Queer Heterotopias in Higher Education: LGBTQ Student Identity in Web Logging
This study used a comparative case study method to explore online web logs (blogs) and vlogs of 7 higher education students who identify as LGBTQ. The researcher sought to examine (a) how higher education students who identify as LGBTQ navigate their school and daily life experiences in relationship with their identity on web logs; and (b) how these students reinforce or disrupt heteronormative assumptions regarding sexuality on web logs, potentially creating queer heterotopias online. The public domain web logs of the 7 participants were examined over a period of 1 year. D’Augelli’s (1994) lifespan model of sexual identity development served as a framework for directed textual content analysis. A theoretical framework of queer theory was used to understand how the bloggers and vloggers reinforced or transgressed heteronormative conceptions of sexuality. Seven primary themes emerged from the findings: the presence of each of the 6 lifespan stages of D’Augelli’s (1994) model, as well as a 7th theme focused on the university experience specifically. The heartfelt and courageous identity work that the bloggers shared revealed the importance of the online community to higher education students who are navigating an emerging LGBTQ life.