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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Qualitative Study on Queer College Student Desire


While much work in the realm of higher education research has concerned LGB(T)/queer identity development, little work has sought to explore the experiences of queer students with particular attention to their sexual and romantic habits and desires. Moreover, little to no attention has been paid to how the sexual and romantic desires of queer college students are shaped by normative discourses of race, sexuality, and gender. In this qualitative study, I have sought to elucidate the experiences of queer masculine college students to better understand how their sexual desires and performances intersect with systems of domination. The findings of this work suggest that oppressive systems—such as racism, patriarchy, and trans/queerphobia—are pervasive discourses in the sexual and romantic desires of queer, masculine college students. Such findings indicate that higher education practitioners should center discussions of racism and internalized queerphobia within educational interventions meant to address topics such as healthy relationships, “hook up culture,” and safer sexual practices.

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