t was t h e i r h a i r , t h e y ' d have l i k e an "X" shaved i n t o t h e i r head . . . . And l i k e one eyebrow gone. E : Wow, t h a t ' s r e a l l y  tough!  S: I t was, yeah . . . we weren't n i c e . . . [We d i d ] r e a l l y (pause) v i c i o u s , awful s t u f f . L i k e one g i r l had an e n t i r e wardrobe of l e a t h e r c l o t h e s , and (pause) l i k e a huge, huge c l o s e t , and we l i k e , snipped a l l of her c l o t h e s i n four . . . she got t a r g e t e d because she was p u t t i n g [ g i r l f r i e n d ] and me down. Being v i n d i c t i v e . supervisory p o s i t i o n ,  Once out of school and working i n a Susan again found h e r s e l f  the t a r g e t  of  n a m e - c a l l i n g i n a s t r o n g l y h e t e r o s e x i s t work environment. Causing inconvenience  f o r other workers was her way of g e t t i n g back a t  them: . . . at the time I was a s h i f t s u p e r v i s o r , and d i d a l l the s c h e d u l i n g f o r a l l the s h i f t s ? . . . So I ' d j u s t be r e a l l y nasty with t h e i r s h i f t s and t h e i r s c h e d u l i n g . . . . I ' d be s h o r t - s h i f t i n g them, l i k e having more three to eleven and then i n at four . . . . Union s a i d there had to be e i g h t hours between s h i f t s , so t h e y ' d have e i g h t hours and l i k e , one minute before t h e y ' d have to be back f o r the next s h i f t and they l i v e d i n l i k e south Surrey! "No Room i n my L i f e " T h i s category of s t r a t e g y whose a t t i t u d e s  involves  c u t t i n g t i e s with  a lesbian finds oppressive,  putting  "on h o l d , " and a v o i d i n g h e t e r o s e x i s t environments. material indicates  people  relationships The i n t e r v i e w  i t can serve s e v e r a l purposes: making a  statement r e g a r d i n g how much one i s w i l l i n g to put up w i t h , c o n s e r v i n g energy, contains  and c r e a t i n g an environment f o r o n e s e l f  l e s s s t r e s s or  conflict.  that  11 0  Avoiding t r a d i t i o n a l l y heterosexist i n s t i t u t i o n s .  Whereas  J u l i e was angry t h a t she and her p a r t n e r d i d not have at the o p t i o n to marry, Lee s a i d she would a v o i d the  least  entire  i n s t i t u t i o n of marriage: I d o n ' t t h i n k I wanna marry a woman. I t h i n k t h a t ' s a h e t e r o s e x u a l , you know, i n s t i t u t i o n and i t ' s . . . a f f i l i a t e d with r e l i g i o n and I d o n ' t see that r e l i g i o n has r e a l l y done a whole l o t i n terms of promoting, you know . . . l i b e r a l a t t i t u d e s towards homosexuality, so I would have d i f f i c u l t y with . . . the whole marriage t h i n g . You know, so I might say, w e l l , you know, I'm l i v i n g with t h i s woman and we're together f o r the r e s t o f our l i v e s . Being s e l e c t i v e about one's work environment.  Rae e x p l a i n e d  why i t was important to her to work i n an a c c e p t i n g work environment: . . . i t ' s c o n t i n u a l , wearing s t r e s s , to have to e i t h e r be t o t a l l y out and defend y o u r s e l f a l l the time, or offend other p e o p l e — a l l the time, and then have to d e a l with the f a l l - o u t from t h a t , v e r b a l or n o n - v e r b a l , s u b t l e or o v e r t . . . . a d e c i s i o n that I've made i s that I d o n ' t wanna work anywhere where I have to be c l o s e t e d . T h a t ' s why I put on my resume—I mean, p a r t of i t i s , 'cause t h a t ' s r e l e v a n t work experience and p a r t of i t i s , l i k e , "Fuck you! (Laughing) Don't even c a l l me f o r the i n t e r v i e w ! " Rae d i d add, however, be s e l e c t i v e ;  that i s ,  that she had the p r i v i l e g e of being a b l e that she belonged to a s o c i a l c l a s s and  p r o f e s s i o n wherein she c o u l d b e t t e r other  to  a f f o r d to be choosy than many  people. A v o i d i n g h e t e r o s e x i s t people.  s u p e r v i s o r at her j o b , who c o n s i s t e n t l y  Susan, who was  shift  found that there were f i v e or s i x  angered her with d i s r e s p e c t f u l  people  behaviour and  n a m e - c a l l i n g . Her s o l u t i o n was to work out a schedule where those p a r t i c u l a r people a l l worked together,  while she worked a  111  separate  shift.  Putting relationships  "on h o l d " . Delyse found t h a t ,  she was developing a stronger sense of h e r s e l f needed to withdraw from her heterosexual establish  while  as a l e s b i a n ,  she  f r i e n d s i n order to  c l o s e r t i e s to the l e s b i a n community. The s e p a r a t i o n  from these f r i e n d s was not due to c o n f l i c t ,  and some of  the  f r i e n d s h i p s were resumed l a t e r on. By c o n t r a s t , her p a r e n t s ,  a deep and s e r i o u s  rift  formed between Lee and  whose d e n i a l of a l a r g e p a r t of t h e i r  daughter's  i d e n t i t y c o n t r i b u t e d to the c r e a t i o n of a w a l l between themselves and h e r . Lee found the s i t u a t i o n so f r u s t r a t i n g that she  stopped  t r y i n g to communicate with them: . . . you know, when B. and I s p l i t up, there was a b s o l u t e l y no acknowledgement that I might a c t u a l l y be i n pain? You know, that I might a c t u a l l y be (pause) having a b i t of a rough time d e a l i n g with t h i s one, you know . . . . I mean, t h e r e ' s j u s t no acknowledgement, and . . . they never ask me about my p e r s o n a l l i f e . And so I never t e l l them a n y t h i n g . You know, and i f they d o n ' t wanna know, so t h e y ' v e made i t p e r f e c t l y c l e a r and I ' v e j u s t decided w e l l , you know l i s t e n , I d o n ' t t h i n k t h e r e ' s room i n my l i f e f o r t h e i r n e g a t i v i t y . So I j u s t d o n ' t d e a l with i t any more. Although she has not completely  shut the door, Lee does not h o l d  out much hope that her parents w i l l change t h e i r "... ...  maybe, when I f e e l  attitudes:  l i k e being f r u s t r a t e d I ' l l t r y again and  who knows?" Severing t i e s .  necessary  Rae acknowledged that, i t was sometimes  simply to sever t i e s ,  even with people she cared about:  With people that y o u ' r e gonna have some k i n d of c o n t i n u i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p with . . . you have to educate people. And you have to g i v e them a chance to absorb i n f o r m a t i o n . And then i f they d o n ' t , then you have to w r i t e them o f f ! At some p o i n t you have to d e c i d e , l i k e , i t ' s not worth i t , t h i s  11 2  i s n ' t working . . . . I mean, you h a f t a decide how much e f f o r t you wanna put i n t o i t , and how much you expect of the other person i n terms of educating themselves . . . . She added that she tended to want to g i v e people many chances, s i n c e she r e a l i z e d that l e a r n i n g about how people oppress another was a process unrealistic.to short  one  f o r her, and that i t would t h e r e f o r e  be  expect people to absorb a l o t of i n f o r m a t i o n i n a  time.  Proactive  Stance  The f o l l o w i n g s t r a t e g i e s and approaches a r i s e not only from the i n t e n t i o n to make a statement to others  r e g a r d i n g the  of what one w i l l , p u t up w i t h , but from a d e s i r e i n s t i t u t i o n of heterosexism,  with a view toward  limits  to c h a l l e n g e  the  its  dismantlement. "Take Me or Leave Me" T h i s category c o u l d j u s t as w e l l be c a l l e d "Being Who I Am." For most of the women, t h i s  approach was a r r i v e d at only  after  p a s s i n g through the P r o t e c t i v e and A c t i v e stances of Model T h i s stance i s n e i t h e r p a s s i v e assertive, be f u l l y  nor a g g r e s s i v e ;  rather,  it  3. is  i n that the women i n s i s t e d on c l a i m i n g t h e i r r i g h t  to  themselves.  " S e t t i n g i t out".  This strategy  has a l r e a d y been  discussed  under "Coming out to f r i e n d s . " Both Lee and Delyse spoke of making sure p o t e n t i a l  f r i e n d s knew,  t h e i r sexual o r i e n t a t i o n .  from the b e g i n n i n g ,  about  Lee added that she d i d not want  to  spend time c u l t i v a t i n g a f r i e n d s h i p i n a case where she would  11 3 l a t e r be r e j e c t e d f o r being a l e s b i a n : . . . I d o n ' t l i k e s e t t i n g i t out, but I do set i t o u t . Because I j u s t d o n ' t wanna be bothered with people, urn, i f i t ' s something that they c a n ' t d e a l w i t h . You know, l i k e , l e t ' s not p l a y these games, l e t ' s not go through t h i s charade, t h i s i s the way I l i v e , t h i s i s my l i f e , and i f you have a problem with i t t h i s i s a good time to check o u t . You know, before we get g o i n g . So . . . most people that I meet now, I mean (pause), geez, they probably know w i t h i n about ten seconds, or l e s s , that I'm gay. S i m i l a r l y i n a work s i t u a t i o n ,  both Rae and Denise mentioned  t h e i r p r a c t i c e of making sure a p o t e n t i a l workplace i s an a c c e p t i n g one before t a k i n g a j o b . Refusing to h i d e . A l l e i g h t p a r t i c i p a n t s i n one way or another v o i c e d the n e c e s s i t y of being open about who they a r e . This strategy awareness: business  i s d i s t i n c t from being v i s i b l e i n order to  i n r e f u s i n g to h i d e ,  lesbians  without making concessions  attitudes.  Lee v e r b a l i z e d t h i s  raise  simply go about t h e i r  to h e t e r o s e x i s t b e l i e f s  stance as  or  follows:  I f people are gonna come i n t o my house, i t ' s gonna be p r e t t y obvious to them p r e t t y q u i c k , you know, that I s l e e p with women and i f they have a problem with i t , then, there i s the door. Responsibility for heterosexist reactions belongs:  on the heterosexuals  accept her l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y .  