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Episode 252 - Dr. Lauren McInroy: Participation in Online Fandom Communities and Identity Development of LGBTQ+ Youth

Monday, November 19, 2018, 8:48:10 AM

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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.

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Average Rating: 5stars  lgbtq identity and fandom: an often unspoken part of the lgbtq experience, Monday, February 04, 2019

By Rave :

I was thrilled to find an episode about this topic and see that there is ongoing research about it. Fandom has been, in my own personal experience, hugely influential for myself and several peers in recognizing and expressing our identities.In many ways, fandom acts as a "safe space" for kids and young adults who are trying to figure out who they are.

Some of these kids and young adults, as is brought out in this episode, have limited or no social supports outside of these online communities. So it warms my heart to see research results that show that online fandom communities have been able to mitigate some of that.

My favorite part was the mention of an increased "inner sense of strength and motivation." That's some very powerful stuff! Great episode, and extremely valuable research.

It is so, so interesting to me to see the majority of participants in this study agree that participation of fandom has influenced their identity formation. We see a lot of criticism that kids and young adults these days spend way too much time on social media. But sometimes majority groups tend to forget how isolating it can be to navigate local social spaces as someone who identifies say, as a lesbian, or as a trans woman.

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Average Rating: 5stars  fandom and lgbtq+ youth, Saturday, February 02, 2019

By Anonymous :

I think this is a great discussion on the intersection of fandom and LGBTQ+ youth. Dr. McInroy is very knowledgeable and provides a clear view of the many facets of the topic. It is very informative and provides great insights into a particular culture that many people may not even be aware of. Having encountered it in real life, Dr. McInroy paints an accurate picture of the experience of discovering an identity through fandom. Having knowledge of this subject can be key for social workers that encounter LGBTQ youth because it may have had a key role in their development of identity and navigation of early life.

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Average Rating: 5stars  online communities and lbgtqia+ youth, Saturday, February 02, 2019

By Anonymous :

Addressing that online presents a community that people, particularly LGBTQ+ youth, may not have in real life is important in all professions that work with this population. In my experience both as a patient and human service worker I never thought to bring up the online world as a support system or resource. The internet provides the opportunity for people to connect with one another on different topics from fun to serious. The aspect that fandom communities bring to the internet is a connection already with each other over a common interest which provides the opportunity for relationship development. From YouTube to Tumblr there are different website for people to connect. I’ve come across one YouTuber who is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and makes educational videos around topics of mental health. I think this is a great way of making the connection to youth who often use the internet for connection and entertainment. It’s important to note that while connecting online provides more opportunity for relationships and it is beneficial and important, there is something that can’t be replaced when it comes to interacting in person. There are different conventions throughout the world that unite fandom communities however, they are often costly and require travel. Asking about online life could be a question on an intake form which would provide the opportunity to talk about it and give online relationships validity.

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