Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Sexual minorities-Political activity-Southern States, Sexual minorities-Psychology, Southern States-Social conditions, Southern States-Law and legislation, Same-sex marriage-Law and legislation-Southern States, Resilience (Personality trait), LGBTQ, Activism, Political engagement, South, Gay marriage, Resiliency, Sam-sex marriage, Exploratory


This exploratory study's purpose was to explore the connection between resiliency and political activism in the LGBTQ community in the south. More specifically, this research asks how LGBTQ couples that have participated in the Campaign for Southern Equality's (CSE) WE DO campaign describe their experiences engaging in political activism. The WE DO campaign involves same sex and queer couples walking into a courthouse or county registrar of deed's office and applying for a marriage license and being denied as a way of highlighting the injustice of anti-gay laws in the South. This project entailed semi-structured interviews with seven couples that participated (often multiple times) in WE DO actions. The research examines the intersection of political activism and the ways in which the act of resisting unjust laws impacts LGBTQ individuals' resiliency and coping in the face of homophobia, stigma, and marginalization. Specifically, my research asks the question: How do couples who participated in WE DO actions describe their experience, especially as related to the relationship between political activism, coping, and resiliency? The six elements of resiliency that emerged as themes from participants' narratives are: (1) Long term perspective on social change; (2) Confronting internalized homophobia; (3) Family and community support; (4) Role of religion; (5) Impact on relationship; and (6) Becoming visible: The audacity of asking the impossible.




iii, 80 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 68-72)