i s p l a c e d where  who f i n d themselves unable  it to  She r e f e r r e d to t h i s p o l i c y as  "not  running away," and gave the f o l l o w i n g s c e n a r i o as an example: L i k e I j u s t d o n ' t back down . . . where i t ' s a s i t u a t i o n l i k e , urn, being i n v i t e d to somebody's house f o r d i n n e r . And then showing up w i t h , you know, [partner] . . . "You know, t h i s i s my p a r t n e r and . . . I mean, you s a i d ' B r i n g whoever' and I d i d , and—" "Oh, everybody's h e t e r o s e x u a l . " "Great! W e ' l l have a s w e l l n i g h t You know? (Both l a u g h . ) And, and, am I s t i l l i n v i t e d ? I mean, do I have to stand at the door and ask that?  114 Showing a f f e c t i o n i n p u b l i c .  C h e r y l s t r e s s e d her c o n v i c t i o n  t h a t l e s b i a n s have not only a r i g h t but a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to show affection  in public,  even i f they cause a s t i r ,  s i n c e not to do  so simply perpetuates a s i t u a t i o n where such behaviour i s regarded as strange o r wrong: C:  . . . we h o l d hands, and we k i s s and do whatever we need to do i n p u b l i c , j u s t l i k e everybody e l s e has the r i g h t t o . Uh, l i k e we d o n ' t hide at a l l . . . but we're s t a r e d at c o n t i n u o u s l y . And t h e r e ' s always, l i k e , an uncomfortable f e e l i n g . . . when I f i r s t came out, t h i s g i r l f r i e n d . . . t h a t I had and I went to a movie t h e a t r e . And I wanted t o put my arm around h e r . And I s a i d , "Is i t l e g a l ? Are we gonna get k i c k e d o u t t a here, you know?" I d i d n ' t even know at t h a t time, you know? I thought, "Oh my god, oh my god!" And she s a i d , "Of course i t i s ! "  E : But t h a t ' s . . . how seldom you see i t i n s o c i e t y (C. laughs: I never see i t ! ) , t h a t we, we begin to t h i n k t h a t there must be something l e g a l l y wrong with i t . C:  . . . I d o n ' t see women k i s s i n g each o t h e r , urn . . . I d o n ' t see t h a t ! We go to the p o o l and we're a l l over each other j u s t l i k e teenagers, you know? And, always i n the back of my mind, I t h i n k , What are they gonna say? What are they gonna say? L i k e what can they do, you know? And j u s t the embarrassment of being confronted about t h a t . But I . . . f o r c e myself to do i t anyway, 'cause I t h i n k i t ' s my r o l e to educate i n some sense . . . Lee expressed the same i d e a : . . . o f t e n we h o l d hands as we walk down the s t r e e t s and once i n a while . . . I s o r t a f e e l l i k e , geez, you know, we're g e t t i n g some strange looks i n t h i s neighbourhood . . . . Sometimes t h a t throws me a b i t but i t d o e s n ' t make me (pause) you know, wanna stop h o l d i n g her hand . . . . I t ' s s o r t a l i k e , "If you people have a problem, then you should d e a l with i t ! " Rejecting stereotypes.  I have a l r e a d y made r e f e r e n c e to  the  dress and behaviour codes (commented on by s e v e r a l p a r t i c i p a n t s ) imposed not only on l e s b i a n s by other l e s b i a n s , heterosexuals  as w e l l ,  but by  perhaps to m a i n t a i n an "us and them"  11 5  dynamic. R:  In Rae's view,  t h i s k i n d of p i g e o n h o l i n g i s  destructive:  . . . d e c l a r i n g d i f f e r e n c e i s . . . n o u r i s h i n g . . . I'm not p a r t i c i p a t i n g . . . i n s t r u c t u r e s that oppress me . . . when I say, "Well, I'm a l e s b i a n and I'm not l i k e that" . . . I'm, l i k e , s t e p p i n g out of . . . that p a r t i c u l a r way of s e e i n g t h i n g s , l i k e pushing the bounds of what's p o s s i b l e .  E : The l i m i t s of the  stereotype.  R: The—yeah! Yeah. Saying, l i k e , "No, t h e r e ' s more p o s s i b i l i t i e s than t h a t ; this i s a p o s s i b i l i t y too!" Urn, which i s n ' t l i k e , I'm a c r u s a d i n g hero or a n y t h i n g , i t ' s j u s t l i k e (pause) making room f o r myself i n a room. This l a s t  sentence of Rae's epitomizes  what the "Take Me or Leave  Me" approach i s r e a l l y about: i t does not e n t a i l "crusading" as such, but represents  instead lesbians'  d e t e r m i n a t i o n to c l a i m the  i n d i v i d u a l i t y and humanity that i s r i g h t f u l l y t h e i r s . Confronting "Confronting" r e f e r s to a way of a s s e r t i n g o n e s e l f defensiveness o r h o s t i l i t y  i n response  s t r a t e g i e s i n t h i s category c a l l  without  to a given s i t u a t i o n . The  for individuals acting in a  h e t e r o s e x i s t manner to examine t h e i r own behaviour. They d i f f e r from those i n the "Take Me or Leave Me" category i n that demand some s o r t of response "Calling it".  they  from the other p a r t y .  In Rae's view,  an important p a r t of d e a l i n g  with h e t e r o s e x i s t remarks or behaviours i s to c o n f r o n t ,  directly,  the person who has made them, and t r y to make him or her aware of the e f f e c t  these words or a c t i o n s have had:  . . . what do you have i n v e s t e d i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p ? I f you want t h i s to be a c o n t i n u i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p , you have to put up with some s i l l y comments and s t u f f and call it, and say l i k e , you know, t h a t ' s not okay to say t h a t , that h u r t s me. And u s u a l l y people hear t h a t . You know, people who are some c o n t i n u i n g p a r t of your l i f e . . . w i l l be w i l l i n g to hear that . . . . Some people, you l o s e them. And t h a t ' s h a r d .  11 6 Again,  the theme of d e c i d i n g whether the investment  worthwhile appears. Apparent, too,  of energy  i s the element of  is  risk  i n v o l v e d : c o n f r o n t i n g someone can compel both people toward a "moment of t r u t h " that determines whether or not the will  relationship  continue. Speaking o u t .  attitudes  Rae s t a t e d that her approach to h e t e r o s e x i s t  and behaviours had "changed from p u t t i n g up and  s h u t t i n g up to speaking out and t a k i n g what comes." The same c o u l d probably be s a i d f o r many of the women i n t h i s Cheryl,  "the bottom l i n e i s that honesty  for things,  sample. For  t h i n g . . . and f i g h t i n g  you know? Being outspoken." Marg has reached a  s i m i l a r p o i n t i n her  life:  . . . a f t e r years and y e a r s , uh, t r y i n g to f i t i n , t r y i n g to be someone I wasn't, i t ' s very important j u s t to be (pause) open . . . . I d o n ' t t h i n k I have anything to hide. Elsewhere i n the i n t e r v i e w ,  she  said:  I put my cards on the t a b l e , v e r y , very b l u n t l y I have to now? Because f o r so l o n g , I d i d n ' t .  . . . . I think  These p a r t i c i p a n t s convey a sense of having to speak out not only to e d i f y others but to a s s e r t t h e i r own i n t e g r i t y as  well.  G e t t i n g p o l i t i c a l l y i n v o l v e d . In a sense, a l l of the women I i n t e r v i e w e d are " p o l i t i c a l l y i n v o l v e d " i n that a l l refuse i n most s i t u a t i o n s ,  specific  However, p o l i t i c a l  i n the "Confronting" category r e f e r s  measures,  hide  and are concerned with educating people and  changing an i n e q u i t a b l e s i t u a t i o n . as a s t r a t e g y  to  either  involvement  to t a k i n g  i n d i v i d u a l l y or i n a group, that would  be seen p u b l i c l y to attempt to r i g h t a given s i t u a t i o n . For instance,  Marg wrote a l e t t e r  to The Province  i n response  to a  11 7  letter  t h a t a t t a c k e d l e s b i a n and gay p a r e n t s ; Delyse became  i n v o l v e d i n the union at a former job with a view toward making lesbians  and gays more v i s i b l e  i n her workplace.  Using "passive r e s i s t a n c e " .  In my o r i g i n a l model, I used  words "Refuse to get angry" f o r t h i s  strategy.  The words were  taken from my i n t e r v i e w with Lee, and were meant to capture essence of the p a t i e n t yet a s s e r t i v e  attitude  d u r i n g the focus group, she p o i n t e d out that the  nonconfrontational. describe  the  she d e s c r i b e d as  one of her main ways of d e a l i n g with heterosexism.  i n v o l v e d more than simply not g e t t i n g  the  However, strategy  angry; i t was a c t i v e ,  yet  She used the phrase "passive r e s i s t a n c e "  to  it.  T h i s approach stems from her b e l i e f a l o t from a g g r e s s i o n , "  and that i t  that "people d o n ' t l e a r n  i s b e t t e r to c a l l  their  actions  i n t o q u e s t i o n i n a way that n e i t h e r a t t a c k s nor  attack.  In her view,  invites  a remark l i k e "You know, sometimes I  just  d o n ' t know where your head i s at" g i v e s the a t t a c k e r a chance reflect  to  on h i s or her behaviour, while the attacked person avoids  stooping to the l e v e l of the o f f e n d i n g person. In L e e ' s words, this  i s a "subtle,  often  took t h i s  g e n t l e type of c o n f r o n t a t i o n . " J u l i e s a i d  stance as w e l l .  she  She saw i t as t a k i n g back power:  "Why should I have to defend myself? I t ' s  t h e i r problem, not  mine. " Using l o g i c a l e x p l a n a t i o n . An example of t h i s method of d e a l i n g with heterosexism was presented by J u l i e . She r e c a l l e d a c o n v e r s a t i o n with a f r i e n d ' s mother, who was s c a n d a l i z e d by the  118 s t o r y of two l e s b i a n s who dared to k i s s  i n a c o f f e e shop, and  were thrown out: . . . and I defended them, I s a i d , "Well, you know, I t h i n k that people should be allowed to do what they wanna do. T h e y ' r e not r e a l l y h u r t i n g anybody" . . . and she goes "Well, yeah, yeah. I guess t h a t ' s t r u e . " So she k i n d of agreed . . . . And I s a i d , " . . . you know . . . not every man you see on the s t r e e t i s gonna wanna have sex with y o u , " and she goes, "Well yeah, t h a t ' s t r u e . . . . " So she was k i n d of . . . able to see that p o i n t of view, she wasn't completely (pause) out to lunch? But I f e l t good that I had spoken up. And I ' d done i t very s o f t l y , l i k e I d o n ' t wanna a t t a c k people because t h a t puts them on the d e f e n s i v e . And i t makes them f e e l that t h e y ' r e r i g h t ? And t h a t ' s the l a s t t h i n g you wanna do! (laughs s l i g h t l y ) when y o u ' r e d e a l i n g with a person l i k e t h a t , because then they become i m p o s s i b l e . G i v i n g an ultimatum. Although L e e ' s parents have known f o r many years that she i s a l e s b i a n , fact.  