Negotiating identities: The use of dissonance reduction strategies in responding to the Defense of Marriage Act



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Texas Tech University


This thesis utilizes grounded theory to examine the ways in which members of the gay and lesbian community negotiate their identities in light of the Defense of Marriage Act. Interviews with 16 gay and lesbian individuals revealed three types of negative messages communicated by DOMA. Participants also discussed four strategies for reducing the dissonance produced by these messages: decreasing the relevance of negative messages, seeking the silver lining, increasing the value of affirmative messages while decreasing the value of negative messages, and rationalizing the existence of negative messages. Ultimately, this thesis articulates four conclusions concerning dissonance reduction in the lesbian and gay community. Future directions for research in the areas of dissonance reduction and identity negotiation are explored.



Dissonance reduction, Defense of Marraige Act, Grounded theory