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Essay Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

The negotiation of closetable identities: A narrative analysis of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered queer Jewish identity

By Sandra L. Faulkner and Michael L. Hecht, 2011

We focused on the closetable identities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered queer (LGBTQ) Jewish Americans through the use of identity narratives. Thirty-one people participated in narrative interviews about their identity negotiation decisions. The Com- munication Theory of Identity framed the inquiry by showing how the interpenetrations of identity layers and critical elements created changes and conflict in participants’ lives that necessitated negotiating their LGBTQ Jewish identity. Analyses revealed conflicts related to self-perception, experiences, perceptions of others, and enactments of being LGBTQ and Jewish, many of which revolved around issues of alienation. The potential for identity gaps to emerge and produce largely negative outcomes was ever present in their lives as they sought supportive communities for one or both identity elements. This study has implications for individual and community support of multiple and stigma- tized identities.

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