For i n s t a n c e ,  they s t i l l do not accept  they c o n s i s t e n t l y  ignored the e x i s t e n c e of  her p a r t n e r and i n v i t e d only Lee to h o l i d a y d i n n e r s , welcoming the spouses of her b r o t h e r and s i s t e r . confront her mother d i r e c t l y ,  while  Lee chose  T h i s way,  she avoided a s i t u a t i o n that would only have i n t e n s i f i e d  felt  i t belonged,  her  She a l s o put the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y where  i m p l y i n g that i t was up to her parents  change t h e i r a t t i t u d e s  to  s t a t i n g that she would not come to  f a m i l y d i n n e r s u n l e s s her p a r t n e r was i n v i t e d as w e l l .  anger and a l i e n a t i o n .  the  she  to  i f they wished to i n c l u d e her i n f a m i l y  functions. Complaining. Marg has complained to school s t a f f  about  the  f a c t that l e s b i a n and gay i s s u e s were ignored by the s c h o o l . When her daughter was teased about having a l e s b i a n mother, Marg went d i r e c t l y to the p r i n c i p a l to p o i n t out the  school's  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to ensure that such behaviour was discouraged and  119 more r e s p e c t f u l a t t i t u d e s  taught.  Complaining was a l s o mentioned by p a r t i c i p a n t s as "ideal" t a c t i c  in certain situations,  the  though they d i d not  a c t u a l l y r e g i s t e r complaints i n those c a s e s . When Marg was v e r b a l l y a s s a u l t e d by a homophobic neighbour, she wished she had tape recorded the a s s a u l t Rae f e l t  and "sued . . . f o r s l a n d e r . " L i k e w i s e ,  t h a t when she was asked questions  that seemed designed  to e l i c i t her p o l i t i c s d u r i n g a job i n t e r v i e w , successfully  she c o u l d have  lodged a c o m p l a i n t .  Educating There i s much o v e r l a p between "Educating" and the p r e v i o u s category,  "Confronting"; however,  the c o n f r o n t i n g i s used to a s s e r t  the two are d i s t i n c t oneself  i n response  situations.  I t often  necessarily  the main g o a l . When Marg complained to the  i n that to  specific  i n v o l v e s e d u c a t i n g , but education i s  about her daughter g e t t i n g  teased,  for instance,  not  principal  she was  p r i m a r i l y concerned about the welfare of her c h i l d ,  and  s e c o n d a r i l y with conveying to the p r i n c i p a l why she found such teasing  unacceptable.  In Models 1 and 3,  I c o n c e p t u a l i z e d "Educating" as a more  "evolved" approach. T h i s d e c i s i o n was based on the comments of s e v e r a l of the women. Delyse, "less reactive"—because  f o r example,  described herself  l e s s fearful—than before,  as  and "more . . .  t o l e r a n t and understanding and wanting to educate p e o p l e . " J u l i e spoke of a s i m i l a r change: . . . I went through a p e r i o d where I was very, very argumentative and I . . . d i d n ' t r e a l l y t h i n k about the  other  1 20  person, that I may be a t t a c k i n g them or (pause) making them f e e l uncomfortable, p u t t i n g them on the d e f e n s i v e . I t h i n k [now] I put more thought i n t o that? And t h a t ' s r e f l e c t e d i n the way I d e a l with the i s s u e . L i k e I t r y to be as r a t i o n a l as I can and I . . . t r y to inform people i f I'm coming from a p o s i t i o n where I have i n f o r m a t i o n or knowledge or understanding that I f e e l that they d o n ' t have. Educating seems to i n v o l v e i n c r e a s e d awareness of, regarding,  and p a t i e n c e  other p e o p l e ' s process of "unlearning" heterosexism.  More emphasis i s p l a c e d on seeing the other p e r s o n ' s p o i n t of view and t r y i n g to understand i t . Being v i s i b l e . The purpose of t h i s s t r a t e g y i s not only to c l a i m one's r i g h t to be o n e s e l f  but to r a i s e the awareness of  o t h e r s . C h e r y l acknowledged that being v i s i b l e was not always easy, but i n s i s t e d i t was necessary i n order to get an important message across to those around her: C:  . . . the minute you do something l i k e [show a f f e c t i o n i n p u b l i c ] , you are the c e n t r e of a t t e n t i o n . L i k e , you r e a l l y c a l l a t t e n t i o n to y o u r s e l f . . . . You know, so people s t a r e at  you all  E : Yeah,  the time . . .  y o u ' r e making a b i g statement when y o u ' r e not—  C: — a b i g  statement!  E : —wanting to (pause), I mean, w e l l , t o , but t h a t ' s not the p o i n t . C: Yeah! point. there we're  i n a way y o u ' r e wanting  Yeah, i n a way we do i t (pause), um, t h a t i s n ' t the The p o i n t i s (pause) that we are who we a r e . But i s a b i g statement i n t h a t , though. You know, one t h a t not a f r a i d to make.  Making a b i g statement The paradox a r i s e s  is  the p o i n t and yet i t  i s not  the p o i n t .  from the f a c t that c l a i m i n g one's r i g h t s and  educating the p u b l i c are i n s e p a r a b l e . While C h e r y l and her p a r t n e r may simply want to be who they a r e , they cannot do so without having an impact on o t h e r s .  121  Being a r o l e model. S e v e r a l of the women i n t e r v i e w e d remarked t h a t because they had had no r o l e models, t h a t being a l e s b i a n was a p o s s i b l e one.  they had not  lifestyle,  and a  realized  legitimate  Through v o l u n t e e r i n g with a l e s b i a n and gay youth group,  Marg hoped to p r o v i d e i n f o r m a t i o n and encouragement: . . . t a l k i n g and t r y i n g to educate, l i k e , urn, v o l u n t e e r i n g , and being around gay and l e s b i a n youth i s very important. To l e t them know that there are ways, you know, that you can grow to be a happy a d u l t i s very important. I t ' s very important to s t r e s s t h a t . I wish (pause) I ' d a had t h i s , when I was a k i d . Denise has a l s o provided education and guidance to young people r e g a r d i n g sexual o r i e n t a t i o n i s s u e s .  On one o c c a s i o n ,  a young  woman she had worked with wrote her asking f o r a d v i c e : . . . she's t a k i n g women's s t u d i e s and so s h e ' s l i k e , "I hate men!" and "What does t h i s mean?" and . . . "I d o n ' t know whether I can l i v e without men, but . . . a l l the guys I know are j e r k s " and t h i s s t u f f ! And so . . . I j u s t wrote her and s a i d , you know, "Just because y o u ' r e a l e s b i a n d o e s n ' t n e c e s s a r i l y mean you hate men . . . . And, you know, j u s t because y o u ' r e a f e m i n i s t or you b e l i e v e i n women's r i g h t s d o e s n ' t n e c e s s a r i l y make you a l e s b i a n e i t h e r ! " . . . . I s a i d , you know l i k e , "Don't worry about i t ! L i k e , j u s t do what you f e e l i s r i g h t f o r y o u r s e l f . Don't pressure y o u r s e l f , take your time (laughing a b i t ) , you know? T h e r e ' s no r u s h . " So t h a t was r e a l l y c o o l too . .'. when I . . . s t a r t e d coming out . . . I d i d n ' t r e a l l y have anybody to t a l k to about i t . I j u s t k i n d of d e a l t with i t somehow. Clearly, educate  a major m o t i v a t i n g f a c t o r i n these women's d e s i r e is  the r e c o l l e c t i o n of t h e i r f e e l i n g s of c o n f u s i o n or  aloneness when d i s c o v e r i n g t h e i r own sexual want to g i v e to others should have  to  received.  identities;  they now  the i n f o r m a t i o n and support they f e e l  they  1 22  C o r r e c t i n g misconceptions. involves  A s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t of  educating  " r e - e d u c a t i n g , " or undoing the harm that has been  perpetuated by common myths o r misunderstandings about  lesbians.  J u l i e gave an example of attempting to c o r r e c t the b e l i e f l e s b i a n s are more "sexual" than h e t e r o s e x u a l  that  women, and t h a t  they  compulsively and i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y make sexual advances toward other women: . . . when that g i r l [co-worker, the day the i n t e r v i e w took p l a c e ] s a i d that she was gonna stop seeing her massage t h e r a p i s t because she found out she was a l e s b i a n , I stood up f o r , you know, f o r t h a t . L i k e I countered what she was saying very calmly and . . . I s a i d , "Well, you know, s h e ' s a p r o f e s s i o n a l . I mean I doubt very much that s h e ' d be making passes at every woman who, you know, happens to be on her massage t a b l e . . . . " Examples g i v e n by other women show t h a t i t possible reply, god,  i s a l s o sometimes  to g i v e c o r r e c t i n f o r m a t i o n i n a s u c c i n c t but e d i f y i n g  such as when Susan responded to the exclamation,  "Oh my  are you i n t h e r a p y ? ! " with "Well yeah, how do you t h i n k I  got to where I am?" S i m i l a r l y , "dyke" by her classmates,  Marg advised her t o :  i t wrong! My mom's a l e s b i a n , Answering p e o p l e ' s  when Marg's daughter was c a l l e d a "Tell  'em! You got  not me!"  guestions.  When Marg was approached by an  man i n h i s s e v e n t i e s who p o i n t e d to her "Damned l e s b i a n " s h i r t and asked, question  "You're not one of those,  are you?" she took  the  seriously:  M: L i k e h e ' s , l i k e p o i n t i n g at the back of my s h i r t . And I s a i d , "Yeah I am!" and . . . we t a l k e d f o r about f i f t e e n , twenty minutes, and he asked me a l l kinds of q u e s t i o n s , and some of them were p e r s o n a l and some of them, they were p e r s o n a l but they weren't? L i k e , you know . . . "Do you hate  1 23 men?" and urn, "Why, w i l l you ever be i n t i m a t e with a man again?" and "Do you f i n d men a t t r a c t i v e ? " and j u s t these kinds of q u e s t i o n s . E : Yeah, p r e t t y p e r s o n a l questions you.  for a t o t a l  s t r a n g e r to ask  M: Yeah, but I t h i n k i n a way he needed to? Because he—I'm sure he went home and he probably s a i d , you know, "Honey, I—" you know, l i k e , to h i s wife—  I,  E : —"I met a l e s b i a n ! " M: Yeah! And . . . he probably never met one—that he knew o f ! . . . I d i d n ' t f e e l threatened at a l l . So that was k i n d of i n t e r e s t i n g . I enjoyed t h a t . T h i s example suggests that what might normally be p e r c e i v e d as an i n s u l t can a l s o be seen as an o p p o r t u n i t y to  educate.  