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Lecture 3

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Melissa St Germaine- Small

SOCI 2P20 – Perspectives on Identity Development – Youth & Adolescence Sep. 26, 2013 Adolescent Sexual Identity - Have historical sexual identity labels – “gay”, “lesbian” and “bisexual” become irrelevant for contemporary adolescents - California study 2003-05 = 2,560 secondary students surveyed - Results: historically typical sexual identity labels by (71%) of non-heterosexual youth; little empirical evidence that contemporary teenagers are “post-gay” - Newer descriptors: o “questioning” (13%) o “queer” (5%) o Alternative ambivalence or resistance to sexual identity labels, or fluidity in sexual identities (9%) - Unique challenges for youth who identify as LGBT - Fear of being judged, secluded, or victimized - May learn to conceal sexual orientation - Physically and emotionally seclude a core part of themselves from their peers and families - Adolescence = period of exploration and self-discovery - Develop awareness and understanding of the self - Sensitive period – begin to explore sexuality and engage in close peer and romantic relationships Classic Developmental or Stage Models over last 30 years to Explain Sexual Identity - Linear progression from sensitization or awareness of sexual attraction - Sexual identity confusion and/or engagement in sexual behaviour - Disclosure of sexual identity to others - Integrate sexual identity into broader identity - Useful in proposing developmental understandings of sexual identity - May identify common dimensions or challenges associated with sexual identity development - Critiques: o Assumption that desirable outcome of sexual dentity exploration is development of a stable “gay” or “lesbian” identity (e,g, Cass 1979,1983; Troiden 1989) o Rejection of linear progression through stages o Ability to study diversity dependent on method (e.g. forced choice survey) o Do not incorporate alternatives to historically typical sexual identities (i.e. gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual or “straight”) o Contemporary adolescent – suggest fluidity & diversity across 3 dimensions of sexuality  Attraction  Behaviour  Identity Cohler and Hammack (2007): - Understanding(s) of sexual identity grounded in cultural and socio-historical context SOCI 2P20 – Perspectives on Identity Development – Youth & Adolescence Sep. 26, 2013 - Changes in language and cultural discourse may inform: o Sexual orientation development o Labels chosen to describe sexual identities Delay in Claiming Same-sex Sexual Identity - A lack of av
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