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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

Show Notes

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1 comment
  • I love the topic of this podcast and the way that the subject is discussed! They spend a good amount of time making sure that all the listeners understand the content and some terms that people may be unfamiliar with. The content and the study are really interesting! As someone who is a part of a gender and sexual minority, I found this topic hitting home for me a lot. Mostly about how many youths involved in fandoms find their identities easier because they see it portrayed in their fandoms, and this was very true for me! Mainly in figuring out my gender identity! This study has a very good sample size and reaches a wide variety of sexual and gender minorities by reaching out on many different platforms! This increases the studies validity about the topic especially since they had such a large number of participants. The progression of topics was phenomenal as it started with the basics of what the LGBTQ+ community was and the struggles they faced, to what fandoms are and how they relate to one another. They kept the language simple without dumbing down the information and kept it very interesting! I loved this episode.

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