Drawing p a r a l l e l s . A few p a r t i c i p a n t s gave i n s t a n c e s of how they drew a n a l o g i e s  to make t h e i r p o i n t ,  as Marg d i d i n  e x p l a i n i n g to her mother that h e t e r o s e x u a l s have more freedom than homosexuals  do:  And she c o u l d n ' t understand t h a t ! And I s a i d , "Well, you can h o l d dad's hand, and not worry about being beat up, or b e i n g killed!" Denise drew p a r a l l e l s to e x p l a i n to a homophobic co-worker d i s c r i m i n a t i o n against  that  someone f o r being a l e s b i a n was  fundamentally the same as d i s c r i m i n a t i o n with regard to race or religion: . . . we t a l k e d a l o t and he had been through a l o t with h i s g i r l f r i e n d at the time about . . . her parents not a c c e p t i n g him . . . and I j u s t s a i d , "You know, l i k e i t happens i n d i f f e r e n t ways, l i k e where y o u ' r e not accepted by d i f f e r e n t p a r e n t s , and, because of r e l i g i o n , or whatever! And i t ' s the same t h i n g . . . . " As a r e s u l t of D e n i s e ' s  influence,  t h i s man d i d l e a r n to  h i s p r e v i o u s l y unquestioned h e t e r o s e x i s t  attitudes.  examine  1 24  G i v i n g workshops.  In her work with youth, Denise has  conducted workshops i n homophobia and heterosexism all  sexual o r i e n t a t i o n s .  violence play,  f o r people of  These workshops i n c l u d e d a f i l m about  toward gays and l e s b i a n s ,  s m a l l group e x e r c i s e s ,  and d i s c u s s i o n of such t o p i c s as s t e r e o t y p e s ,  r e l a t i o n s h i p between heterosexism  role  the  and other "isms," and how to be  s u p p o r t i v e of l e s b i a n and gay people.  She s t r e s s e d  the need to be  p a t i e n t and r e a l i s t i c r e g a r d i n g how much a s i n g l e workshop c o u l d accomplish: You know, you d o n ' t expect someone to be, l i k e , r e a l l y homophobic and become, urn, a s u p p o r t i v e person, i n l i k e a day workshop or even a month of knowing you, but i f they can move from, you know, t o t a l l y homophobic to a c c e p t i n g (pause) and then, a f t e r a couple of y e a r s , h o p e f u l l y to b e i n g , you know, s u p p o r t i v e . . . Thus Denise acknowledged the t y p i c a l l y slow process by which people begin to q u e s t i o n the tenets of a p r i m a r i l y  heterosexist  society. Educating c h i l d r e n . Both mothers i n t h i s  sample emphasized  the importance of teaching t h e i r c h i l d r e n , and all c h i l d r e n , about a l t e r n a t e it  f a m i l i e s and l i f e s t y l e s .  i s not p o s s i b l e  self-acceptance felt  Cheryl underlined that  f o r a l e s b i a n mother to teach her c h i l d r e n  i f she h e r s e l f  is  i n the c l o s e t . Marg c l e a r l y  the same way, even though being out meant her daughter  getting  teased at  school:  . . . R. w i l l come home and s h e ' l l be c r y i n g because some k i d has teased her about me being a l e s b i a n , and I s a i d "Well, would you r a t h e r me be who I'm not? J u s t so that y o u ' r e safe? You know, and I mean, I'm s o r r y that people tease you . . . . " I hug her and I t r y to be as sympathetic as I can, and understanding but (pause) I t h i n k that she, she understands i t and she s a i d , "No, i t ' s b e t t e r that you can  1 25  be who you are T h a t ' s a l o t to t a k e . F o r a t e n - y e a r o l d . I t h i n k I would be t o t a l l y happy i f (pause) they were t e a c h i n g k i d s at school that there are other l i f e s t y l e s . That there are other ways, because . . . where are these k i d s l e a r n i n g t h i s ? Where are these k i d s l e a r n i n g to c a l l my daughter a dyke because I am? T h i s k i n d of education means more than j u s t teaching c h i l d r e n about a l t e r n a t e  lifestyles,  however;  i t means teaching them about  the d i s c r e p a n c y between the way things should be and the way they are,  and t h e r e f o r e about o p p r e s s i o n : . . . when I came out to R . , she j u s t happened to be r e a d i n g about phobias! And i t worked out g r e a t , 'cause she was r e a d i n g about d i f f e r e n t phobias, and f e a r of the dark, and s p i d e r s , and, and they a l l had names, and I s a i d , "Well h e r e ' s another one, i t ' s c a l l e d 'homophobia.' I t ' s f e a r of gay and l e s b i a n people. And because of t h i s , sometimes people c o u l d want to hurt me because I'm a l e s b i a n . And f o r that reason, we have to be c a r e f u l . " Essentially,  C h e r y l noted,  of d e a l i n g with heterosexism  f o r a l e s b i a n mother a major p a r t  i s attempting to undo the  programming about homosexuality t h e i r c h i l d r e n r e c e i v e For i n s t a n c e ,  i n her household,  negative in public.  i n p l a c e of a F a t h e r ' s Day  c e l e b r a t i o n i s a day to honour C h e r y l ' s p a r t n e r and other parent to the c h i l d r e n , J . When the c h i l d r e n t o l d t h e i r teacher they c e l e b r a t e d J . ' s Day i n s t e a d of F a t h e r ' s Day, the automatic response was,  that  teacher's  "Do you have an uncle? Do you have a  grandpa?" . . . when they c a n ' t have J . ' s Day i n s c h o o l , you come home, and you t r y to (pause) make up f o r t h a t . You t r y to say t h a t [the people at s c h o o l ] are wrong, and that they j u s t d o n ' t understand, and they d o n ' t wanna understand, and i t ' s u n f o r t u n a t e , and you t r y to d i s c u s s a l l that with your k i d s . A c c o r d i n g to C h e r y l , children is  the key to c u l t i v a t i n g open minds i n one's  to be as open and honest  as p o s s i b l e with them, and  1 26  to be w i l l i n g to d i s c u s s with them any t o p i c they are c u r i o u s about: You know, we t a l k about what sexual o r i e n t a t i o n — p r e f e r e n c e , whatever you wanna c a l l i t — t h e y a r e . L i k e , we t a l k about that a l l the time! And . . . l i k e I have one daughter who says s h e ' s a l e s b i a n , one daughter who, who f l u c t u a t e s . One day she's s t r a i g h t , one day s h e ' s b i s e x u a l , one day s h e ' s a l e s b i a n , and my son i s l i k e , adamantly s t r a i g h t . . . . they have c h o i c e s , you know? What happens when they h i t t h i r t e e n , and they c a n ' t — t h e y c a n ' t say t h a t , i f they are l e s b i a n s ? You know? Man! Oh! Both C h e r y l and Marg i m p l i e d that there was no sense i n p r e t e n d i n g to one's c h i l d r e n that problems l i k e o p p r e s s i o n , violence,  and d i s e a s e do not e x i s t .  them a f a l s e view of l i f e ,  Doing so would only  teach  and make them l e s s prepared to d e a l  with l i f e ' s hard blows. Showing one's n o r m a l i t y . Part of educating the p u b l i c , both Marg and C h e r y l observed, are b a s i c a l l y no d i f f e r e n t  was showing people that  from anyone e l s e ,  and that  as  lesbians their  f a m i l i e s are l i k e anyone e l s e ' s f a m i l y . Only by being v i s i b l e  can  they do t h i s : M:  . . . i t ' s very important that people see me. And know t h a t I have a daughter i n "Guides" and a son i n "Beavers," and t h a t I do go grocery shopping.  C:  . . . I t h i n k i t ' s my r o l e to educate i n some sense, you know? . . . j u s t to show that we're l i k e a normal f a m i l y . We take our three k i d s everywhere we go and, you know, we go f a m i l y swimming, we go here, we go t h e r e , and we go on p i c n i c s , we go camping t o g e t h e r , a l l that s t u f f !  L a t e r d u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w ,  C h e r y l added:  . . . i t ' s about normalizing i t . . . . I t is normal f o r me. And average f o r me. But i t i s n ' t f o r my next-door n e i g h b o u r s . You know, so u n l e s s they get a chance to be exposed to i t , other than, l i k e seeing the Gay P r i d e [parade] on T . V  1 27 I t h i n k . . . sometimes those k i n d of f o r m a l i z e d p r o t e s t s and marches and r a l l i e s can be (pause), urn, d e t r i m e n t a l . . . [people d o n ' t get] a look at average C . and J . and t h e i r three k i d s .  P a r t I I I : C r e a t i n g a Nonheterosexist S o c i e t y Although no i n t e r v i e w questions subject of goals,  s p e c i f i c a l l y addressed the  many o f the i n t e r v i e w e e s  to the k i n d of s o c i e t y  put f o r t h o p i n i o n s as  they would l i k e to l i v e i n . Because these  views seemed to r e p r e s e n t an i d e a l "endpoint" toward which they were u l t i m a t e l y s t r i v i n g , I i n c l u d e d them i n Model 1 as  goals  p l a c e d at the end of a more or l e s s l i n e a r e v o l u t i o n of approaches. During the focus group, most of the women thought these goals belonged i n the c e n t r e of a c i r c u l a r model, so  this  i s how they appear i n Models 2 and 3. They r e p r e s e n t changes p a r t i c i p a n t s b e l i e v e d society and  as a whole, i n c l u d i n g the  gay communities, should be t r y i n g to a c h i e v e .  the  lesbian  As such,  they  inform the women's v a r i o u s ways of d e a l i n g with heterosexism. Some women f e l t  that the a c t i v i t i e s  a s s o c i a t e d with these  would not only help to dismantle heterosexism, c o n t r i b u t e to a non-oppressive s o c i e t a l  goals  but would  structure generally.  