Social Media and Safe Spaces: A Mixed Methods Study on Identity Formation for LGBTQ+ Albertans

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Within literature pertaining to race and LGBTQ2IA+ identities, much of our current research is situated within a universalized hegemony of placing Whiteness, heterosexuality, and cisgender as the default, both in terms of daily experiences and conceptions of safety. The purpose of this research is to develop a more holistic understanding of LGBTQ2IA+ life as conceptualized in locations without visible role models or communities, in order to create better inclusion and representation within LGBTQ2IA+ resources in Alberta. This inclusivity must be separate from that of the ideations of metronormativity, wherein the existence of LGBTQ2IA+ lives outside cities with large LGBTQ2IA+ populations like New York, are erased. The research details the importance of community and representation, the role of technology as an identity construction site, and a specific focus on trans and POC identities as experienced simultaneously, rather than additive. Through research conducted online with an embedded mixed methods survey containing open and closed ended questions, key questions arise in regard to how sexuality, gender, and geographical location intersect to produce specific experiences online and offline for LGBTQ2IA+ Albertans. Understanding how identity is developed through online platforms for individuals that are geographically isolated, and the ways in which homophobia, transphobia, and racism are uniquely experienced in a more rural Canadian setting, highlight the need for better visibility, openness, and education regarding identity and the importance of a community that has practical and genuine applications of inclusivity.
gender and sexuality, LGBT, identity, social media and the internet
Kokaritis, L. (2020). Social Media and Safe Spaces: A Mixed Methods Study on Identity Formation for LGBTQ+ Albertans (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from