Large scientific studies have recognized homophobic language as a national concern (American Association of University Women [AAUW], 2001; Kosciw, Greytak, Diaz, & Bartkiewicz, 2010). Concerning perceptions of homophobic language use, quantitative studies were mostly conducted in specific areas of the United States and qualitative studies have largely approached the issue with the theory of masculinity. The current study proposed to approach the study actively challenging all assumptions about homophobic language use. This study assimilated 20 adolescents' perceptions of homophobic language, using a hermeneutic qualitative methodology. This study found that in addition to policing masculinity, homophobic language was used to police sexuality, normality, and popularity. In regard to adolescents abstaining from using homophobic language, three themes emerged, including when in the presence of individuals perceived as being homosexual, when having a personal connection to a homosexual, and when associated with vulnerable populations. Participants self-identified with peer groups. These personal connections shaped how students abstained from and participated in using homophobic language. This study's findings are summarized, ending with implications for practice. Although interventions targeting groups of students may be helpful—ultimately a larger cultural shift towards engagement with and an understanding of marginalized groups must occur.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bailey, Benjamin M., "Adolescents' Perceptions of Homophobic Language: Implications for Bullying Prevention" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 5474.
homophobic language, adolescents, bullying, male perceptions, bullying intervention