There were d i f f e r i n g o p i n i o n s amongst group members as  to  whether these goals c o u l d be a t t a i n e d w i t h i n t h e i r l i f e t i m e — a n d in  fact,  whether they would ever be a t t a i n e d . However, a l l group  members agreed that they were worth working toward. Better Education of Children T h i s i s s u e was s t r e s s e d p a r t i c u l a r l y by the l e s b i a n mothers in  the study as necessary  for effecting  a s o c i a l change wherein  128  people c o u l d f r e e l y express any sexual o r i e n t a t i o n without being discriminated against.  Although Marg and C h e r y l are c o n t r i b u t i n g  to the "re-education" of t h e i r own c h i l d r e n and of other young people they come i n contact w i t h ,  they both observed t h a t  schools  need to take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r p r o v i d i n g c o r r e c t i n f o r m a t i o n about s e x u a l i t y ,  as w e l l as about a l t e r n a t e  f a m i l i e s and  lifestyles. Equal Treatment i n the Media Marg t a l k e d about the movie "Serving i n S i l e n c e : The G r e t a Cammermeyer S t o r y , " the t r u e s t o r y of a respected army c o l o n e l who was f i r e d from the U . S . armed f o r c e s because  she was a  lesbian: And I sat and I watched and I watched and [Cammermeyer and her p a r t n e r ] kissed, and I thought, "Thank god they r e a l l y do!" You know, the whole time they were l i k e t h i s ! (as i f to touch another person l i g h t l y ) They were l o v e r s , and they touched l i k e t h i s ! . . . i f t h i s was a guy and g i r l i n l o v e , t h e y ' d be showing them i n bed having sex. And I mean, two l e s b i a n s , oh god f o r b i d they a c t u a l l y touch each other . . . they had to s a c r i f i c e other things to get t h e i r p o i n t a c r o s s . And t h a t ' s where I get very angry and f r u s t r a t e d . C h e r y l ' s p o i n t about t e l e v i s i o n  coverage of the Gay P r i d e  Parade i s another example of u n f a i r treatment by the media, the form of m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n ;  that i s ,  the media favours  in  the  s t e r e o t y p i c a l and the flamboyant, such as the "Dykes on Bikes" ("Like, we're a l l a buncha b i k e r c h i c k s i n l e a t h e r ! " joked),  and overlooks o r d i n a r y l e s b i a n s  families.  As a r e s u l t ,  Cheryl  and gays and t h e i r  the p u b l i c i s given a d i s t o r t e d p i c t u r e of  who l e s b i a n and gay people a r e .  1 29  F u l l L e g a l Rights The l e g a l aspect of heterosexism J u l i e and C h e r y l .  J u l i e made r e f e r e n c e  to marry, and to e f f o r t s leaders  was brought up by both to not having the  option  of v a r i o u s p o l i t i c i a n s and r e l i g i o u s  to t r y to r e s t r i c t the r i g h t s of gays and l e s b i a n s .  Both  women brought up the widespread l a c k of same-sex b e n e f i t s i n  the  workplace. C h i e f l y ,  and  both underscored the p o i n t that l e s b i a n s  gay men should have the same l e g a l r i g h t s that everyone e l s e  has.  P u b l i c Role Models Marg spoke o f the f e e l i n g o f a f f i r m a t i o n she when well-known s i n g e r s came out of the  experienced  l i k e M e l i s s a E t h e r i d g e and K . D . L a i n g  closet:  I never had any r o l e models . . . . I d i d n ' t u n t i l I came out . . . And when I f i r s t came out, knowing K . D . L a i n g was a l e s b i a n and knowing her songs were w r i t t e n about other women, i t was l i k e , i n c r e d i b l e ! I t was t h i s t o t a l , new freedom to know that . . . there was a woman out there w r i t i n g songs to other women . . . . In g e n e r a l ,  the more l e s b i a n s  start  i n aspects of mainstream c u l t u r e , more v a l i d a t e d they  seeing themselves  the more v i s i b l e  reflected  and hence  the  feel.  New Family S t r u c t u r e s Delyse noted that the l e s b i a n community has intergenerational connections. p a r t l y because many l e s b i a n s  She f e l t  few  t h i s problem e x i s t e d  were " r e a c t i v e to" the  model of the f a m i l y . In other words,  since  i s h e l d up as the only model, l e s b i a n s  a heterosexual  tend to a v o i d  T h a t ' s one way i n which heterosexism  heterosexual model  it:  and homophobia  affect  1 30  us i s , I t h i n k , i n how we organize our r e l a t i o n s h i p s , how we organize our . . . f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e . . . . We only have t h a t h e t e r o s e x u a l model and so i t ' s l i k e we f l o u n d e r about, r i g h t ? . . . t r y i n g to develop, you know, a s t r u c t u r e i n our community which I t h i n k we a c t u a l l y need, and which we l a c k a great d e a l o f . Delyse a l s o touched on how t h i s problem a f f e c t e d  her own l i f e :  . . . so I've been t h i n k i n g , you know, about t h a t , and how to get (pause) c h i l d r e n i n my l i f e . I guess, you know, and . . . (pause, then t h o u g h t f u l l y : ) Yeah . . . . And you know, we need, uh, elders to l e a r n from too. At the same time that the p u b l i c needs to become more a c c e p t i n g of l e s b i a n s , the heterosexual  lesbians  lifestyle  may need to be l e s s r e a c t i v e  i n order to embrace what i s  about such aspects of i t as i n t e r g e n e r a t i o n a l E x p l o r a t i o n of  to  enriching  contact.  Sexuality  T h i n k i n g about her young f r i e n d who was unsure about her sexual o r i e n t a t i o n , more g e n e r a l l y  Denise suggested that sexual e x p l o r a t i o n be  encouraged:  . . . I t h i n k i t ' s b e t t e r i f more people did, l i k e , not n e c e s s a r i l y go to s l e e p with a member of the same sex or anything but i f they questioned, l i k e i f they a c t u a l l y sat down and s a i d , "Wow! What would i t be l i k e ? Could—does t h i s f i t me? Yes or no?" Then, l i k e I t h i n k the world would be a better place. T h i s p o i n t t i e s i n with the views of Marg and C h e r y l r e g a r d i n g the education of young people. is  a legitimate  The knowledge that  choice would, i f  imparted e a r l y ,  homosexuality prevent much  f e a r and c o n f u s i o n f o r c o u n t l e s s people l a t e r on. Greater Numbers of Out L e s b i a n and Gay People C h e r y l s t r e s s e d that major change cannot not take  place  u n l e s s g r e a t e r numbers of l e s b i a n and gay people come out: ...  it's  not going to change unless there are a h e l l of a  131  l o t more . . . l e s b i a n s who are w i l l i n g to go out and k i s s t h e i r l o v e r s at Safeway. She added that change takes p l a c e on an i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l , that t h e r e f o r e  the choices  affect  as a whole:  society  and  that any gay or l e s b i a n person makes  C: You know, but i f you have l e s b i a n s who won't t e l l t h e i r t h a t t h e y ' r e l e s b i a n s . . . . L i k e (sighs h e a v i l y ) . . . E:  kids  I t ' s not l i k e we need more than ten percent t o , to b r i n g people around, but . . . f u l l y that ten percent have to be open about who they a r e .  C: T h a t ' s the first s t e p ! But that would be a huge s t e p ! I f every l e s b i a n woke up and s a i d , "Today I'm going to be, urn, as l e s b i a n as I can!" . . . or "Today I'm gonna be who I am, and who I am i s k i s s i n g my wife!" You know? That w i l l change things! E : J u s t l i k e , you know i t ' s l i k e they say i f e v e r y — i f every gay and l e s b i a n suddenly turned p u r p l e or something, you know then, everybody e l s e c o u l d see how many of us there were. C: Yeah . . . but i t ' s not even l i k e , making a b i g statement l i k e t u r n i n g p u r p l e . . . . I t ' s , l i k e , going to the grocery s t o r e , and buying your g r o c e r i e s together . . . and making people . . . aware that you are t o g e t h e r . L i k e i t ' s going to the swimming p o o l , i t ' s e n r o l l i n g your k i d s i n school and showing up t h e r e , on Parent Day, both of you. You know, i t ' s those normal, average t h i n g s . "Acceptance" Rather than "Tolerance" While l e s b i a n and gay people themselves must s u r e l y s t a r t take more r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n the way that C h e r y l heterosexual begin w i t h ,  reflected  describes,  people a l s o need to take more r e s p o n s i b i l i t y :  to  they need to become more aware of the double  standards r e g a r d i n g the p r i v i l e g e s lesbians  to  l a c k . Marg s t r e s s e d  that these double standards are  in certain attitudes  such as when heterosexuals  they have that gays and  toward l e s b i a n and gay p e o p l e ,  p r i d e themselves on being  "tolerant":  1 32  . . . my mom and t o l e r a n c e and, t o l e r a n c e . You r i g h t ? " . . . so  I have t a l k e d a l o t and we've t a l k e d about and I , you know, I say, "I d o n ' t want know, I d o n ' t t o l e r a t e you! I accept you, I t h i n k I ' v e opened my mom's eyes a l o t .  As can be seen i n the f o l l o w i n g excerpt o f my c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h Rae,  "acceptance  lesbians  r a t h e r than t o l e r a n c e " i s a concept  themselves,  heterosexist society, R:  having been r a i s e d i n a predominantly can e a s i l y  lose sight  of:  . . . [ i t ] i s n ' t l i k e , I'm a c r u s a d i n g hero or a n y t h i n g , j u s t l i k e (pause) making room f o r myself i n a room.  E : Mm-hm. (Yeah!) And educating other people,  about  R: Acceptance i s what I want them to do! E : Yeah. Mm-hm. Yeah. R:  that  (Pause.  Then q u i e t l y : )  I tolerate  mosquitoes.  it's  tolerance.  133 CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION In t h i s c h a p t e r , practical significance  I w i l l discuss of t h i s  study.  both the t h e o r e t i c a l  and the  I w i l l then make some  suggestions r e g a r d i n g future r e s e a r c h i n areas r e l a t e d to my own research t o p i c .  The chapter w i l l conclude with a b r i e f summary o f  my f i n d i n g s .  