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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"That's how I found queer culture in so many ways" : narratives of online dating in queer women Hannan-Leith, Madeline Naomi


The past few decades have seen a rise in the visibility and legal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, yet persistent stigmatization has left many searching for alternate ways of seeking connection. An increasingly popular means for LGBTQ individuals to find relationships is through online dating. While the Internet has been prolific in connecting LGBTQ communities, existing research on the use of Internet-dating sites in sexual minorities has focused primarily on gay men’s dating practices, overlooking queer women. The present study used a narrative approach to address the primary research question: What are queer women’s experiences of using online dating websites to find partnership? Qualitative, open-ended interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of five women who identified as queer and had used dating websites. Interviews were then transcribed and analyzed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic content analysis, resulting in the creation of three themes and 13 subthemes. These themes represent a significant and unique aspect of participants’ experiences of online dating, including their reasons for going online, how they navigated those spaces and the issues that they faced. The research findings aligned with previous literature on the subjects of online dating and queer women’s communities, and also highlighted new ideas for consideration and further exploration. Investigating these narratives may ultimately be used to inform clinical practice for sexual minority clients by contributing to our understanding of queer lived experiences and adapting counselling approaches based on this knowledge. This may improve LGBTQ client satisfaction with counselling and increase the potential for beneficial therapeutic outcomes.

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