Motivated by research that points to the increasing geographical diversity of gays and lesbians—in contrast to cultural narratives that link gay and lesbian sexualities to urban spaces—this project analyzes how people draw on interpretations of geography as they make sense of their sexual identity.
I show that rural gays and lesbians are out, visible, and accepted. Importantly, what it means to be out, visible, and accepted is specific to rural contexts and distinct from urban contexts.
I also address how the experiences of gays and lesbians in small towns differs by gender presentation, race, and class.
My research also focuses on the law as a central site where ideas about sexuality, identity, and family are constructed and contested.
In a current project, I address how the law matters for same-sex couples raising children. This work shows that changes in the legal landscape that occur with court rulings do not neatly “trickle down” to ordinary citizens. Rather, it is a lengthy, time-consuming, and confusing process for LGB-parents to figure out what the law is and what it means for their family.
I am especially interested in when and why parents perceive that the law matters to their everyday experiences of their families being accepted.
Other research projects include analyses of:
The experiences of bisexuals “coming out” or disclosing their sexual orientation to their family members.
The diverse meanings of parenthood for sexual minority women.
The changing public opinion regarding LGBQ rights
The cultural understandings about gender, sexuality, and LGBQ individuals as reflected in children's media and advice book for parents whose children come out.