Date of Award

6-2015

Document Type

Project

Degree Name

Master of Social Work

Department

School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

McCaslin, Rosemary

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the cultural and linguistic aspects within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) youth community. A qualitative research design with an exploratory approach was utilized in this study. An interview questionnaire was created to explore participants’ perceptions and experiences to generate an understanding on LGBTQ culture in practice. The study sample consisted of 12 youth who self‑identify as LGBTQ recruited by snowball sampling. One‑on‑one interviews were conducted, audio‑recorded, per participant consent, and transcribed for thematic analysis. Based on participant narratives, this study found there are cultural considerations that pertain specifically to the LGBTQ community, such as the importance of having family togetherness or personal identity. A key finding was LGBTQ youth sought to create families who provide them with feelings of acceptance, warmth, and belonging. Another key finding was LGBTQ youth are continuously developing and creating new ways of naming themselves to self‑identify and identify others in the community. Implications for social work practice include increasing cultural humility and awareness of the fluidity in the LGBTQ community when working with LGBTQ youth. Future research is needed to understand LGBTQ youth perceptions of cultural sensitivity and social work practice. Finally, it is recommended that researchers use feminist and queer theoretical frameworks when working with the LGBTQ youth population.