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Participation in Online Fandom Communities and Identity Development of LGBTQ+ Youth

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“[W]e know from the research that LGBTQ youth, as a population, really experience disproportionate risks to their well-being. So, for example, they frequently experience family and peer rejection, discrimination, bullying and harassment, and many other forms of violence and victimization due to their minority sexual or gender identities.”

Dr. Lauren McInroy

In this episode, our guest Dr. Lauren McInroy discusses her research exploring the relationship between participation in online fandom communities among LGBTQ+ youth and certain aspects of identity development. She explains how online fandom can foster resilience, heighten well-being, and help LGBTQ+ youth navigate challenges. The episode concludes by stressing why social workers need to recognize the importance of online communities for marginalized adolescents and young adults.

Dr. Lauren McInroy

Lauren McInroy, PhD, is an assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Social Work. Her research investigates the impacts of information and communication technologies on the well-being of marginalized adolescents and emerging adults, particularly LGBTQ+ young people, who experience heightened risks. Dr. McInroy earned her MSW and PhD at the University of Toronto. She recently joined the leadership council of the International Partnership for the Queer Youth Resilience (INQUIRY), an international, interdisciplinary network seeking to co-create new knowledge and develop adaptable online tools related to LGBTQ+ resilience and digital technologies. Dr. McInroy also serves on the Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (CSOGIE) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), as well as the membership committee of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR).

Interviewer: Nancy Smyth, PhD

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