The publications listed below both address larger theoretical questions (e.g. how are people’s perceptions of the law formed? how are people’s identities shaped by the cultural context within which they live? how do intersecting forms of difference impact people’s experiences?) as well as inform our understandings of understudied topics (e.g. lesbian and gay identities in small towns, bisexual people’s experiences coming out).
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Kazyak, Emily, Kelsy Burke, and Mathew Stange. 2018. “Logics of Freedom: Debating Religious Freedom Laws and Gay and Lesbian Rights.” Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World 4: 1-18.
Kazyak, Emily, Brandi Woodell, Kristin Scherrer, and Emma Finken 2018. “Law and Family Formation among LGBQ-Parent Families.” Family Court Review 56: 364-373.
Kazyak, Emily and Mathew Stange. 2018. “Backlash or a Positive Response? Public Opinion of LGB Issues after Obergefell v. Hodges.” Journal of Homosexuality. Available Online January 2018. DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2017.1423216
Smyth, Jolene, Alexis Swendener, and Emily Kazyak. 2018. “Women’s Work? The Relationship Between Farm Work and Gender Self Perception."Rural Sociology. Available Online January 2018. DOI: 0.1111/ruso.12207
Schmitz, Rachel and Emily Kazyak. 2017. “Checking Privilege at the Door: Men’s Reflections on Masculinity in Women’s and Gender Studies Courses.” Gender Issues 34 (2): 129-148.
How do men experience college courses that are devoted to analyzing gender and social inequalities? We examine men's perspectives on the classroom experience and how they view these experiences mattering outside of the classroom.
Kazyak, Emily and Brandi Woodell. “Law and LGBQ-Parent Families.” 2016. Sexuality & Culture.
How does the law impact family life? We review social science literature that addresses this question for LGBQ-parent families. We find that the law affects if and how LGBQ people become parents. LGBQ people consider the law as they make decisions about whether to pursue adoption, donor insemination, or surrogacy. We also find that the law continues to be salient for LGBQ parents throughout parenthood and affects family well-being.
Stange, Mathew and Emily Kazyak. 2016. “Examining the Nuance in Public Opinion of Pro-LGB Policies in a "Red State." Sexuality Research & Social Policy.
Are people in rural areas or people living in "red states" unsupportive of LGB rights? We draw on survey data from a representative sample of Nebraskans to address this question. We find a high level of support for LGB policies, particularly for protections against employment and housing discrimination.
For coverage of this research, click here.
Schmitz, Rachel and Emily Kazyak. 2016. “Masculinities in Cyberspace: An Analysis of Portrayals of Manhood in Men’s Rights Activist Websites.” Social Sciences 5 (2): 1-16. Published in special issue “Backlash: Contemporary Obstructions to Social Justice.”
How do men's rights groups use the internet to promote their activism? We analyze prominent men's rights websites to assess how they frame their activism that seeks to establish resources for men to utilize in elevating their perceived subordinated position in society in relation to women and social minorities. We find that though both groups promoted men’s entitlement to social power, they use two different strategies: some groups utilized themes of explicit aggression towards and devaluation of women, while other groups adopted political and social movement rhetoric to address men’s issues.
Park, Nicholas K., Emily Kazyak, and Katie Slauson-Blevins. 2016. “How Law Shapes Experiences of Parenthood for Gay and Lesbian Couples." Journal of GLBT Family Studies.
How does the law impact people's experiences of being a parent? We compare the experiences of gay and lesbian parents in two different legal contexts (Nebraska and California). We focus on how the law influences their family experiences in the following three domains: the methods used to become parents, decisions about where their family should live, and experiences of family recognition.
Woodell, Brandi, Emily Kazyak, and D’Lane Compton. 2015. “Reconciling LGB and Christian Identities in the Rural South.” Social Sciences 4: 859-878. Published in the special issue “LGBTQ Lives in Context: The Role of Place.”
How do people negotiate seemingly contradictory identities? We use the case of Christian gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals living in the rural South to address this question. We show how people make sense of what it means to be both GLB and Christian in small towns.
Scherrer, Kristin S., Emily Kazyak, and Rachel Schmitz. 2015. “Getting ‘Bi' in the Family: Bisexual People’s Disclosure Experiences.” Journal of Marriage and Family 77 (3): 680-696.
How do cultural understandings of sexuality matter to people's family experiences? This article analyzes the experience of bisexuals disclosing their sexual orientation to their family members. We find that people are aware of their family members’ understandings of bisexuality and are strategic in navigating these stereotypes during the coming out process. This article thus illuminates that the cultural context within which families are embedded shapes how people come out. The article also underscrores the importance of using a family systems theoretical approach, as we assess how relationships amongst family members impact the disclosure process.
