Impact of institutional diversity initiatives and support: Experiences of queer Latinx men at Hispanic serving institutions
Herridge, Andrew S.
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Approximately 22 percent of Latinx millennials reported holding an LGBTQ identity. As new generations of students enroll in institutions of higher education, administrators are seeing an increase in the acceptance of queer students and the expectation for inclusive policies and services. With campus climate playing an important role in engagement and academic performance for both queer students and Latinx students, institutional diversity and support for queer Latinx men is an important component. There is an overall lack of research examining queer Latinx students and the impact of the intersectionality of their identities. Through examining the experiences of queer Latinx men at an HSI, their perception of their campus climate, and the impact of the intersectionality of the identities they hold on their experiences and identity development, administrators, professional staff, and faculty at institutions of higher education will gain insight into the experiences and needs of queer Latinx men. Using a narrative inquiry approach for this qualitative study, eleven queer Latinx men were interviewed. This study was guided by the Unifying Model of Sexual Identity Development and the Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity. When considering how the intersecting identities of sexuality, race, and gender impact the campus experiences of queer Latinx men, respondents expressed that masculinity, online research, heteronormativity and homophobia, and racism played into their identity development and experiences. With regard to how attending an HSI promoted or hindered identity development for queer Latinx men, respondents expressed that the institutional status as an HSI did not promote or support their identity development. Institutional resources queer Latinx men utilized at HSIs consisted being involved with the institution’s LGBTQIA office, participating in student organizations such as GSA, the Hispanic Student Society, and First-Generation Programs, utilizing health and wellness resources to promote a holistic experience, and engaging with individuals who hold similar identities. The implications of this study include increasing representation faculty and staff who hold Latinx and queer identities, addressing lack of awareness of resources through intentional engagement and marketing in addition to enhancing transparency with how the institution is utilizing federal funding, redeveloping the criteria to become an HSI to reflect a demonstrated history of supporting the Hispanic community and effort to promote the academic achievement of Hispanic students, addressing events that have occurred in the campus community and the impact racial/ethnic and queer discrimination have on the campus climate, and placing an emphasis on supporting and providing resources to students with multiple marginalized intersecting identities.