Research Projects

The Community Climates Project

While tremendous advances in civil rights and social justice for LGBTQ individuals have occurred in the past decade in the United States and elsewhere, growing up lesbian, gay, bi, trans or queer in a predominantly straight world still has its challenges. The goal of the Community Climates Project is to better understand how today’s young LGBTQ people negotiate the challenges of growing up in diverse communities. With a focus on California, we are studying 10 randomly selected counties, collecting data on the community climate toward sexual and gender identity diversity, interviewing adult LGBTQ leaders, and interviewing and surveying young LGBTQ people. We want to understand the resources young LGBTQ people have in their communities to develop into healthy and happy adults, and we want to better understand the link among community climate, stress, and health for today’s youth.

 

The Generations Project

The past half-century has witnessed massive social and political change for sexual minorities, with advances for civil rights such as the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness (1973) and the gradual tilt toward marriage equality, as well as major community setbacks such as the AIDS epidemic. Yet most social science research on sexual minorities continues to take a “static” approach to studying lived experience, rarely considering how social and historical change may have impacted distinct generation-cohorts of LGBTQ people. The Generations Project, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), is a multi-site study examining the distinct experiences of three birth cohorts of LGBTQ people. Our aim is to better understand generational differences in stress, health, and development, using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

 

Queer Intimacies Project

As marriage equality has taken center stage in the quest for social justice for sexual minorities, the historic forms of alternative or non-normative intimacies among LGBTQ people have been infrequently acknowledged or appreciated. The goal of the Queer Intimacies Project is to document and understand the nature of non-normative or unconventional relationships—forms of intimacy that do not conform to the cultural standard of two individuals in a relatively symmetrical relationship. These relational configurations include polyamorous relationships as well as chosen families, BDSM, and kink/fetish relationships. Our aim is to promote better understanding of these relationships and to examine their meaning and significance for individuals.