Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Hispanic American lesbians-Political activity, Group identity, Identity politics, Politicized, Collective identity, Latina lesbians, Activism, Qualitative


This qualitative study explores the factors that lead Latina lesbians to develop a politicized collective identity. Simon and Klandermans (2001) define a politicized collective identity as an intentional group membership where members are mindful and conscious of the power difference that exists between in-group members, out-group members and the larger society, as well as engage in social and political power struggles to achieve justice and equality for their group. Additionally, the study aimed to explore the differences between a social identity and a politicized collective identity and the factors influencing the evolution from the former into the latter. Finally, the study explored the role intersectionality plays in the development of a politicized collective identity for this social group. Eleven self-identified Latina lesbians, ages 19-42, volunteered for this study and answered questions pertaining to their ethnic, racial and sexual identities. Findings revealed that education, feelings of responsibility for their group, experiencing or witnessing racial discrimination, romantic relationships, familial allies and other LGBQ relatives "come out" before, positively influenced participant's development of a politicized collective identity. Additionally, findings revealed that conflation between ethnicity and sexual identity within family dynamics, concern for personal safety, and the difficulty navigating being a minority within a minority in the social world seemed to inhibit the development of a PCI. The study concluded that although most participants did not posses a systemic understanding of power and oppression, they still engaged in "power struggles" and activism thus fitting Simon and Klandermans' (2001) concept of a politicized collective identity.




iv, 80 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 71-73)