Being a queer womxn within the context of tertiary education institutions in South Africa: Identity and queerphobia

Sparrow, Melissa Jade (2019-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In a cisheteronormative society, queer people are often silenced and othered by cisheterosexual researchers. This study was to be different in that a queer womxn researcher was to highlight and amplify the voices of queer womxn. The purpose of the study was to explore the way that queer South African womxn in tertiary education make sense of as well as negotiate queerness and queerphobia in their daily lives. These experiences were explored in a process consisting of three steps: Firstly, an in-depth semi-structured interview was conducted. Secondly, the womxn participated in a two week long process in which they made use of journaling. Lastly, a short debriefing interview took place in order to ensure that the researcher completely understood the journals. Ten participants were recruited using purposive sampling, and thereafter the data was examined through the lens of queer theory. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used in order to organise the data into meaningful themes. Five main themes arose from the data: identity, experiences of queerness, gendered queerphobia, systematic and institutionalised queerphobia, and being a queer womxn at university. Throughout the results it became evident that the intersectionality of the womxn’s varying identities and the uniqueness of each queer individual impacted heavily on the way that they experienced being queer, on how they experienced queerphobia, as well as the way that they interpreted queerphobia. Queer students did not feel that the university was an inclusive space for queer people, and continued to feel marginalised and othered within tertiary education institutions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In ’n cisheteronormatiewe samelewing, word queer individue dikwels stilgemaak en vervreem deur cisheteroseksuele navorsers. Hierdie studie is anders as vorige studies omdat die navorser ’n queer womxn is wat die stemme van queer vroue op die voorgrond plaas. Die doel van die studie is om ondersoek in te stel na die manier waarop Suid-Afrikaanse womxn in tersiêre onderwys sin maak van queerheid en queerfobie in hul daaglikse lewe. ’n Proses wat uit drie stappe bestaan is gebruik om hierdie ervaringe te verken: Eerstens, is ’n in-diepte, semi-gestruktureerde onderhoud gevoer. Die womxn het tweedens ’n joernaal gehou oor ’n tydperk van twee weke. Laastens, het ’n kort onderhoud plaasgevind ten einde te verseker dat die navorser die joernale heeltemal verstaan het. Tien deelnemers is gewerf deur middel van doelgerigte steekproefneming en daarna is die data ondersoek deur die lens van queerteorie. Interpretatiewe Fenomenologiese Analise is gebruik ten einde die data in betekenisvolle temas te verdeel. Vyf temas het uit die data na vore gekom: identiteit, ervaringe van queerheid; geslagtelike queerfobie, sistematiese en geïnstitusionaliseerde queerfobie, en om ’n queer womxn op universiteit te wees. Deur die resultate het dit duidelik geword dat die interseksionaliteit van die womxn se verskillende identiteite en die uniekheid van elke queer individu baie beïnvloed is deur hoe hulle dit ervaar het om queer te wees, hoe hulle queerfobie ervaar het, en deur hoe hulle queerfobie geïnterpreteer het. Queer studente het nie gevoel dat die universiteit ’n inklusiewe spasie vir queer individue is nie, en het voortgegaan om gemarginaliseerd en vervreemd te voel binne tersiêre onderwysinstellings.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107236
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