S i g n i f i c a n c e of the Study Theoretical  Significance  Some of the p a r t i c i p a n t s ' e a r l i e r s t r a t e g i e s i n d e a l i n g w i t h heterosexism  c o i n c i d e with the e a r l y stages of the l e s b i a n and  gay i d e n t i t y development models put f o r t h by v a r i o u s (Cass,  1979;  Coleman, 1982;  Troiden,  theorists  1989). For i n s t a n c e ,  the women gave evidence of what T r o i d e n c a l l s  "stigma  some of  evasion  s t r a t e g i e s , " such as escape through drugs or a l c o h o l , overworking, bisexual. fit,  self-isolation,  denial,  and d e f i n i n g o n e s e l f  as  However, a paradigm l i k e T r o i d e n ' s does not seem to  overall,  f o r these women. T r o i d e n c o n s i d e r s  alignment" and acceptance  "group  of a homosexual i d e n t i t y  o f "stigma e v a s i o n , " whereas i n my r e s e a r c h ,  to be elements  there was no  evidence beyond the "Hiding" and "Preparing to Come Out" phases t h a t p a r t i c i p a n t s t r i e d to evade t h e i r l e s b i a n i d e n t i t i e s . fact,  finding lesbians  strengthening  f r i e n d s was seen as a p o s i t i v e  their lesbian i d e n t i t i e s .  In  step toward  And nowhere i n any of  models to date i s there mention of how l e s b i a n s  the  and gay men d e a l  1 34 with anger at being oppressed,  how they f e e l  about  their  oppressors and how they respond to them, or how they l e a r n to h e a l from the wounds i n f l i c t e d by  heterosexism.  A more a p p r o p r i a t e paradigm appears to be N e i s e n ' s  (1993)  n o t i o n of " c u l t u r a l v i c t i m i z a t i o n . " In N e i s e n ' s scheme, out i s  coming  s i m i l a r to the abuse v i c t i m ' s statement "I have been  abused," i n that i t b r i n g s t r u t h to the fore and s e t s i n motion the processes of e s t a b l i s h i n g p e r p e t r a t o r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y freeing oneself  from g u i l t and s e l f - b l a m e )  (thereby  and r e c l a i m i n g  p e r s o n a l power. Neisen a s s e r t s that the damage done to  lesbian  and gay people i s p a r t l y due to o v e r t kinds o f d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , such as denying l e s b i a n s  and gays the r i g h t to marry,  and p a r t l y  to more s u b t l e but no l e s s powerful kinds of o p p r e s s i o n , p e r p e t u a t i n g the i n v i s i b i l i t y of l e s b i a n s example,  such as  and gay men—for  by e x c l u d i n g l e s b i a n and gay couples  from  television  programs and a d v e r t i s i n g . N e i s e n ' s paradigm seems confirmed, to a l a r g e e x t e n t , experiences  of the women i n t h i s  discrimination, attack,  study.  such as n a m e - c a l l i n g ,  having t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s  by the  A l l had experienced  overt  the t h r e a t of p h y s i c a l  i g n o r e d , and not being  allowed  to marry. They a l s o c i t e d s u b t l e r kinds of o p p r e s s i o n . For instance,  s e v e r a l of the p a r t i c i p a n t s mentioned not knowing t h a t  l i v i n g as a l e s b i a n was a v a l i d o p t i o n . Most d i d not themselves r e f l e c t e d met,  i n songs, movies,  and the only references  television,  to l e s b i a n s  t y p i c a l l y derogatory ones. The process  see  or people  they  they heard were  they underwent was c l e a r l y  1 35 one of r e c o g n i z i n g " c u l t u r a l v i c t i m i z a t i o n " and l e a r n i n g to respond to i t  i n healthy  ways.  Rich (1980) s e t s the c u l t u r a l v i c t i m i z a t i o n of l e s b i a n s broader framework, seeing i t as an aspect of sexism. lesbians  and heterosexual  In her view,  women a l i k e are caught i n a male-  dominated system wherein "compulsory h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y " i n exchange f o r emotional and economic s e c u r i t y . heterosexuality  is  in a  i s by g l o r i f y i n g heterosexual  demanded  One way i n which  "enforced," a c c o r d i n g to R i c h ,  r e n d e r i n g i n v i s i b l e of the l e s b i a n p o s s i b i l i t y "  is  i s by "the  (p.  19);  another  romance. Experience of both these  f a c t o r s was mentioned by study p a r t i c i p a n t s . A l s o , p a r t i c i p a n t s connected heterosexism  to sexism,  several  or r e l a t e d i t  other "isms." Hence, most p a r t i c i p a n t s saw heterosexism  to  as a  complex i n s t i t u t i o n whose r o o t s were i n t e r t w i n e d with those of other forms of  oppression.  Originally,  I had intended to r e s e a r c h how l e s b i a n s  with heterosexism.  I was guided by Lykes'  coping as the " e f f o r t challenge  . . . " (p.  approaches r e f l e c t but to  (1983) d e f i n i t i o n of  to master c o n d i t i o n s of t h r e a t ,  84).  them ( p u l l out t h e i r r o o t s ) ,  i n a p p r o p r i a t e . For i n s t a n c e ,  while Neisen  and gay people to become v i s i b l e  or  I found the term lesbian  i n order to " r e c l a i m p e r s o n a l 51),  study—through such a c t i v i t i e s  v o l u n t e e r i n g with youth groups,  conditions  (1993) urges  power l o s t l i v i n g i n a h e t e r o s e x i s t c u l t u r e " (p. participants in this  harm,  However, s i n c e many of the women's  attempts not j u s t to master these  "e-radicate"  "cope"  g i v i n g workshops,  most as  and w r i t i n g  1 36 l e t t e r s to newspapers—go such,  f a r beyond simply being v i s i b l e . As  they not only take back p e r s o n a l power,  h e l p b r i n g about a s h i f t  but a l s o attempt  i n the fundamental imbalance of  to  power.  The women i n my study have c o n t r i b u t e d not merely ways of a d j u s t i n g to an u n j u s t s t a t e of a f f a i r s , lesbian identity itself.  that c h a l l e n g e  A c c o r d i n g to  homosexual i d e n t i t y  Cass'  but ways of a s s e r t i n g  the i n s t i t u t i o n of  (1979) o f t e n - c i t e d  a  heterosexism  model of  formation, a l e s b i a n who reaches  " i d e n t i t y s y n t h e s i s " stage "is now a b l e to i n t e g r a t e homosexual i d e n t i t y with a l l other aspects of s e l f "  the  final,  [her] (p.  235).  The  model I developed with the p a r t i c i p a n t - c o l l a b o r a t o r s goes f u r t h e r by emphasizing the r o l e of s e l f activist  in society:  includes  such  approaches as c o n f r o n t i n g and educating as a way of  a s s e r t i n g one's l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y rejects lesbians. change,  it  i n a s o c i e t y that  In other words,  it  such that models l i k e i t s e l f  generally  i s concerned with  societal  would become o b s o l e t e .  Implications for Counselling Interestingly,  of these e i g h t women who had "reached a  comfortable acceptance mentioned therapy passing. issues,  (though i n a p o s i t i v e  Another made r e f e r e n c e  light),  and only i n  to working through p e r s o n a l  such as i n t e r n a l i z e d homophobia, i n order to d e a l  effectively lesbians  of t h e i r l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y , " only one  with heterosexism.  Perhaps one i m p l i c a t i o n i s  that  are not apt to r e l y on therapy as t h e i r only means of  s u p p o r t . Among t h i s mentioned. A l s o ,  sample,  many other types o f support were  the focus of t h i s  study was on d e a l i n g with  the  1 37 s o c i e t a l problem of heterosexism r a t h e r than with psychological effects  in particular;  its  t h e r e f o r e the t o p i c of  c o u n s e l l i n g may not have been d i r e c t l y r e l e v a n t i n i n t e r v i e w s . Nevertheless,  many f a c t o r s i n the data p o i n t to ways t h a t  therapy c o u l d be u s e f u l . For i n s t a n c e ,  s e v e r a l women commented  t h a t the growing knowledge that they had c h o i c e s helped them to a s s e r t who they were. explore a f u l l  In therapy, c l i e n t s can be helped to  range of o p t i o n s . For i n s t a n c e ,  when i n the e a r l y  stages of t h i n k i n g about t h e i r sexual o r i e n t a t i o n , c l i e n t s reminded t h a t they have time to d e c i d e , sex f e e l i n g s  unless  can be  and need not act on same-  they want to or are ready (Gonsiorek, 1988).  At the same time, a s s e r t i n g a l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y can be presented as a v a l i d ,  positive  choice.  A l s o i n d i c a t e d by the data was a l a c k of the k i n d of i n f o r m a t i o n that made choices p o s s i b l e . r o l e i s to p r o v i d e t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n , r e a d i n g and video l i s t s , Kus,  Part of the  i n the form of  and community resources  1990). E x p l o r a t i o n of stereotypes  therapist's facts,  (Browning, 1987;  a c l i e n t holds may a l s o be  necessary,  along with d i s c u s s i o n of other myths about l e s b i a n and  gay people  (Hanley-Hackenbruck,  stage,  Sophie, 1987). At t h i s  such books as E i c h b e r g ' s Coming Out: An Act of Love  (1990), C l a r k ' s Loving Out  1988a;  to Parents  Someone Gay (1989), and Borhek's Coming  (1993) may a l s o be a p p r o p r i a t e .  