Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, vii, 243 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Steven Seidman

Committee Members

Christine Bose, Nancy Whittier


Generational Change, LGBTQ Youth, Queer Activism, Sexual Identity, Social Movements, Sexual minority youth, Gay youth, Lesbian youth, Bisexual youth, Transsexual youth

Subject Categories

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Sociology


The past several decades have witnessed rapid social and cultural change around LGBTQ individuals and sexual politics in the United States. As a result, LGBTQ youth are coming of age in a socio-historical context characterized by increasing normalization and visibility of LGBTQ people and less overt homophobia where LGBTQ individuals live their lives largely beyond the closet. In this dissertation, the unique characteristics of this post-closet movement generation are explored. I identify three core tensions faced by the post-closet generation: navigating restrictive at risk/victim frames, negotiating identities in the context of growing ambivalence about traditional gay/lesbian categories, and carving out activist participation in a mainstream movement that is largely detached from their identities and priorities. I ask how this generation navigates those core tensions and differs from prior movement generations in terms of how they negotiate their sexual and gender identities and engage in activism.