For coverage of this research, click here.
Kazyak, Emily. 2015. “‘The Law’s the Law, Right?' Sexual Minority Mothers Navigating Legal Inequities and Inconsistencies.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy 12 (3): 188-201.
How do people gain knowledge about the law? This article focuses on sexual minority mothers to address questions about how "laws on the books" get translated into everyday life. I focus on whether individuals are aware of the law and, if so, how they gained such an awareness. Given that LGB-parents confront a legal landscape that not only varies drastically by state, but also quickly changes, a focus on their experiences can help illuminate how the law matters to people's family experiences.
For coverage of this research, click here.
Kazyak, Emily, Nicholas K. Park, Julia McQuillan, and Arthur L. Greil. 2014. “Attitudes toward Motherhood among U.S. Sexual Minority Women.” Journal of Family Issues
How do sexual minority women in the United States understand motherhood? Drawing on a random sample of women from a larger survey, we find that there is considerable variation: some want to and are mothers, some are happily childfree, and some are ambivalent about motherhood. Importantly, some have an expansive understanding of motherhood that does not rest on biological ties, but rather on raising children. This work shows a range of attitudes and thus underscores that sexual minority identities are diverse, a key tenet of intersectionality theory.
Kazyak, Emily. 2012. “Midwest or Lesbian? Gender, Rurality, and Sexuality." Gender & Society 26 (6): 825-848
How are the experiences gay men and lesbian women in small towns, particularly their experiences of acceptance and visibility, gendered? In this article I show how rural gays and lesbians gain acceptance in their communities by engaging with practices and discourses associated with rural masculinity. Interestingly, being more masculine is understood as common for rural women; thus they achieve visibility not individually (via more butch gender presentations) but relationally (via being seen around town with a same-sex partner).
This article received Honorary Mention for the Distinguished Article Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Sexualities. It is also reprinted in the anthology from Oxford University Press, Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Continuity and Change. A summary of this research can be found here.
Kazyak, Emily. 2011. “Disrupting Cultural Selves: Constructing Gay and Lesbian Identities in Rural Locales.” Qualitative Sociology 34 (4): 561-581
What is it like to be gay or lesbian in a small town? How are people's identities shaped by the cultural context within which they live? Surprising academic and popular audiences alike, I show that rural gays and lesbians are out, visible, and accepted. Importantly, I demonstrate that understandings about what it means to be out, visible, and accepted are specific to rural contexts and distinct from urban contexts.
This research project received Honorary Mention for the Martin P. Levine Dissertation Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Sexualities. It was also this research that informed my comment in an article published in Pacific Standard Magazine.
Kazyak, Emily. 2011. “Same-Sex Marriage in a Welcoming World: Rights Consciousness of Heterosexuals in Liberal Religious Institutions.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy 8 (3): 192-203
How do people make sense of others’ demands for rights? I analyze how heterosexual religious progressives think about same-sex marriage to address this question. I find that despite their support of marriage recognition for same-sex couples, allies also express a concern that the right could come “too fast” or before a majority accepts it. This work was published in a special journal issue on “Narrative Research, Sexuality, and Social Policy.”
Martin, Karin, David Hutson, Emily Kazyak, and Kristin Scherrer. 2010. “Advice When Children Come Out: The Cultural ‘Tool-Kits’ of Parents.” Journal of Family Issues 31 (7): 960-991
What cultural understandings exist about gay and lesbian sexuality? To shed light on this question, we analyze the types of advice available to parents when a child comes out as gay or lesbian. We find that complete acceptance, or even joy, is rarely presented as a possible reaction to a child’s disclosure, and accounts of parents being happy and excited about a child’s gay or lesbian identity are absent. On the other hand, rejection is also absent and no advice encouraged parents to reject or disown a child completely. Such cultural understandings are important to critically analyze because they provide “toolkits” for making sense of the social world and thus shape social interactions.
Martin, Karin and Emily Kazyak. 2009. “Hetero-romantic Love and Heterosexiness in Children's G-Rated Films." Gender & Society 23 (3): 315-336
What cultural understandings exist about sexuality? We turn to children’s media (primarily Disney movies) to address this question. We find that heterosexual romantic relationships are consistently presented as normal; but interestingly, they are portrayed as exceptional, powerful, magical, and transformative. We suggest that these portrayals may extend the pervasiveness of heterosexuality and serve as a means of inviting investment in it.
This article is reprinted in two readers: Feminist Frontiers and Understanding Society. It also generated quite a lot of media attention, perhaps further illustrating our assessment that Disney movies are a culturally powerful media to which many have a deep investment.