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Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences

Ethnic Related Variations from the Cass Model of Homosexual Identity Formation: The Experiences of Two-Spirit, Lesbian, and Gay Native Americans

By Heather L. Adams, PhD and Layli Phillips, PhD, 2009

Synthesis of current research with the self-stories of Native American two-spirit, lesbian and gay people suggests differences in social locations that may produce sexual orientation identity development processes absent from the current literature. We employed a modified form of grounded theory analysis to explore the identity experiences of six self-identified two-spirit, lesbian or gay Native Americans recounted during in-depth interviews. The resulting five themes are presented with quotes from participants for clarification and support, along with a discussion of their fit with the Cass Model of Homosexual Identity Development and interpersonal congruency theory. Results suggest two developmental pathways, one following the course of Cass’ model and a second path notable for its absence of many of the key experiences specified by Cass.

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