Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

Committee Member

Dr. Michael Tew

Committee Member

Dr. Tsai Shen

Committee Member

Dr. Elizabeth Currans


The culture in which a woman is a part of sets expectations based on their gender. This paper explores how the relationship between prescribed gender roles, internalized homophobia, and coming out of the closet are related. A focus group of seven women who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, and queer was conducted. The findings suggest that gender roles do limit the way women view themselves, that religion is the largest contributor to internalized homophobia, and that gender expression changes throughout the coming out process as these queer women developed a stronger sense of their identity. Future research should include voices of trans* individuals and women who have been out for more than ten years.