Loughborough University
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Lesbian and gay awareness training: a critical analysis

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posted on 2010-11-01, 10:59 authored by Elizabeth PeelElizabeth Peel
In this thesis, I explore lesbian and gay awareness training from a critical perspective. Lesbian and gay awareness training represents one of the few contemporary interventions attempting to effect positive social change on behalf of lesbians and gay men, and my research assesses whether and how this social phenomenon works. My research brings together a diverse range of ideas from critical psychology, lesbian and gay psychology and feminist psychology, using a (predominantly qualitative) multi-method approach with an emphasis on the process of training in action. I draw on a range of data source S, namely: tape-recordings of 'live' training sessions; interviews with trainers and trainees; field notes; pre- and post-training homophobia scales; and post-training evaluation forms. These data are analysed using descriptive statistics (Chapter 3), thematic analysis (Chapters 3,4,5,8), (thematic) discourse analysis (Chapters 6 and 7), and conversation analysis (Chapter 9). In seven empirical chapters I analyse various aspects of training. In Chapter 3,1 demonstrate that training 'works' when evaluated using outcome measures, and I critique the liberal ideology embodied in homophobia scales. I focus on training exercises, in Chapter 4, and I show how training is couched within a broad liberal framework. I examine pitfalls in training and how to overcome them from the trainers' perspective, in Chapter 5. Chapter 6, presents a discursive analysis of how trainees talk about their behaviour and attitude 'change' following training, and Chapter 7 analyses ways that mundane heterosexism is manifest in training. Chapters 8 and 9 analyse questions from the floor and highlight how the 'real' event differs from training manual advice. In the final chapter, I discuss the contributions and implications of my research for social change and indicate some future developments for research on lesbian and gay awareness training, and for lesbian and gay psychology.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Elizabeth Peel

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en