Lesbian identities in South Africa : Black and White experiences in Johannesburg
- Authors: Smuts, Letitia
- Date: 2011-11-01
- Subjects: Lesbians - South Africa - Identity , Gender identity , Sexual orientation
- Type: Thesis
- Identifier: uj:7260 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/3930
- Description: M.A. , This dissertation attempts to understand the different meanings attached to lesbian identities by comparing the experiences of black and white lesbian women living in South Africa. Literature of the experiences of black lesbian women, especially in South Africa, is plentiful. Thus, by including white lesbian women in the sample, this dissertation begins to fill a gap in literature and provide some insights into an overall experience of lesbian identity in South Africa. In-depth interviews were conducted with seven black lesbians and seven white lesbians living in and around Johannesburg, and an intersectional model of analysis was employed to analyse the data. The study found that race as an identity marker is significant in how lesbian women attach meaning to their sexual identities, though it is not the only denominator when it comes to constructing a lesbian identity. A number of other key identities arose from the study which have an impact on the way in which a lesbian identity is constructed, such as gender, ties to family, different social spaces and religion. These multiple identities are not mutually exclusive, and thus interact with each other to influence the construction of a lesbian identity. This dissertation also asserts that a lesbian identity impacts on how the participants experience their other, non-lesbian, identities. Comparing the experiences of fourteen diverse lesbian women has contributed to a deeper understanding of lesbian identity construction, as well as the coming-out process.
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Perceptions of sexuality and gendered sexual roles among students at a South African university : exploring heteronormativity on campus
- Authors: Smuts, Letitia , Reijer, Josien , Dooms, Tessa
- Date: 2015
- Subjects: Heterosexism , Homophobia , Heterosexual privilege , Students - South Africa
- Type: Article
- Identifier: uj:5597 , ISSN 09766634 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/14310
- Description: The aim of this paper is to investigate the extent to which university students are likely to hold heteronormative and normative gendered views. Data was obtained through a quantitative survey. A total of 1214 undergraduate students were interviewed in an urban university in South Africa. Low levels of homophobia were reported, with women being more accepting towards homosexuality. It was found that heteronormative (possible heterosexist) views are at play when asked whether homosexuality should be portrayed positively on campus, which raises questions of heterosexual privilege. While students are generally willing to interact with homosexual students, they have an aversion towards same-sex relationships being given a positive, and perhaps equal, status to heterosexual relationships. Religion and family are the most influential factors which shape the views of the respondents. Findings suggest marked differences in the views of religious and non-religious students with regard to gender norms and acceptance of homosexuality. Fields of study appear to be a significant determinant of students’ views on sexual and gendered norms. Ultimately, the paper is explorative in nature, and starts to address a phenomenon that is under-researched within this context.
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