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Gender, Sexual Orientation and Life Course Perspectives on LGBTQ Status

Gender and Generations: Continuity and Change

ISBN: 978-1-80071-033-7, eISBN: 978-1-80071-032-0

Publication date: 15 March 2021


Perspectives on gender, gender expression, sexuality identity, and sexual orientation differ within and between generations given the great extent to which these concepts are embedded within social, cultural, and historical context. Across contexts, questions of authenticity are critical. This research compares generational perspectives about authenticity, gender and gender-related constructs, and sexuality. Through semi-structured interviews with a nonprobability, purposive sample of heterosexual and LGBTQ younger (aged 18–22) and older (aged 65+) adults, how a sense of authenticity is experienced and the degree to which individuals experience authenticity around sexual and gender identities are compared. Data were analyzed using the constant comparison method of analysis, and results indicate that while younger adult respondents held expansive terminology and knowledge related to sexual and gender identities, older adult participants lacked such fluidity, and that lack was an inhibiting factor in older adults being able to name and embody their authentic sexual selves. In conclusion, both position in one’s life course (age) and one’s generational cohort (historical, cultural, and social context) influence how individuals experience authenticity around gender and sexual identities.



Franzese, A.T., Kaufmann, J.M. and Rurka, M.M. (2021), "Gender, Sexual Orientation and Life Course Perspectives on LGBTQ Status", Demos, V. and Segal, M.T. (Ed.) Gender and Generations: Continuity and Change (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 30), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 115-132.



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