Transitions into and through higher education: the lived experiences of students who identify as LGBTQ+

  • Jonathan Glazzard

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology

Abstract

Introduction: Existing literature presents tragic narratives of students with LGBTQ+ identities which position them as victims. This study explores the lived experiences of students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ+) during their transitions into and through higher education. The study conceptualises transitions as multi-dimensional and multiple rather than linear. The objectives of the study were to explore: the lived experiences of students who identify as LGBTQ+ in higher education; the role that sexuality and / or gender identity play in their lives over the course of their studies and LGBTQ+ students’ experiences of transition into and through higher education.

Methods: The study is longitudinal in design and draws on the experiences of 5 participants over the duration of a three year undergraduate course. Methods used include semi-structured interviews, audio diaries and visual methodologies to explore participants’ experiences of transitions. Data were coded and analysed thematically.

Key Findings: Key themes including agency, resilience, stress and self-esteem were identified in the data. The participants were agentic, resilient and able to mitigate the impact of stressors. Each demonstrated a positive sense of self. Limitations include the small sample size and the homogeneous nature of the sample, which was predominantly male and all white-British. Both of these factors impact on the reliability of the findings.

Implications: Implications are identified for the research institution to support the inclusion of a whole institutional approach, including implications for the curriculum, student partnership, campus climate and university-school partnerships.
Date of Award2020
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDivya Jindal-Snape (Supervisor) & Linda Corlett (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • LGBTQ+
  • Transitions
  • Higher education
  • Universities

Cite this

'