Coping with Sexual Identity Stigma in the U.S. Military: An Examination of Identity Management Practices Prior to and After the Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

TitleCoping with Sexual Identity Stigma in the U.S. Military: An Examination of Identity Management Practices Prior to and After the Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsVan Gilder, Bobbi J.
JournalIdentity
Volume17
Issue3
Pagination156 - 175
Date Published07/2017
Abstract

This study assesses the identity management strategies employed by gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in the U.S. military prior to and after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In-depth interviews were conducted with gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members and veterans. Data were analyzed using constant comparative analysis. Findings revealed that these service members made thoughtful and deliberate decisions about whether or not, and to whom, they would reveal their sexual identities. Identity concealment was practiced most often, even after the repeal, which was found to incite feelings of self-reproach, isolation, and stress. However, several new identity management strategies emerged after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (i.e., strategies of openness) that stimulated positive self-feelings. By engaging in some level of openness, participants in this study were able to overcome some of the adverse effects of their minority stress.

URLhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15283488.2017.1340162
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