C r u c i a l to c o u n s e l l i n g l e s b i a n s i s acknowledgement of  the  ways that l e s b i a n s are made i n v i s i b l e , minimized, e c o n o m i c a l l y penalized,  and i n other ways oppressed. D i s c u s s i o n of these  138 f a c t o r s i s n o t meant t o d i s c o u r a g e , but t o s h i f t t h e blame from s e l f t o s o c i e t y (Browning, 1987). Women can be h e l p e d t o see how they have i n t e r n a l i z e d s o c i e t y ' s n e g a t i v e a t t i t u d e s , and i n many c a s e s , f a m i l y a t t i t u d e s ( G o n s i o r e k , 1988; N e i s e n , 1993; S o p h i e , 1987). F e e l i n g s o f shame can be t r a c e d back t o t h e i r o r i g i n s . T h e r a p i s t s may need t o p o i n t o u t t h a t shame i s not.something we a r e born w i t h , b u t comes from how we have been t r e a t e d  (Kaufman,  1989; M i l l e r , 1994), b o t h as i n d i v i d u a l s and as members o f a p a r t i c u l a r group. In a d d i t i o n , d a t a from t h i s study show t h a t h e t e r o s e x i s m has some p o s i t i v e " b y - p r o d u c t s , " such as c l o s e bonds w i t h s u p p o r t i v e p e o p l e , a "tougher s k i n , " and i n c r e a s e d empathy f o r people o f o t h e r oppressed groups. As R i t t e r and O ' N e i l l (1989) s u g g e s t , c o u n s e l l o r s can reframe t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f b e i n g homosexual h e t e r o s e x i s t s o c i e t y as a " g i f t " t h a t b r i n g s unique i n s i g h t  in a into  l o s s and i n j u s t i c e . The r e s u l t s o f t h i s study i n d i c a t e t h a t when a l e s b i a n comes o u t , more and d i f f e r e n t s u p p o r t from t h a t p r o v i d e d by j u s t t h e t h e r a p i s t i s i m p o r t a n t . Other l e s b i a n s can be r o l e models f o r t h e coming o u t l e s b i a n , and can g r e a t l y decrease h e r sense o f i s o l a t i o n (Kus, 1990; S a v i n - W i l l i a m s , 1990). C o u n s e l l o r s s h o u l d be a b l e t o p o i n t women toward coming o u t groups, s o c i a l and r e c r e a t i o n a l groups, l e s b i a n and gay community c e n t r e s , d a n c i n g p l a c e s , and advocacy groups. A t minimum, a number f o r t h e l e s b i a n and gay community's t e l e p h o n e i n f o r m a t i o n l i n e can be p r o v i d e d , a l o n g w i t h t a b l o i d s such as Vancouver's Angles  and Xtra West,  1 39 which c o n t a i n many more r e s o u r c e s . C o r r o b o r a t i n g statements by Lewis (1984) and R i t t e r and O'Neill  (1989),  the women i n t h i s study gave evidence  emotional r e l e a s e  that  i s c e n t r a l to d e a l i n g with heterosexism.  T h e r a p i s t s can help to v a l i d a t e g r i e f over l o s s or abandonment; f r u s t r a t i o n and discouragement over work s i t u a t i o n s , struggles,  legal  or r e l a t i o n s h i p s with those who do not accept t h e i r  sexual o r i e n t a t i o n ; anger and sometimes rage at s o c i e t y the way i t or u n f a i r  is;  f o r being  and s p e c i f i c anger at r e j e c t i n g or h o s t i l e  people,  situations.  My r e s e a r c h r e s u l t s a l s o show that d e a l i n g with heterosexism i s o f t e n wearing: much energy goes i n t o making d e c i s i o n s ,  trying  t o a n t i c i p a t e n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n s to d i s c l o s u r e o f sexual orientation,  explaining oneself  with one's emotions.  (or d e c i d i n g not t o ) ,  Sometimes, c l i e n t s may f e e l  t o r e d r e s s a l l wrongs. They may f i n d i t h e l p f u l  it  and d e a l i n g  i s up to them  to be reminded  that they alone are not r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the s t a t e of s o c i e t y , t h a t they have the r i g h t to save energy and choose t h e i r  and  battles  carefully. Many i s s u e s r a i s e d by p a r t i c i p a n t s p o i n t to the r o l e of d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g i n h e l p i n g l e s b i a n s to d e a l with heterosexism. Major d e c i s i o n s may i n c l u d e whether to leave a male p a r t n e r , whether to be more "out," whether to c o n f r o n t one's f r i e n d s or r e l a t i v e s about t h e i r a t t i t u d e s ,  whether to sever t i e s with  unsupportive people or put r e l a t i o n s h i p s with such people on hold,  whether to come out at work, and whether to move to an area  1 40 where one expects to f i n d more s u p p o r t . A t h e r a p i s t can a s s i s t clients  to weigh gains and l o s s e s and to determine what they want  or need most. Where c l i e n t s are p r e p a r i n g f o r an important confrontation, helpful  r o l e p l a y or G e s t a l t t w o - c h a i r techniques can be  (Sophie,  1987).  Emerging c l e a r l y from t h i s study i s the c r u c i a l r o l e of education i n d e a l i n g with heterosexism. rehearsal,  Through d i s c u s s i o n ,  and r e a d i n g m a t e r i a l , c o u n s e l l o r s can empower l e s b i a n s  to educate those they come i n c o n f l i c t w i t h . As i n t e r v i e w excerpts show,  the a b i l i t y to c o r r e c t misconceptions about  homosexuality e f f e c t i v e l y  can be extremely v a l u a b l e . P a r t i c i p a n t s  p r o v i d e d support f o r Borhek's (1990) b e l i e f that a w i l l i n g n e s s  to  see o t h e r p o i n t s o f view i s key i n i n c r e a s i n g the o t h e r p a r t y ' s receptiveness. One way l e s b i a n s have healed from the damage done by heterosexism i s to become r o l e models f o r o t h e r s ,  including  l e s b i a n and gay youth. T h i s way, they can p r o v i d e the l e a d e r s h i p and knowledge they once sought themselves.  Some l e s b i a n s may  choose to become i n v o l v e d i n s o c i a l advocacy, such as p u t t i n g on workshops or engaging i n p o l i t i c a l  l o b b y i n g . Such a c t i o n s  serve  to i n c r e a s e v i s i b i l i t y and r e p l a c e m i s i n f o r m a t i o n with t r u t h ; they are a l s o l i k e l y to enhance l e s b i a n s '  self-worth.  C o u n s e l l o r s need to p r o v i d e "therapy" not j u s t to d e a l i n g with the f a l l - o u t from heterosexism, that suffers  clients  but to a s o c i e t y  from ignorance and p r e j u d i c e . The f i r s t step i s  educate o u r s e l v e s .  to  P r o f e s s i o n a l s who say they t r e a t l e s b i a n o r  1 41 gay c l i e n t s  no d i f f e r e n t l y  than anyone e l s e may be well-meaning,  but they l a c k awareness of the unique s t r e s s e s a r i s i n g from heterosexism.  While i t  nonjudgmental,  is  important that c o u n s e l l o r s  be  they should a l s o understand the dynamics of  this  i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d p r e j u d i c e and the kinds of s t r a t e g i e s  that  counter i t ,  its  i n c l u d i n g those that u l t i m a t e l y work toward  dismantlement. L e s b i a n and gay i s s u e s should be a p a r t of education  (Iasenza,  1989;  Sang,  counsellor  1989); to ignore such i s s u e s  to ignore the needs of at l e a s t 10% of the p o p u l a t i o n 1991;  Gonsiorek, 1988). V i d e o s , books,  a role,  as can the use of speakers  experiences,  (Fassinger,  and workshops can a l l p l a y  to r e l a t e  personal  g i v e i n f o r m a t i o n and answer q u e s t i o n s .  knowledged gained would enable c o u n s e l l o r s activists  is  Ideally,  to become  the  social  themselves. Because they are seen as being i n the  vanguard of knowledge about s o c i a l s c i e n c e s and human relationships teachers,  (along with p s y c h o l o g i s t s ,  and r e l i g i o u s  p o s i t i o n to educate  leaders),  counsellors  are i n a unique  the p u b l i c .  Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , t h i s attitudes  s o c i a l workers,  study y i e l d s  evidence of  heterosexist  among c h i l d r e n and teenagers as w e l l as among a d u l t s .  Because these a t t i t u d e s  have such harmful consequences,  to people i n h e l p i n g p r o f e s s i o n s damage done by t h i s  it  to communicate c l e a r l y  form of o p p r e s s i o n .  Only then w i l l  i s up  the teachers  and parents be motivated to provide c o r r e c t i n f o r m a t i o n f o r youth on s e x u a l i t y  and a l t e r n a t e  lifestyles,  and to promote  acceptance  142  of d i f f e r e n c e .  E d u c a t i o n of t h i s p o p u l a t i o n i s p i v o t a l  b u i l d i n g a nonheterosexist  to  society.  Recommendations f o r Future Research First, different  a study s i m i l a r to mine, but with l e s b i a n s  age groups, might serve to f u r t h e r t e s t my grounded  theory t h a t over time, effective though,  of  lesbians  evolve s t r a t e g i e s that are more  than the ones they used p r e v i o u s l y .  I t should be noted,  t h a t f i n d i n g s might be confounded by h i s t o r i c a l  effects;  i n that sense, a l o n g i t u d i n a l study would be p r e f e r a b l e . r e s e a r c h i n t o the e f f e c t s of heterosexism lesbians  However,  on youth and on o l d e r  would l e a d to knowledge r e g a r d i n g the s p e c i a l  concerns  of these age groups. C e r t a i n i s s u e s that came up w i t h i n t h i s be f u l l y explored bear f u r t h e r l o o k i n g i n t o , heterosexism couples,  affects  lesbians  study but c o u l d not such as how  i n work s i t u a t i o n s ,  lesbian  and l e s b i a n mothers—both b i o l o g i c a l and n o n b i o l o g i c a l —  and t h e i r c h i l d r e n . In a d d i t i o n , s t u d y i n g the e f f e c t s heterosexism  on l e s b i a n communities,  by l o o k i n g at  of  intra-  community dynamics, would l i k e l y b r i n g to l i g h t how aspects of heterosexism  become r e p l i c a t e d i n these communities. The  phenomenon of " p o l i t i c a l c o r r e c t n e s s , "  f o r example,  invites  more  exploration. Research i n t o heterosexism  w i t h i n any of the  mentioned by p a r t i c i p a n t s i n t h i s media,  s c i e n c e and medicine,  study,  institutions  such as the law,  and r e l i g i o n , would y i e l d  the  rich  143  information.  Also,  heterosexism  i n academia r e q u i r e s f u r t h e r  As mentioned,  though not brought up by  investigation.  s e v e r a l p a r t i c i p a n t s made r e f e r e n c e s  between heterosexism  and sexism.  examined: f o r i n s t a n c e ,  T h i s connection c o u l d be f u r t h e r  as a female i n t h i s  "To what extent do you t h i n k your society  has i n f l u e n c e d the way you  d e a l with heterosexism?" A l t e r n a t i v e l y , the questions my study c o u l d be asked of an a l l - m a l e sample, to t h i s  I used i n  so that  form of o p p r e s s i o n c o u l d be compared across  As Betz and F i t z g e r a l d ( 1 9 9 3 ) note,  responses  gender.  more r e s e a r c h needs to  be done on " m u l t i p l e oppression"; f o r i n s t a n c e , lesbians  to a l i n k  one c o u l d conduct a study s i m i l a r to mine  but i n c l u d e a q u e s t i o n such as, experience  interviewees,  on the needs of  from r a c i a l o r r e l i g i o u s m i n o r i t i e s , or p h y s i c a l l y  c h a l l e n g e d groups. How do l e s b i a n members of v i s i b l e m i n o r i t y groups or r e l i g i o u s groups experience heterosexual  l e s b i a n communities? How do  people from these groups p e r c e i v e l e s b i a n s ?  