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Tuesday, March 31 • 10:00am - 10:15am
Brianna I. Calderon-Roman: Gender Expression and Identity Formation: Women of Color in the Lesbian Community

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It is well known that cultural and societal norms limit women’s ability to freely develop their gender identity, and based on research over the past couple of decades, queer and lesbian women’s gender identities are also adversely affected by the surrounding culture. For queer women of color, ethnic and racial identities often maintain stricter cultural and gender norms, potentially further hindering their gender identity development. The purpose of this study is to explore how gender is performed in the lesbian community, and how these gender expressions, such as “butch” and “femme”, support or affirm one’s identity as a queer woman of color. This study focuses on the intersection and conflict between one’s “womanhood” and central identities: race/ethnicity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Furthermore, it examines how gender expressions are formed and how outside influences, such as stereotypes and gender norms, contribute to their formation. Most studies of this nature have not focused on race or ethnicity as a contributing factor to gender expression, making this study unique in its focus on women of color. Surveys, interviews, and visual media were used to gather data. Participants were asked to provide three (3) photos that represent their gender expression or the conflict between their identities to discuss during their interview. Surveys were used to determine common themes between the participants’ identity formation.

Tuesday March 31, 2015 10:00am - 10:15am EDT
Civic Center - Meeting Room D - Ground Floor 505 West Pensacola Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301