a p l a c e f o r b i s e x u a l women or transgendered l e s b i a n s  Is  there  in lesbian  communities? How are l e s b i a n communities experienced by people from these groups? Studying the r e l a t i o n s h i p between ways of d e a l i n g with heterosexism figures  and l e s b i a n s '  family backgrounds,  influential  i n c h i l d h o o d , or p e r s o n a l i t y types might c o n t r i b u t e  answering the q u e s t i o n of why i n d i v i d u a l l e s b i a n s  to  choose the  s t r a t e g i e s they do. E x p l o r i n g a connection between how l e s b i a n s d e a l with heterosexism  and how they d e a l with other types of  a d v e r s i t y c o u l d shed l i g h t on why l e s b i a n s develop  their  1 44 p a r t i c u l a r coping and s t r a t e g i z i n g p e r s o n a l strengths Investigation  to  i n t o how much i n f o r m a t i o n about  police,  homosexuality  teachers,  parents,  or  R e s u l t s c o u l d be compared with those of  c h i l d r e n of l e s b i a n or gay p a r e n t s .  And f i n a l l y ,  be a "before and a f t e r " q u a n t i t a t i v e study, scale,  their  segments of the g e n e r a l p u b l i c have  for instance,  h i g h school s t u d e n t s .  heterosexism  and how they put  use.  and h e t e r o s e x i s m . c e r t a i n c o u l d be e d i f y i n g :  styles,  there has yet  u s i n g a homophobia o r  on the e f f e c t s of workshops designed  reduce h e t e r o s e x i s t  to  to  attitudes.  Summary T h i s study o u t l i n e s heterosexism, with i t .  the nature of the problem of  and presents a theory to e x p l a i n how l e s b i a n s  The e i g h t p a r t i c i p a n t s '  heterosexism approaches.  s t r a t e g i e s f o r d e a l i n g with  show both d i v e r s i t y and r e s o u r c e f u l n e s s  in  E a r l y stages of g r a p p l i n g with the problem c o u l d be  l a b e l l e d "coping," i n that the women t y p i c a l l y experienced confusion,  deal  isolation,  or r e j e c t i o n ,  fear,  and t h e i r behaviours were  i n i t i a l l y r e l a t e d to p s y c h o l o g i c a l s u r v i v a l . L a t e r p e r i o d s seem, generally,  to move beyond "coping" to c o n f r o n t i n g ,  "take me or leave me" stance,  educating,  or a combination of a l l  three.  However, p a r t i c i p a n t s acknowledged that they drew on d i f f e r e n t s t r a t e g i e s depending on the Other f i n d i n g s  situation.  were:  1) the emphasis on the energy r e q u i r e d to d e a l with  a  1 45  heterosexism on a d a i l y 2) the often-mentioned 3)  the changing  fear for physical  safety  of anger: some women r e p o r t e d being l e s s  role  angry now than b e f o r e , as t h e i r awareness rage; a l s o ,  basis  while other women's anger  increased,  increased  sometimes t a k i n g the form of  some women who p r e v i o u s l y took anger out on  themselves or those around them l a t e r d i r e c t e d anger at "systems" 4)  an understanding time,  of the other  and to c o n t r i b u t e to e f f e c t i v e l y  heterosexist beliefs 5)  that seemed to develop over  or  attitudes  an i n c r e a s e d awareness of choices, one's l i f e  countering  and of the r i g h t to  live  i n one's own way.  6) a connection between i n c r e a s e d e f f e c t i v e n e s s with heterosexism  in dealing  and becoming more comfortable  with  oneself. I hope the f i n d i n g s of t h i s  study w i l l help to i l l u m i n a t e  the dynamics of t h i s complex,  deeply-rooted prejudice.  C o u n s e l l o r s can help l e s b i a n s  to use "hyperawareness"—as  participant called insight  i n t o o p p r e s s i o n through  one  experience—to  r e c o g n i z e when they may be t a k i n g over the o p p r e s s o r ' s r o l e and v i c t i m i z i n g themselves.  When a growing sense of i n j u s t i c e  accompanied by an i n c r e a s i n g sense of s e l f - e n t i t l e m e n t worth,  h e l p l e s s anger becomes healthy anger,  is  and s e l f -  and one's ways of  d e a l i n g with heterosexism become more p o w e r f u l .  References A l l e n , K . R . , & Baber, K . M . (1992). E t h i c a l and e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l t e n s i o n s i n a p p l y i n g a post-modern p e r s p e c t i v e t o f e m i n i s t r e s e a r c h . Psychology o f Women Q u a r t e r l y , 16, 1-15. Banyard, V . 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The b i s e x u a l i d e n t i t y : An i d e a without s o c i a l r e c o g n i t i o n . In J . P . De Cecco & M . G . S h i v e l y ( E d s . ) , B i s e x u a l and homosexual i d e n t i t i e s : C r i t i c a l t h e o r e t i c a l i s s u e s (pp. 45-63). New York: Haworth. Pope, K . S . , Tabachnick, B . G . , & K e i t h - S p i e g e l , P. (1987). E t h i c s o f p r a c t i c e : The b e l i e f s and behaviors of p s y c h o l o g i s t s as t h e r a p i s t s . American P s y c h o l o g i s t , 42(11), 993-1006. R e i n h a r z , S. (1992). F e m i n i s t methods i n s o c i a l r e s e a r c h . New York: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s . Rennie, D . L . , & Brewer, L . (1987). A grounded theory o f b l o c k i n g . Teaching of Psychology, 1.4(1), 10-15. R i c h , A . (1980). Compulsory h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y S i g n s , 5 ( 4 ) , 631-660.  thesis  and l e s b i a n e x i s t e n c e .  R i d d l e , D . L . , & Sang, B. (1978). 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Tielman, & E . van der Veen ( E d s . ) , The t h i r d pink book: A g l o b a l view of l e s b i a n and gay l i b e r a t i o n and o p p r e s s i o n (pp. 249-342). B u f f a l o , NY: Prometheus Books. T r o i d e n , R . R . (1989). Gay and l e s b i a n i d e n t i t y : A s o c i o l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s . Dix H i l l s , NY: General H a l l . Walsh-Bowers, R . T . , & P a r l o u r , S . J . (1992). R e s e a r c h e r - p a r t i c i p a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n j o u r n a l r e p o r t s on gay men and l e s b i a n women. J o u r n a l of Homosexuality, 23.(4), 93-1 1 2. Weinberg, G. (1972). S o c i e t y and the h e a l t h y homosexual. New York: St. Martin's Press. Zuk, G. (1992). A r e t r o s p e c t i v e e x p l o r a t i o n of the impact of group treatment on male b a t t e r e r s . Unpublished master's t h e s i s , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, Vancouver, B . C .  Appendix A Orienting  151  Statement  Procedures: "Before we s t a r t , that I am r e q u i r e d to  I w i l l e x p l a i n to you the procedures follow.  "I am t a p i n g t h i s i n t e r v i e w so that I can l i s t e n to again and t r a n s c r i b e i t .  No one e l s e w i l l  l i s t e n to t h i s  and I w i l l erase i t a f t e r I have f i n i s h e d t r a n s c r i b i n g I'll  it tape,  it.  destroy the t r a n s c r i p t i o n once I have completed t h i s  study.  I f you would l i k e to r e f e r to y o u r s e l f o r o t h e r s with  assumed names, t h a t ' s  fine.  But i f you choose not to do t h a t ,  I w i l l change the names myself to ensure c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y . "If at any time d u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w you decide you do not want to c o n t i n u e ,  l e t me know and I w i l l stop  the  interview.  "Do you have any questions to ask me before we s t a r t ? "  Introduction: "I am doing t h i s study i n order to f i n d out how l e s b i a n s cope with heterosexism. that heterosexuality  By "heterosexism," I mean the  attitude  i s s u p e r i o r to other sexual o r i e n t a t i o n s  as a way of being and of l o v i n g o t h e r s . they d e a l with negative a t t i t u d e s a theory that r e f l e c t s  In a s k i n g l e s b i a n s how  toward them, I hope to  what they t e l l me about i t .  build  I'm  i n t e r e s t e d i n both what aspects of i t l e s b i a n s have i n common and what i s d i f f e r e n t about i t  f o r each woman."  1 52 Interview Guide 1 (subject  to  revision)  1) When you hear me use the word "heterosexism," meaning you a t t a c h to  I'm wondering what  it.  2a) Could you t e l l me about any i n s t a n c e s of heterosexism ( p r e f e r r e d term) you p e r s o n a l l y have experienced i n your b) How were you a f f e c t e d  life?  by that?  c) How d i d you cope with the  situation?  d) What was the r e s u l t of your saying / doing (Repeat 2a, b, c,  /  that?  and d as many times as necessary)  3) When you t h i n k about the v a r i o u s ways i n which you've coped with heterosexism  /  ( p r e f e r r e d term), do any of them s t r i k e you as more  e f f e c t i v e than others?  (Probe: Why?)  4) Now that you r e f l e c t on the ways you've d e a l t with /  ( p r e f e r r e d term),  heterosexism  I'm wondering how those ways of coping f i t  in  with your t o t a l p i c t u r e of y o u r s e l f as a l e s b i a n .  5)  Is  there  experiences, term)?  anything e l s e thoughts,  you would l i k e  to  tell  me about  or f e e l i n g s about heterosexism  /  your  (preferred  153 Interview Guide 2 (subject  to  revision)  1) When you hear me use the word "heterosexism," meaning you a t t a c h to  I'm wondering what  it.  2a) Could you t e l l me about any i n s t a n c e s of heterosexism ( p r e f e r r e d term) you p e r s o n a l l y have experienced i n your b) How were you a f f e c t e d  / life?  by that?  c) How d i d you cope with the  situation?  d) What was the r e s u l t o f your s a y i n g / doing t h a t ? (Repeat 2a, b, c,  and d as many times as necessary)  3) When you t h i n k about the v a r i o u s ways i n which you've coped with heterosexism effective  /  ( p r e f e r r e d term), do any of them s t r i k e you as more  than others?  (Probe: Why?)  4) Do you t h i n k your way of coping has changed over  time?  5) Now t h a t you r e f l e c t on the ways you've d e a l t with /  ( p r e f e r r e d term),  I'm wondering how those ways of coping f i t  with your t o t a l p i c t u r e of  yourself.  6)  you would l i k e  Is  there  experiences, term)?  heterosexism  anything e l s e thoughts,  to  tell  me about  or f e e l i n g s about heterosexism  /  in  your  (preferred  

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